God tells the “master” (king) to “sit”. It is quite common today for rulers to sit while the armies go forth to wage war or defend the nation. When the Psalm was written, it was normal that kings/rulers went to war with the armies. So, for the ruler/master/king to sit was to say that the war/battle would be won without their presence. As it is God saying it, it’s more along the lines of, “I’ve got this.”
In our American thinking, we often think we have to do it ourselves. There is a reason why we think of “good” businesspeople having “pulled themselves up by their bootstraps.” If we analyze that phrase, we can see that it may have not been a positive statement, but a tongue-in-cheek quip that someone was quite arrogant in thinking they did by themselves.
As we read the Scriptures, it becomes apparent that often the call on God’s people is not to do great things, but to witness and testify to the great things that God has done. When God has done great things, the pressure is often taken off of us, because it is not by our strength of will. When we testify, often we have to testify to our weakness and testify to God’s strength in the face of our weakness.
When the people meet God at Mount Sinai, their actions are minimal. They are to prepare, listen and respond. You might think that “obey” would be part of that, but obedience would be lived out, and obedience would be part of their testimony to the world of what God has done.
The story of Exodus may have a lot of anecdotal stories of Moses, Aaron, and the people of Israel. However, most of the stories are witnesses of God’s glory and might. Even during the plagues, while Moses had his part, it was God who was the major actor.
Exodus was, along with the other books of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) are formational to what it meant to be an Israelite. The books were not only a witness of God, they were also the witness to and for the Israelites.
As they were formational, they were core to being Israelite. Yet, it is amazing how people can be formed by something they do not know. We’d say that this couldn’t be, yet even being an “American” is often based upon far too many things we only think we know.
The author of Hebrews speaks of drifting away. Often, especially in a country as blessed as ours, it is very easy to quickly forget our salvation. Our lives are (despite a bad economy, COVID, and grace-less politics) blessed. This is not to diminish the hardships that people experience here. In fact, because of the blessedness, it makes such hardships an even greater travesty.
Drifting away is subtle. It takes time. A quick divergence (or apostasy) is easy to grasp. It is when it happens over time (years, decades, centuries) that it becomes the hardest to recognize. When it happens over time, it also becomes hard to determine Truth versus fact.
We are in such a time as this, if we’ve ever left it all. Perhaps this should be our greatest fear as the church…we have lost what should make us different than the world.
The deepest, darkest, and saddest aspect of this drifting away is that we cease being witnesses of God, and our lives ceasing being witnesses to God. While we are called to wait and see what will do, we are called to say what God has done.
- What ways have you been tempted to “drift away” from faith?
- What kinds of “drifting away” damages our witness the most?
- What is the danger in not “waiting and see” what God does? What is the danger in “waiting and see”? How does discern when to be still and when to act?
God, you have called us to witness what you have done, and to be witnesses. Help us to be faithful to that call. Amen.