Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 68. (MsgB)
See God on parade to the sanctuary, my God, my King on the march!
Singers out front, the band behind, maidens in the middle with castanets.
The whole choir blesses God. Like a fountain of praise, Israel blesses God.
Look—little Benjamin’s out front and leading,
Princes of Judah in their royal robes, princes of Zebulon, princes of Naphtali.
Parade Your power, O God, the power, O God, that made us what we are.
King David, composer of a good portion of the 150 Psalms, has several other glowing highlights on this leadership resume of his. Described in the scriptures as a man after God’s own heart, David was the one leader in Israel’s history who was able to do something no other was able to do. Under his kingship, David was successful in gathering the twelve tribes of Israel into one big happy family.
Just think of it. It’s not an easy task for anyone to get twelve different people to agree on something. And if you look carefully at God’s Word, you’ll find that the twelve sons of Jacob had a long track record of not getting along with one another. But under David’s tutelage, the descendants of Jacob’s kids were able to find peace and tranquility under one flag. One nation. Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for all.
Too bad more of our contemporary leaders don’t take a cue from King David and work toward bringing warring tribes together for one common purpose.
In Psalm 68, we find King David singing about the tribes of Israel all marching together in God’s big family parade. Little Benjamin seems to have been assigned the number one spot in this God-march. That fact itself speaks volumes to the heart of grace found under King David’s leadership. Apparently to David, in order for all twelve tribes to be treated fairly, the least shall be given the greatest honor. The last shall be first. The weakest, assigned the place of greatest honor. Gosh, I wonder if this is where Jesus got some of His powerful ideas for His Sermon on the Mount?
Twelve tribes. All uniting under the Lion of Judah.
Did you know that the description for the people of Israel being called ‘Jews’ came from this time frame when David was king? Since the word ‘Jew’ literally means “of Judah”, when King David, who was born in the tribe of Judah, united all twelve tribes into one people under one flag, the people of God came to be known as the Jewish people.
Sadly, the unification of twelve tribes under one king fell apart soon after King David and his son Solomon died. While Solomon (which means peace) did rule over the unified Israel that his father assembled, it wasn’t too many years before the old divisions begin sprouting up again, leaving a divided nation. And as the old saying goes, a divided nation simply cannot stand.
A northern state of Israel, made up of ten tribes was birthed around 930 BC, while a state named for Judah remained in the south. The scriptures tell us that it wasn’t long before these two divided states were eventually conquered by outside enemies, leaving a Jewish people who would never be fully united again until 1947, when a new united state of Israel was re-birthed.
One Nation. Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for all.
Just a pipe dream, you say? I think not. Particularly when we insert one additional phrase.
One Nation. Under God. Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for all.
As I see it, it’s that one little phrase that makes a big world of difference. King David, you see, was a man with a heart toward God. And when a man or woman is fully dedicated to God and His Kingdom purposes, all kinds of miracles can happen down here on planet earth. Divided people can become indivisible. Twelve tribes can become one nation. Slavery and Injustice toward some can be reversed so that we all can experience Liberty and Justice.
Some call America, the great experiment in freedom. Seems to me the Jewish people, under the leadership of King David, just might have been living out that experiment nearly 3,000 years before 1776.
Anybody up for trying it again?
My prayer: God, history shows us that what You did for the Jewish people, under the leadership of one godly man, was amazing. As King David sang, “Your power, O God, made us what we are.” May we live to see once again what miracles can happen when a united people live under Your leadership. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: What might it look like for our divided America to return to her roots where we become One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice for All? Is it possible, or have we gone beyond our limits? What role can the Church of Jesus Christ play in bringing this kind of hope and promise back into our broken nation?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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