He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap …
This psalm deals with questions like “How big is the Lord?” and “How great is our God?” The answers may seem easy, but they don’t convince everyone.
Ancient Jewish people pondered these questions. Their country was never big or powerful. Its economy never became world class. Except for an 80–year span with King David and his son Solomon, their armies were mostly outmaneuvered, outnumbered, and overrun. Their theology said, “God is great beyond measure and reigns over all.” But their nation was no empire.
Yet even after decades of defeat, temple songs rang out, “The LORD is exalted over all the nations.” In a world where each nation, village, and household had its own gods, the boast that God was the great King was an act of sheer faith. Still, the people of God sang with enthusiasm, “Who is like the LORD our God?”
All this was a hint of the real nature of Christ’s kingdom. Jesus confuses people. They expect leaders to ride white stallions; he parades on a donkey colt. They expect leaders to use military might; he teaches his followers to love their enemies. They expect kings to rule from marble palaces; he heals lepers in obscure villages and plays with children. God keeps saying, “I’m so big that I care for the poor.” We struggle with God’s upside–down kingdom. But someday we will believe him fully.
Lord Jesus, you cared for the poor and the crippled and the lost. Help us to live by that same grace as we care for the people around us. In your name we pray. Amen
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