As individuals, we have personal burdens, small or large, which have accumulated over a lifetime, short or long. As a society, we also have political, social, economic, technological, religious, and cultural problems which have steadily accumulated since our era of exuberant Olympianity began in 1648. The writer of Psalm 130 invites us to place these personal and historical challenges within the context of Yahweh’s relationship to us and ours with Yahweh. (The following quotes are from the English Standard Version.)
2 O [Yahweh], hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
Alone and together, we are in deep trouble. Alone and together, we have given our allegiance to the six false gods of Olympus—to the gods of politics, war, technology, sex, money, and consumption—far too much and for far too long. The consequences of our actions are the numerous overwhelming threats now looming. Time to cry out to our one true savior.
O [Yahweh], who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
We might reasonably ask: why should our one true savior care? Why should he save us now that we have gotten ourselves into so much trouble by panting after other gods?
Why? Because Yahweh, our one true savior, refuses to hold against us our persistent acts of rebellion against him. He is love and, as love, persistently commits himself to nurture and protect us without condition. Being able to bask now in the warmth of his love, as opposed to cringing in his vindictive presence or despairing of his indifferent absence, is another good reason for our renewed reverence for him vs. his deceptive rivals.
and in his word I hope;
6 My soul waits for [Yahweh]
more than the watchman for the morning,
more than the watchman for the morning.
What now? We wait. Into what desperate action should we throw ourselves to best confront our catastrophic circumstances? None. Yahweh has promised he will save us. We wait for his word of salvation. As the psalmist rightly notes, this waiting is hard.
For with [Yahweh] there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
It’s hard not to panic. Jupiter wants us plunging into political activism. Mars wants us bombing others. Vulcan wants us trusting in yet another complex technological fix. Venus wants us distracting ourselves with sex. Pluto wants us trying to buy our way out of this jam. Bacchus wants us comforting ourselves with more treats, treatments, and trips.
Jesus wants us waiting for him. He alone steadfastly loves us even when we panic. He alone is free enough from those false gods to free us from them and the clearly destructive consequences of following them. And he will.
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