Journey to Bethlehem Day 18
Wednesday, December 18 Psalm 146:5-10
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
The commercial Christmas season often stirs us with happy sentiments. Because we long to be happy. People tend to be nicer to one another, unless they are eyeing the same gift when only one remains. Through all the tinsel, lights, smiles, and happy songs a subtle lie is told and embraced. The lie is that things are okay; that people are naturally good; that happiness is merely a choice or an action away.
But a truer story is told through the season of Advent. A story that acknowledges all is not right in the world or in our hearts. This elusive “blessed” or happy life that everyone deep down longs for is not attainable on our own no matter how kind or giving we are. But it is available for those “whose help is the God of Jacob.” (v.5)
For this God is the one “who made heaven and earth” (v.6) and he will rule and “reign forever” (v.10). This Lord sees what is wrong in the world and acts with justice and compassion to set prisoners free, give sight to the blind, and lift up those who are forgotten. His justice flanks his compassion (v.7, 9). To the readers of the New Testament, these actions of justice and compassion should ring familiar. For Jesus embodies many of the characteristics of the Lord’s rule directly with his healings and teachings and feeding and liberating.
This is good news for us, who stumble in darkness, for there is a genuine and real hope because the reign of God, revealed in the psalms and in the life of Jesus Christ, is made available to us. The God who made heaven and earth stepped out of heaven and into earth in the person of Christ to dwell among us and to “execute justice for the oppressed” (v.7). Because this is a real hope of a real blessed life the psalmist erupts in real praise. This is the appropriate response for us to make also: “Praise the Lord!”
Gracious Father, your kingdom is one of justice and compassion. Help us to rightly mourn our brokenness but to not fall into despair. For you are the Lord who made the heavens and the earth. By your Son, Jesus, you bring light and life to the world. Deliver us from the oppressive sins to which we are bound; feed our souls with the body and blood of Christ at his Table; and open our blind eyes to your glory and grace. For the honor of your holy name we pray. Amen!