May 28, 2020

Bigger Than Life


I have seen the wicked oppressing, and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.
Again I passed by, and they were no more; though I sought them, they could not be found.
—Psalm 37:35-36

I love the phrase "wicked oppressing"—probably because of the hymn We Gather Together. But I especially like the context of the verse it comes from. Here's my paraphrase: I've seen the wicked oppressing, and they seemed to me bigger than life. But then, when I returned to the same spot a while later, there was no sign of them. 

The message is that the scary stuff—regardless of how long it seems to last—is only temporary. The person that seems invincible now is, in fact, quite vulnerable if their values are petty, or if their goals are counter to God's will. The humble person with integrity is ultimately much stronger than oppressors who lord their wealth and their lust for power over others.

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
and pray that thou still our defender will be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free! 
—Theodore Baker (1894)
This prayer I offer in the Name of the Crucified who overcame death, and who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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