V.1 The 1st line of this verse always strikes me as the correct attitude toward God in prayer; humility or fear of the Lord. The reason given for this humble address is God's love and faithfulness.
V. 2-8 Now begins the speech to listeners which compares their God with the useless idols worshiped by other nations. In this section, by paying attention to "they" and "theirs," we get a real sense of contrast between "our God [who] is in heaven" and their gods who can't do anything. This finishes with the warning that anyone who trusts in these lifeless idols will end up like just them - lifeless.
V. 9-11 "All you Israelites, trust in the Lord..." "House of Aaron, trust in the Lord..." "You who fear him, trust in the Lord..." the reason being, "he is their help and shield." Here we go from specific people to ALL who fear God and trust in HIM, who is OUR help and shield.
V. 12-15 Now we come to both a statement of faith and an expression of confidence that "God remembers us and will bless us." V. 14-15 contain an explicit blessing for the listener and their family.
V. 16-18 These verses contain argument for God's praise-worthiness. God is God, and we are not. They end with a bidding to praise the Lord, as he alone is worthy.
Beginning with a prayer of humble access, concluding with a reminder of our proper place in creation and a word of praise, this Psalm also contains a lovely blessing for readers/listeners. One can easily imagine this being used in a liturgy in synagogues, or even in the temple in Jerusalem. One commentator suggests it was, in fact, a hymn.
There is always a temptation for us to become self satisfied, perhaps even arrogant, to forget that God has provided everything for us. It seems that most of the book of Deuteronomy is full of warnings about the consequences of forgetting that it was actually God himself who brought Israel to the promised land and drove nations out before them. An attitude of humble adoration is only right when we consider all God has done for us through his creation, and especially through Jesus. Lord, when we forget, send us a gentle reminder that we owe you everything - even our very lives. Thank you. Amen.
"The Blessing Aotearoa" Enjoy.
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.