The psalmist begins with overflowing praise to the Lord. This psalm exudes relief, triumph, and gratitude. The Lord is exalted above both heavenly beings and earthly monarchs. We do not know the circumstances of the turmoil. But we do learn that the psalmist sees the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord demonstrated personally in his or her life. And the turmoil could be physical, emotional, spiritual, or relational; there are hints of each throughout the song.

This psalmist gives thanks to God in relation to three groups: the gods (vv. 1-3), the kings of the earth (vv. 4-6), and enemies (vv. 7-8). The expression the gods could mean deities worshiped by other peoples or it could mean angelic beings. In either case, the psalmist means to invoke the spiritual world. Kings is shorthand for any earthly government or movement leaders. And enemies appears to encompass difficulties on a personal level which can feel overwhelming.

The exuberance in the song flows from a natural reaction of relief, a relief that is not of the singer’s own making. As essential as God’s protection and deliverance are, our response to God’s action is also essential. This song does not appear out of detached deliberation. It is an outburst of gratitude and relief. Sometimes we feel gratitude but fail to express it. This psalm exemplifies the value of expressing gratitude.

Expression can enhance gratitude. The initial outburst of relief or thanks or resolution can be exuberant. But expressing our gratitude before others can intensify the reaction, and that expression can become a graceful blessing to those who hear it. The psalmist says, “Look what God has done!” And the hearers of the message can find hope.

Gracious God, thank you for the times you have delivered me. I will praise you in the presence of gods and kings and enemies. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read Mark 3:20-35

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Lectionary Week
May 31–June 6, 2021
Scripture Overview

We sometimes struggle to believe in the power of a God we cannot see. The psalmist declares that God is greater than any earthly king and will preserve us in the face of our enemies. However, in the time of Samuel, the Israelites demanded a human king to lead them into battle. God was not enough for them. Paul admonishes the Corinthians not to repeat this mistake. We should not think that what we see is the ultimate reality. What we see is temporary; what cannot be seen is eternal. Perhaps Jesus is teaching a similar idea in this somewhat troubling passage in Mark. Jesus is not against family, but he is emphasizing that human families are temporary; spiritual family is eternal.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Read 1 Samuel 8:4-20. How are you influenced by the culture around you? What helps you try to align your priorities with God’s?
Read Psalm 138. When you “walk in the midst of trouble,” how do you remember God’s presence with you?
Read 2 Corinthians 4:13–5:1. How do you find yourself being renewed today in spite of parts of your “outer nature” that may be “wasting away”?
Read Mark 3:20-35. Who is your spiritual family? Whom do you identify as your brothers, sisters, mother, and father?

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