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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today’s Reading | Psalm 33

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous.
     Praise befits the upright.
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
     make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
Sing to him a new song;
     play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

For the word of the Lord is upright,
     and all his work is done in faithfulness.
He loves righteousness and justice;
     the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
     and all their host by the breath of his mouth.
He gathered the waters of the sea as in a bottle;
     he put the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord;
     let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spoke, and it came to be;
     he commanded, and it stood firm.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
     he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
     the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
     the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.

The Lord looks down from heaven;
     he sees all humankind.
From where he sits enthroned he watches
     all the inhabitants of the earth—
he who fashions the hearts of them all,
     and observes all their deeds.
A king is not saved by his great army;
     a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
     and by its great might it cannot save.

Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
     on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
     and to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
     he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
     because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
     even as we hope in you. (NRSV)


Who’s in charge? We all like to think that we are. “You’re not the boss of me” is a common refrain for our society of autonomous, self-sufficient go-getters. Many have commented on the American ethos of “rugged individualism,” a phenomenon that plays itself out every day in the news, in popular entertainment, and in the lives of countless rugged individuals themselves. And it seems that the more we succeed, the more we think that it is because of our own doing.

But this psalm, along with a chorus of voices from scripture, opens our eyes to a much greater truth. The God who created the universe and all that is in it has not left creation on its own but watches over the cosmos like a king surveying his realm. Not only does God maintain the balance of the natural world, God is also concerned with humanity.

The fancy theological term for this concept is providence, but all it really means is that God is involved in human history—both on the macro scale of world history and on the micro scale of individual lives. How exactly God intervenes in human history is one of the great mysteries of our faith and is discussed in a variety of ways throughout the Bible. However we understand this mystery, we can rest assured that we are not alone and that we are not as in charge as we think we are. Given my stubborn tendency to make a mess of things, this is a truth for which I am profoundly and humbly grateful.


Watchful God, forgive me for my arrogance when I think that my success is all my own and my pride when I think that only I can help myself when life throws me a curve. Remind me of your patient and gracious care for me in both the struggles and triumphs of life. Amen.

Written by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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