Monday, January 26, 2009

Psalm 139: 9-10

I tried to take the wings of the morning and avoided the computer pretty much all weekend. Sorry - I will try and plan ahead for next time- thanks for reading! Amelia

If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. Psalm 139: 9-10 NRSV

If you were in Israel when the sun rose in the east, it would pretty much be on the "land side" while the setting sun is on the "seaside." So for me the imagery is about rising with the sun and setting sail on the Mediterranean with the wind at your back, heading west. I almost can imagine a Jonah-like setting of trying to escape God via the sea. I suppose the farthest limits might mean Spain or Gibraltar or maybe even the Americas. Any of those would be quite a distance.

For Christians, this may not be earth-shattering, especially when it comes to our understanding of God. But for the Israelites, God was very much place-centered. God was in the tent, in the temple, where the arc of the covenant was located. God was in one place and one place alone. You had to come to God in order to worship - God was not located in everyplace. So, settling at the farthest limits of the sea meant placing the largest gap between you and God.

Or so it might be thought.

But this psalm reminds all of us that even moving that far away does nothing to distance us from God. God still leads us, God still wants us to follow God's will, and God holds us in God's hand. In fact, we are held in God's right hand, the important hand of power and significance. We are that precious and loved by God.

God, thank you for your guiding hand. We are so in awe of your loving hand upon us. We praise you and give you the glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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