Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let God arise… (Psalm 68) 110209

The theme of my church for this year is “Arise and Christ will shine on you”. This is such a motivating theme for the church to embark on its journey in 2009. It is a follow up from previous two years “Abiding in Christ” and “Abundance in Christ”. But I am reminded that in the beginning of 2009, there are already few deaths of the family members of the church members, and we are also entering into an unprecedented gloomy economy when members are facing job lose and retrenchment. How can we arise and shine in the midst of such gloomy and dark moments? I think this is also the question which many of us want to ask.

I have no answer. As I am reading today’s psalm, I read it with a heavy heart. I am not facing retrenchment personally, I am not experiencing death or sickness in my family; but yet my heart is heavy. I have gone through my season of darkness earlier. My heart is heavy because I am a shepherd; because I am a pastor; because I love my congregation; I love the people God has assigned to me to take care. I am hearing that my member is asked to have long leave, because his company operation is being cut down. I am hearing that my member is going to have his work review soon and not too sure if his contract will be renewed or not. I am hearing that my members are sick, and yet still have to work (this includes my wife). I am also hearing that my members are struggling in their marriages and relationship with their parents. I am hearing too much burdensome news from my members. That is why my heart is heavy.

Today’s psalm is a complicated one. Even the scholars are not too sure how this psalm comes about and its main function. But VanGemeren would comment that: If there is one unifying theme, it is centered around Yahweh the Divine Warrior, who comes to deliver his people in Mount Zion.

The psalm starts with a call to “Let God arise” (v1). And as I repeatedly read this, I seem to have a sense of joy, a beam of light, penetrating through the darkness of my heavy heart. My heart seems to be lightened; I seem to be able to arise as I let God arise. This is it! Let God arise! Not that we arise, but let God arise in the midst of darkness. Let God arise in the midst of gloomy economy. Let God arise in the midst of messy relationship struggles. Let God arise in the midst of our job uncertainty. Let God arise. For God, Yahweh is our Divine Warrior as He is for the psalmist, for the people of Israel and also for you and me. Let God arise.

As I read through the psalm, I can see how God loves His people, how God loves us. He will be a father to the fatherless, a judge for the widows (v5); He will also make home for the lonely, and lead prisoners into prosperity (v6). This is not prosperity gospel; but the gospel of Christ will lead people to prosperity. As we let God arise in us, we will be able to see how God loves the fatherless, the widows, the lonely ones, and those in bondages; He wants to give security to the fatherless, justice to the widows, and friendship to the lonely ones and freedom to those in bondages. This is gospel of Christ; this is what will happen when we let God arise.

When God arise, He gives strength and power to the people (v35). When God arise, He will be shining on and in and through you. Therefore, I will say, the theme of 2009 of my church should be: Let God Arise and Christ will shine on you!

Blessed be God! (v35)


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