Photo: the sky above Belleville, Illinois. Taken by Pastor David Tinker July 2012.
Bible Readings and Devotion for April 17, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
Devotion for April 17, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
Poetic language in the Holy Scriptures points us to greater truths of our Lord. Today we have four readings from the Psalms. Let’s take a short look at one of these, specifically, Psalm 113. Here is what the psalmist writes in praise of God in verses 2-4:
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time on and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised.
4 The Lord is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.
Let’s see how this poetic language tells us about the Lord.
Verse 2, shown above, invites us to praise and honor the name of the Lord. The phrase, “Blessed be…” is a Hebrew way of announcing thanksgiving and honor to something. The greatest one for whom we can give thanks is the Lord himself. The greatest one of whom we can announce honor is that same Lord of all. Our Lord is one who is eternal, never ending and never beginning, so we get to show this praise “from this time on and forevermore.”
Verse 3, shown above, although quite poetic, could be taken the wrong way. It still tells the truth, but in a different way. It states, “From the rising of the sun to its setting.” This does not mean that we withhold praise of God after Sunset through the next morning each day. Think about it this way. Most of humanity is up during the daytime and asleep at night. When we are conscious of our situation, we are called upon to honor the Lord. So, if you are awake before sunrise, in the evening or overnight, for any reason, then you still get the joy of honoring the Lord. The message is: honor the Lord all the time.
Verse 4, shown above, points out the geography of God’s presence. Our God can be wherever he wants to be. In one sense, the Lord is all across the world, and is present in every nation, territory, and land. This does not mean that the Lord avoids international waters. It is simply a poetic way of saying God is anywhere on, in, around the earth where he chooses to be. Remember the prophet Jonah. He mistakenly thought that the Lord was only present at the Temple in Jerusalem or in the Holy Land. He bought a ticket to Tarshish (likely Spain), and tried to flee from his calling to be a prophet of the Lord. He quickly found out that the Lord was present for him everywhere, including in the belly of the giant fish. Since humanity truly needs a restored relationship with God, that he is available to us everywhere on earth is remarkable.
The second part of the message of this verse is that God’s geography includes ruling over all creation. This doesn’t just mean here on earth. God is in charge of all creation, for he made it. As we continue to observe the distant plants, stars, galaxies and astronomical phenomena, we see more and more that the universe, God’s creation, is immense.
God is present in this creation, rules over this creation, and is also available to us right here where we live. For this we can respond with praise and glory and thanksgiving for the Lord all day, all night, and forever more.
Loving Lord, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: you are worthy of all praise. From the time we get up until the moment we fall asleep we give you glory. Help us every day to see the wonder of your creation and to give you thanks in all circumstances. We pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.