Scripture: Psalm 19 (NRSV)
DEVOTIONAL: In this Lenten season the economy dominates the headlines. People are losing jobs and houses and investments. Politicians and experts suggest various solutions, take decisive action. But no end is in sight. Companies that seemed impregnable a short while ago have suddenly collapsed like a house of cards. Where there was faith in the wisdom of markets to ensure our prosperity and secure our posterity, there is now fear and distrust.
The Psalmist speaks to the angst of our burst bubble with words of reassurance. Not with the false hope that happy days will soon be here again. Rather with the testimony that our lives have always been in God’s hands. Nature itself declares and speaks and proclaims this oft unheeded message to the ends of the earth. The exuberance of the rising sun is a daily witness: Our lives are in God’s hands.
This reference also bears a faint echo of the ancient belief in the sun as a divine symbol of justice: “nothing is hid from its heat.” For the Psalmist, the text of the created world is in harmony with the creating word. The attributes of divine instruction (Torah!) reinforce the message. Torah is perfect, sure, right, clear, pure and true. It is more desirable than market gold; sweeter than the sweetest deal. The benefits of its instruction will not appear in your bank account, but in the depth of this confession: Our lives are in God’s hands.
The metaphors of rock and redeemer with which the Psalmist concludes reverberate with the very things we long for. As we prepare to reenact the coming of the incarnate Word into the world, with the rising of the sun, with the attributes of Torah, we lean away from the despair proclaimed in the headlines, towards the security of the Rock and the hands of the Redeemer.
Scripture: Psalm 19 (NRSV)
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.
3There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;
4yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
5which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
6Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.
7The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple;
8the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
9the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.
11Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12But who can detect their errors? Clear me from hidden faults.
13Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.