Psalm 76 – The Message
1-3 God is well-known in Judah;
in Israel, he’s a household name.
He keeps a house in Salem,
his own suite of rooms in Zion.
That’s where, using arrows for kindling,
he made a bonfire of weapons of war.
4-6 Oh, how bright you shine!
Outshining their huge piles of loot!
The warriors were plundered
and left there impotent.
And now there’s nothing to them,
nothing to show for their swagger and threats.
Your sudden roar, God of Jacob,
knocked the wind out of horse and rider.
7-10 Fierce you are, and fearsome!
Who can stand up to your rising anger?
From heaven you thunder judgment;
earth falls to her knees and holds her breath.
God stands tall and makes things right,
he saves all the wretched on earth.
Instead of smoldering rage—God-praise!
All that sputtering rage—now a garland for God!
God is a warrior and He has never been, and will never be, defeated. We are his warriors and even though we will win through God’ glory and grace in the end, we will suffer hard blows and devastating defeats. This Bible passage is an encouragement in those dark times. It is a picture of the aftermath of battle with a day of peace and praise on the horizon.
Divisions. That is what we have been talking about. God has gifted us all differently and we are to rejoice in our gifts and the gifts of others.
I have always wanted to be an amazing athlete. Growing up in small town Minnesota, sports were everything. It also did not help when your dad is your high school’s coach for boy’s varsity basketball, girls varsity volleyball, and both golf teams. My older brother got an award for playing a sport every season for every year of high school. You can find him on the pictures of the basketball team, soccer team, cross country team, track team, and golf team. And yes, some of these seasons overlapped, and he still did them all. My sister was good as well. Being the shorty of the family we watched her play guard in basketball, setter in volleyball, and run relays in track. She is playing both volleyball and basketball now in college, finishing up her senior year.
The hardest decision I had to make in high school was not to try out for basketball my senior year. I was having issues with my coach (this one wasn’t my dad) and there was no way it was going to be a good season with all of this drama. I felt like I had let everyone down. I had had dreams of storming the court and being the star of the team. I wanted the crowd to cheer my name and for my amazing skills to inspire others.
My hope for you, my fellow spiritual warriors, is that there are divisions among you. Yes, you heard me right. I hope that there are certain things that divide you from each other, that you are separated. Excuse me now, as I elaborate in a semi-geeky fashion.
Might. Spears. Bloodshed. Massacres. Battles. Defenses. Attacks. Victory. Strongholds. Blood. Exploits. Valiant Fighters. Fame. Honor.
These are the lives and stories of David’s mighty men. Earlier this month we saw David’s mighty men show up in 2 Samuel 23. Now we see their stories again in 1 Chronicles 11. Some are the same, some are a little different. A different angle and some embellishments. These are such impressive men, that we’ll see their stories twice.
“10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised— 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:
“Next! . . . Hello sir, please have a seat. I will be your scribe for today. What is your name and whose descendant are you?”
“I am Eshek a descendant of Benjamin.”
“Eshek . . .Benjamin. Good, now who are your sons. In order of importance if you would please.”
“Ulam is my firstborn, then Jeush, and lastly and least Eliphelet.”
“Thank you. And is there any legacy you wish to be noted?”
“Yes!! Of course. All of Ulam’s sons are warriors, very brave warriors. They are all skilled with the bow!”
“Alright that should be all. Next!”
“You got the warrior part down right? Ulam’s sons. All of them!!”
“Yes, yes. You are done. Next! . . . Get a job as a scribe they said. Do work for the genealogies they said. It will be fun they said. No one said anything about everyone wanting their family to be written down as warriors. . . . I said NEXT!”
My church, my Sunday School teachers, my Christian School teachers, my Youth Group leaders, and my Catechism class all failed me.
I went to church growing up, both morning and evening services. I attended Sunday School almost every morning it was offered. I went down to Children’s Church and Children’s Worship and listened to the stories and sang the songs.
In high school I attended youth group regularly and my Jr and Sr year I went to Catechism on Wednesday nights.
I have attended Christian schools from kindergarten through my undergraduate degree.
I thought I had the stories down. I thought I knew all the great Bible characters. Bible trivia was never a problem for me. I even have the Old Testament books of the Bible memorized in order, and I used to have the New Testament memorized as well.
This isn’t supposed to be a list of why I am so awesome, not at all. This is to make a connection to those who have a similar background. This is to show that organized religion can organize around certain ideas and stories and leave out others that do not fit our picture of God’s love and kindness.