Saturday, March 24, 2007

When Life Totters and Leans

In contrast to his own vulnerability and the nothingness of his enemies, stands the tall, strong, stable rock: God himself. That vision of God, the source of our strength should be what keeps us moving forward.
Life can be sometimes very cruel. The psalmists who penned the 150 psalms of the Old Testament expressed their pain and anguish in metaphorical language. How does one express the vulnerability and instability of ones life in times of opposition? The psalmist who composed Psalm 62 compares it with a leaning wall and a tottering fence. His life is like a wall that is about to collapse or a fence that is about to fall (Ps 62:3). He is unable to stand the winds and currents that are against his life. To add to his misery he has enemies who are trying to take advantage of his vulnerability. These are people who are trying to usurp him. Probably, the psalmist could be a ruler who is loosing popular support among his own people. His position is too vulnerable. The people close to him may betray him. Though they say good words (bless), they may not mean it. They may betray him because they find him as a liability. There are instances in the past where people have betrayed their ruler in order to find favor with their political enemies. They may think that it is better to give their ruler in the hands of their enemies and escape destruction instead of fight the enemy under the leadership of a weak ruler who may not be able to protect them from the enemy. The ruler is anyway a leaning fence, may fall and it is not wise to lean on such a leaning wall!

When he asks his enemies the question how far will they try to take advantage of his vulnerability and weakness, he is not appealing to them for sympathy. Instead he will turn to God for strength. The metaphor he uses for God is a powerful one. He would describe himself as a leaning wall, but for him God is a rock: stable, dependable and unmovable in times of crisis. "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone: my hope comes from him. // He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. //My Salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my rock, my refuge" (Ps 62:6-7).
He also has a vision about his enemies. He would see human beings (whether commoners or royalty) as mere breath. The whole council of ministers may turn against him. However, he would consider him as a mere breath (Ps 62:9).
Then how does he resolve his worry? There is nothing in himself that gives him strength in times of trouble. At the same time he doesn't have to worry about his opponents since they are nothing to be reckoned with. In contrast to his own vulnerability and the nothingness of his enemies, stands the tall, strong, stable rock: God himself. That vision of God, the source of our strength should be what keeps us moving forward.

Burning Bushes

'And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning,...