Joy and Fear Together (Psalm 47)
Scripture: (Psalm 47)
Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! For the Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.
St. Augustine said that time was a mystery. He knew precisely what it was until someone asked him about it.
Different cultures think about time in different ways. For many, particularly in the East, time is cyclical. There are rhythms of life and death and rebirth; time is like a wheel that spins ‘round and ‘round with no real end.
But the Biblical view of time is much different. Time is linear, headed in one direction. And at the heart of this view of time is the idea of life being meaningful and purposeful. That is, time has an end, both in the sense of a termination and in the sense of a purpose. A better way to say it is, we’re all headed somewhere. This is what theologians are talking about when they refer to redemptive history.
And that’s good news for followers of Jesus for a few reasons. First, it means that our suffering will one day end. It does not go on like this forever. But second, our suffering is meaningful, as is our work. What we do and what we experience adds to the final outcomes of history; simply put – you matter.
And we can be confident in these things because our God is not simply some regional god, nor a god over some small piece of the puzzle. Instead, he is the God over all things. It is His hand which guides time and history to their meaningful end. That is a fearful and wonderful thing.
Father, you are the king above all gods, the maker of heaven and earth. By your will are nations established and torn down. By your will we are born, and we live, and we die. By your will our lives bear meaning and purpose.
Teach us to praise you and to fear you. Teach us to shout for joy and to bend the knee at your greatness and your faithfulness.