Our Safety Net

- The 18th Sunday after Pentecost C –

September 22, 2013

Psalm 113

Psalm 113  is the first of the classification known as the Hallel Psalms (113-118).  These psalms are the psalms of praise of a fairly late period of Hebrew worship.  the Hallel Psalms were sung prior to (113-114) or after (115-118) the Passover celebration.

 As the first of the praise psalms, Psalm 113 opens with a triple praise.  Repetition implies importance and many ancient commentators hear the Trinity in the triple statements of praise in verse 1.   Verses 2-3 deal with the issue of time.  The Lord is to be praised forever (v.2), and specifically during the hours of the day (v. 3). Verses 4-6 extol for his exalted self.  He is above all nations; has glory above the heavens; is seated on high; and looks far down on heaven and earth. But verses 7-9 make it clear that this is not just a god who sits in the heavens contemplating his glorious self, but a God who gets down and dirty with His creation.  He raises the poor from the dust; lifts the needy from the ash heap; levels  all things out among people (Prince and paupers sit together; there is no distinction).  And lastly, the least, the oftentimes forlorn and most desperate member of a society with no safety casino online nets to support the poor, the lonely, and the destitute — in Jewish society this would be the childless woman or widow.  Their situation would truly have been desperate in that society since the common means to a secure old age was healthy and prosperous children.  The story of the Widow of Nain comes to mind.  Jesus restores her dead son to life and her future is no longer bleak.  Her son is her safety net. Likewise for sinners, God has deigned to get dirty and work in the muck.  He sent His only Son to redeem the poor, the lonely, the outcast, the destitute — we who are in bondage to the tyrant of sin, death, and the devil.  Jesus is our safety net, the one who insures we will not be consigned permanently to the dust, the ash heap of hell, not  forlorn without company and companionship.  He wrestles in the muck and is raised for our justification.  We will sit at his table — Prince and pauper — the destitute has a home forever in him — the truest safety net. So we close the way Psalm 113 closes — Praise the Lord!

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