Friday, March 16, 2012

Psalm 144 – God’s Help is Real

“O Lord, what are human beings that you regard them,

or mortals that you think of them?”

~Psalm 144:3 (NRSV)

The King (if we believe David wrote this Psalm) ponders the Lord’s faithfulness. Glorious battle theology ensues through the early going of this Psalm, as the psalmist imagines the Divine hand reeking judgment against the wicked; those that speak lies; whose right hands are false (verses 8b, 11d).

But this Psalm is far more than an imprecation against an enemy.

The Blessedness Of God

In the opening, the psalmist refers to his faithful God as my rock, my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, and my shield—all in whom he takes refuge. There is definitely a regal feel to these initial verses: the people under the psalmist are subdued, presumably for the sovereign to reign.

But, importantly, the blessedness of God is Sovereign over the sovereign.

A key Old Testament theology comes into play: that the King is the Lord’s sovereign representative—to reign over the people of God in a godly way.

The Extremities of Difference Between God And People

It’s with sheer awesome delight that we can consider God’s interest in us, deeply personal. That this Lord regards us, and thinks of us, is an amazing concept, considering the vastness of the created world and the magnificence of creation’s history.

Everything that is, and ever was, or will be is in the realm of God. We’re part of this realm, no less than anyone else.

When consideration is made of the difference between God and people we can only begin to grasp the power of God to be the rock, fortress, stronghold, deliverer, and shield. Superintending all action, the Lord repeals injustice and institutes righteousness.

The crescendo is reached at verse 9, as God’s faithfulness, once again, is lauded as never more reliable. And the King must rely on such evenness of Divine action. The great thing is he can.

A Vision Of The Community Of The People Of God

In part of this Psalm that’s more reminiscent, possibly, to Psalm 128, verses 12-15 build imagery of healthy community; the people of God dwelling in peace and prosperity.

This is a vision we all want to believe in; that God would bring such fruitfulness to bear, through us, within our families, and within our towns and cities and countries; that we might celebrate the wholesomeness of life, in this world, in the Lord. We do tend to celebrate, and certainly within our church meetings and other like affairs, but our celebrations should always be limited when we consider the vile realities that stand before us by the many ongoing injustices. The fight for Divine right must continue.

Still, we believe. We believe in the future that’s heaped up in harmony, swelling with vitality, and abundant in diversity and inclusiveness. The Lord will have final say.


When we praise the Lord, our God, our Rock, our Fortress, our Stronghold, our Deliverer, and our Shield—in whom we take refuge—we worship a wholly faithful God. As we praise, we also intelligibly thank our God.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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