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God’s Providence

Our text for Sunday is Psalm 147:1-11; 20c.  As is my custom, I try to select a Psalm quarterly on which to preach.  It provides discipline for me as well as allowing us to visit arguably, the most beautiful book of the Bible.

 

Psalm 147 is in the heart of the final section of the Psalms (146-50).  The Psalms are in conversation with one another with several common themes, among them: creation, deliverance, prayer, song, and praise.  In verses 147:8-9 the Psalmist speaks about God’s providence.

 

God’s providence is defined as the protective care of God as a spiritual force, or the act of God’s providing such care.  It is not a concept we speak about too often.  Rather than the personalization of faith, i.e. I took Jesus as my savior, and yes the very hairs on my head are numbered, God’s providence speaks to God’s general care and concern for God’s creation.

 

The Psalmist celebrates God making the rain to fall and the grass to grow, thus feeding and nurturing God’s creation.  As God nurtures creation, God nurtures us, providing care, or God’s Providence.  Acknowledging and celebrating God’s Providence emphasizes the commonwealth in which we live rather than the disconnected nature of contemporary human life.

 

As I have been thinking about God’s Providence, I could not help but be drawn to our Declaration Of Independence.  In it, Jefferson appeals to “the Supreme Judge of the world” and “firm reliance upon the protection of Divine Providence.”  Knowing that God’s providence binds us together, Jefferson concluded by declaring “we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”

 

As we read Psalm 147 and reflect upon the Declaration Of Independence, several things come to mind.  We are in this together.  We ask that God’s providence continue to be with us as we order our lives, aware that the rain falls on the righteous as well as the unrighteous (Mt. 5:45).  We recognize that we are to order our lives in ways pleasing to God rather than asking God to grant us favored status and preferential treatment.

 

As 2024 moves ahead, I encourage us to be more mindful of God’s providence rather than the accumulation and exercise of power and control over our foes.  If our life together becomes a zero-sum proposition, we are without hope.

 

See you Sunday,

 

Paul

 

PS—The Lenten Study begins Feb. 18 at 9:00 a.m. in the Cook Room.  Our text is:  Tom Berlin, The Third Day: Living the Resurrection.




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