Let them praise your great and awesome name.
Holy is the Lord!
Mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity;
you have executed justice and righteousness.
Extol the Lord our God!
(adapted from Psalm 99:3-5)
When the people asked Gideon to be their king, he refused. Gideon made an error in judgment; he used captured gold to make an object that the people then treated as if it was worthy of worship. When Gideon died, the Israelites forgot God and turned to Baal.
One of Gideon's seventy sons, Abimelech, having determined that he should be king, hired some men to kill all his brothers. Only one brother, Jotham, survived.
Abimelech asserts that they need a king and the king should be him. When he hears about this, Jotham tells a fable: The trees want a king. They ask the olive tree, but he is too busy. They then turn to the fig tree who tells them he is too productive doing what he's doing now. The vine is next, but he says producing grapes for wine is more important than being a king. They finally turn to the bramble who agrees but adds a warning.
Entrusting his spirit to God, Jesus dies. Sharon Ringe points out that saving faith is a prominent theme in Luke and Acts: "That faith encompasses the promises of salvation that God gives and the presence of God in the holy and righteous Christ in whom those promises are secured."
At dawn break on the first day of the week, the women who had accompanied him from Galilee and had witnessed the crucifixion came to the tomb with spices to anoint his body. The stone blocking the entrance to the tomb had been rolled away. Two men in dazzling clothes spoke to the terrified women, "Why are you looking for the living among the dead? He is risen. Remember, he told you that this was what was going to happen."
They didn't believe yet. Peter also looked in the tomb and was amazed.
Let us ponder. The ones who had been with Jesus a lot, who had heard him speak, still didn't expect what was going to happen.
When God told Moses to lead the people on the next stage of their journey, Moses pleaded for the assurance of God's continued presence.
God's people continue to need God and to know that they need God. Psalm 99 calls for praise of the Lord our God.
This psalm addresses God, as a mighty king and tells what kind of king God is: one who loves justice, establishes equity, and works righteous judgment.
The psalm reminds us of the journey through the wilderness--references to Moses and Aaron, the speaking from a pillar of cloud, and how God forgave them and that God had exacted retribution.
Whether we read of this journey as history or as metaphor, we are reminded that the Lord is great, what the Lord cares about, what we can expect, and how we are supposed to respond.
Fools mock at the guilt offering
but the upright enjoy God's favor.
The heart knows its own bitterness,
and no stranger shares its joy.
Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.