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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Today’s Reading | Psalm 92

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
   to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
   and your faithfulness by night,
to the music of the lute and the harp,
   to the melody of the lyre.
For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
   at the works of your hands I sing for joy.

How great are your works, O Lord!
   Your thoughts are very deep!
The dullard cannot know,
   the stupid cannot understand this:
though the wicked sprout like grass
   and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever,
   but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
For your enemies, O Lord,
   for your enemies shall perish;
   all evildoers shall be scattered.

But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
   you have poured over me fresh oil.
My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
   my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.

The righteous flourish like the palm tree,
   and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
   they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
   they are always green and full of sap,
showing that the Lord is upright;
   he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (NRSV)

Sometimes when reading scripture—especially familiar verses like this psalm—what you glean can be unexpected. That happened for me with today’s passage. Although I’ve read this psalm before, when reading it this time, two words jumped out at me for their harshness: “stupid” and “dullard.” In the midst of praising God for his provision and greatness, the author derides the foolish (the word used in other translations) for their inability to grasp the wonder of our Lord. This type of language is jarring, especially when placed with little context into the language we use today.

At first glance, what seems to be implied through omission is that only a fool could not comprehend God and understand his thoughts. But we all fall well short of comprehending God. I like to imagine that if that passage was expanded upon, it might say, “But the proud cannot know, the arrogant cannot understand.”

It’s easy to look down upon those we view as foolish or beneath us. But we are no closer to understanding God than those we think of as the lowest among us. It is only when we can temporarily cast aside our foolishness, vanity, pride, and other indulgences that we can begin to glimpse the righteousness of God.

Lord, help me to cast aside my pride and arrogance and look down on none of your children. Give me glimpses of your unending glory. Amen.

Written by Jared Light, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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