Going Deeper 12-11-19

The Psalm for Advent 3…

Psalm 146:5-10  5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free; 8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin. 10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations. Praise the Lord!


Everybody loves the underdog… and “everybody” in this case would seem to include God.  Psalms and songs and all types of other Scriptures proclaim God’s strong desire to lift up the oppressed, to feed the hungry, to set free the prisoners, and to take care of strangers and orphans and widows.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, seems to draw heavily from this Psalm when she sings her “Magnificat.”


On the other end of the spectrum, the Scriptures often speak harshly of-- and to-- the powerful and the wealthy.  We are told that God not only lifts up the lowly, but also brings down the influential.  And this message is both proclaimed and acted out through Jesus, who not only warns the rich and powerful of coming doom, but focuses most of His attention on the oppressed, hungry, diseased, and poor.


What is with this apparent favoritism on God’s part?!  I won’t pretend that I have totally wrapped my mind around this, but here is how I sort of understand it… 


First of all, warning and condemnation seem to be especially directed at those who have become wealthy and powerful at the expense of others.  The prophets are loud and clear in their condemnation of those who cheat and exploit the poor.  And not far behind is the condemning of those who ignore the poor, who are so caught up in their pursuit and enjoyment of luxury that they turn a blind eye to those who are impoverished.


Secondly, I believe this reflects the kind of ‘economics’ our Creator had in mind in His divine design.  It seems clear that God likes to bless His children, and almost certainly enjoys their enjoyment.  But it is crystal clear that God primarily blesses His children in order that they might be blessings to others.  When we understand that all we receive is a gift, we hold onto it all loosely, and when the Holy Spirit of God fills us with love and compassion for others, we delight in sharing our blessings with those in need.  It seems quite clear to me that radical generosity reflects God’s image in us!


At least that’s the way I see and experience it.


With You in His Service,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."