Monday, June 26, 2017

Psalm 60

A question asked by Psalm 60 is:  Does a military defeat mean that God has rejected us?  During the American Civil War, did the North and the South both feel rejected by God after losing a battle, and strengthened by God when they won a battle?

Psalm 60 is a communal lament following a humiliating military defeat.  It views the painful defeat as divine rejection and the punishment of God.  Between laments, a divine oracle (vss. 6-8) reminds the people of God's earlier promise that God is still the master of land and nations despite human battles. Prayers for victory in military battle are usually narrowly nationalistic and self-justifying.  The greater spiritual understanding of God's kingdom is that it transcends military battles.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Bulletin - June 25

Romans 6:1-4, 10-11

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life ....

The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.  So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Psalm 59

"...they come back like a pack of wild dogs."
Psalm 59 is an individual laments used as a collective lament for use during national mourning in the face of enemies.  The adversaries are characterized as wild dogs.
The psalm consists of two prayers - one for deliverance from enemies, and the second for judgment upon the enemies.   Each of the two prayers ends with a refrain of trust in God.
Unlike many of the psalms the prayer for God's judgment upon enemies states: "do not kill them."  The psalmist apparently fears that death is too good for them, preferring that they stumble over their own pride; whatever God's punishment, the primary concern is that the people do not forget God. The refrain in the psalm is in the steadfast love of God and that God will allow me to look in triumph on my enemies.