Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Word for Thursday, May 13

Of course, I'm routinely late with this, but I have a slightly better excuse than usual -- I was traveling this week for the day job, and I'm one of the three or four remaining Americans who doesn't travel with a laptop computer. So my internet access was essentially zero this week.

Having just returned, and having cooked and eaten a little supper, I believe I'll relax with a psalm. Psalm 2, specifically:
Why are the nations in an uproar,
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
The kings of the earth take their stand,
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed:
"Let us tear their fetters apart,
And cast away their cords from us!"

He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury:
"But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain."

"I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,
Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware.' "

Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
Worship the Lord with reverence,
And rejoice with trembling.
Do homage to the Son, lest He become angry, and you perish in the way.
For His wrath may soon be kindled,
How blessed are all those who take refuge in Him!
Well, then as now, the kings and rulers of the earth are big on taking counsel together and devising vain things. Showing discernment, taking warnings, worshipping the Lord, doing homage to the Son? Well, not so much. But I really don't want to get diverted toward the bloody and futile realm of politics this evening. What jumps out at me here is the "rejoice with trembling." It sounds almost self-contradictory, does it not? And yet, in three words, it catches (I think) the essence of Christian devotion. God is so completely unlike us that any real encounter with Him involves trembling on out part. But because He is so completely good, and because of what He has done for us, and is doing for us, and will do for us, the rejoicing part is joined so inseparably to the trembling that they might as well be welded together. Really, they are two aspects of a single thing: worship.

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