How good it is to sing praises
to our God;
for God is gracious,
and a song of praise is fitting.
(adapted from Psalm 147:1)
2 Kings 15:1-16:20
Mixed results for Azariah and for Jotham, and Ahaz of Judah, but all bad for Zechariah, Menahem, and Pekah of Israel.
Seeing the response to Paul's work, some onlookers tried using the name of Jesus with bad results for them but good for Paul. For a while. A man who made his living by selling silver shrines of Artemis spoke to the artisans whose livelihood depended on these sales. He told them, "This Paul is hurting our business." A dangerous crowd formed. The town clerk calmed the situation by suggesting that they take the matter to court.
How upset do people become today if they think that a religion is interfering with their livelihood?
Psalm 147 sings of the work that the Lord has done, the work that will continue to be done, and for whom this work is done: the outcasts, the brokenhearted, the downtrodden .
In return, we contemplate just what it is that the Lord wants for us to do, how to be. Well, it not just to be better than the people around us--richer or stronger or whatever: The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love (11).
James Newsome, in Texts for Preaching B, writes:
Power and weakness! It may be observed that the story of humankind is, in large measure, the pursuit of the former and the avoidance of the latter. The person who has no power is one who exercises no control over his or her life. .... Into this terrible arena the psalmist issues a different understanding of the nature of power and weakness and of the relation between the two. There is but a single Power; all other power is illusory and transient. To participate in this Power is to admit one's own weakness, one's own dependence on the Creator and Sustainer of life. And paradoxically, it is only in the admission of one's own finitude and impotence that there emerges hope and joy. For the Power that sets the stars and brings the rains is irrevocably committed to the cause of justice and compassion....Proverbs 18:4-5
The words of the mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a gushing stream.
It is not right to be partial to the guilty,
or to subvert the innocent in judgment.
Prayer for Today: Choose a prayer from Joan Stott's website The Timeless Psalms.