Monday, July 31, 2017

July 31

2 Chronicles 29:1-36; Romans 14:1-23; Psalm 24:1-10; Proverbs 20:12

What an exultant psalm!  It starts with a declaration of the supremacy of God:  "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Ps. 24:1).  I'm looking out on the Pacific Ocean as I write this, and right now it's easy to remember how true it is.  God, what a wonderful, creative hand you have!  How much beauty you call forth!  I'm reminded of Psalm 148, which describes the vast breadth of creation as it praises God: heavenly beings (both physical and spiritual); watery depths and inhabitants; the forces of nature; mountains and vegetation and animals and birds; all of mankind.  God is creator and sustainer and developer, and none can match him (see Ps. 24:3).

It's easy for me to forget this truth, though.  All too often, it seems like the earth has maybe gotten away from God. If it's his, then why the terrorism and the fear it creates? The refugees desperately searching for a home?  The cancer that turns already motherless children into orphans? The decisions of those in power and influence to create policies and practices that cause suffering for the less-privileged?  

And the people who live in God's world?  We're rude and selfish and out for our own financial interest.  We speak cruel words and run red lights and beat our children.  We drink too much, objectify others sexually, and live like our decisions don't have any impact beyond ourselves.  

Those are macro problems.  In my own micro life, too, I can easily forget.  I forget I belong to the Lord; I forget than the earth is his.  I forget that he has created every person I meet, every morsel of food I consume, every natural beauty I view.  I even forget that my ears and eyes are God's good creation (see Pr. 20:12).  I'm not alone, either - today's reading in Romans is a sermon to remind the church in Rome that all food is created by God and, therefore, clean (Rom. 14:14, 20).  We're prone to forget.  We fall so far short of the man described in Psalm 24:4.

Oh, how I want to be that man!  Clean hands, a pure heart, an honest mouth.  To stand in God's holy hill.  What a goal!  What goodness comes from a life lived like this (see Ps. 24:5-6).

We started this psalm with an exultation, and we end with one, too.  This is our hope.  This is the power that makes us into such a man.  "Who is he, this King of glory?," the question is posed, and you can almost hear the shout of response: "The Lord Almighty -- he is the King of glory" (Ps. 24:10).  We are not alone.  We are the Lord's, and everything in us (see vs. 1), and he is the King of glory.  Hallelujah!

- Sarah Marsh

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