1 God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered;
and those who hate him shall flee before him!
2 As smoke is driven away, so you shall drive them away;
as wax melts before fire,
so the wicked shall perish before God!
3 But the righteous shall be glad;
they shall exult before God;
they shall be jubilant with joy!
4 Sing to God, sing praises to his name;
lift up a song to him who rides through the deserts;
his name is the Lord;
exult before him!
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows
is God in his holy habitation.
6 God settles the solitary in a home;
he leads out the prisoners to prosperity,
but the rebellious dwell in a parched land.
7 O God, when you went out before your people,
when you marched through the wilderness, Selah
8 the earth quaked, the heavens poured down rain,
before God, the One of Sinai,
before God, the God of Israel.
9 Rain in abundance, O God, you shed abroad;
you restored your inheritance as it languished;
10 your flock found a dwelling in it;
in your goodness, O God, you provided for the needy.
I am feeling some emotional and spiritual kinship with those disciples whom Jesus sent back to Jerusalem in Acts 1. He told them to head back to Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:7-8). He did not tell them how long to wait. He rather vaguely described the Holy Spirit as “power from on high” and that they would be “witnesses.” All this sounds clear enough in hindsight after Pentecost, but I can only imagine was mighty confusing at the time.
Are you, like me, more than a little confused by what God is up to these days. I look around at the churches in my area and they only have a fraction of the people who used to attend. I look at the ages of many of those who remain, and I am concerned for the future. The Psalmist today helps us. He reminds us that as Christians we do not face the future with our eyes only on the mist-enshrouded future. We have a far clearer view of things by looking back. The psalmist anticipates that God will rise in strength but also turns his eye backward to see what God has already done. He remembers the Exodus and how God provided for the vulnerable people then with unlooked for abundance from the skies. He remembered when the earth shook and when God’s people found a dwelling place and the needy were provided for.
The future can frighten us. The unknown is rarely comforting. Take a cue from the psalmist today. If you are frightened or anxious about what is to come, look back. Look back to what God has done in the past in your own life and what he has done which is recorded in Scripture. The Lord who governs all has holes in his hands and feet where he bled for you. Do not get me wrong in this. It may be a wild ride. Sometimes it was in the days of the Judges or David. In the NT Paul got stoned a few times and shipwrecked at least once. But God never abandoned his people. That is the God who goes into the future with you. He is the father to the fatherless and the protector of widows. He settles the solitary in a home and leads the prisoners to prosperity. He provides for the needy.