A kaleidoscope montage recalling great moments of God’s saving interaction with his chosen people.
This is a grand processional dance song for the coming of the ark of the covenant to mount Zion in Jerusalem, which David made the capital of a united Israel.
It is THE moment, the end point of the vast saga of exodus, the moment they made it, they are a nation – its the medal ceremony at the end of star wars, throwing the ring into mount doom.
And they had the ark right there, so you had a tangible artifact of God’s protective … and destructive … power around which to singl of his victory and blessing.
The opening is a catchcry from Moses, everyone would have instantly recognised it. Called out as God went before the vulnerable ex slaves in the desert. And he did scatter their enemies. So often mighty armies would just melt away in confusion.
There are references to God’s eternal nature, his superiority, in the clouds, like the pillar of cloud in the desert, and his size. God is called the cloud rider, which is apparently a play on a name for Baal.
There seem to be references to Deborah’s victory song in judges 5, as a way to rejoice perhaps in the relatively progressive position women had in Israel compared to other nations at the time, encouraging all the women to go out and proclaim the word, and win victories for God. They actually get the plunder, compared to the image of the enemy women in Deborah’s song waiting at home for the plunder that will never come from armies that have been scattered and defeated.
God is compared to a magnificent silver and gold dove (the Spirit?) hidden among the plain sheep pens of Israel. Its a bit weird these days, but you can get the vivid power it must have had for them.
The relative weakness of Israel is a returning theme. That God dwells on tiny mount Zion compared to proper big mountains is a symbol of the incredible blessing and victory this small once subjugated nation has had in the Lord.
The are references to the promise to crush the head of the serpent, comparing it to the way that the nations have been subdued, how they have walked through fields of victory, of crushed armies.
There are tender images of God providing family for the lonely, the fatherless, release for the prisoners.
There is an image of God ascended and accepting gifts from the rebellious, the captives, as well as his people. This will literally happen at the bringing of the ark to crown Jerusalem capital. Tribute is coming from nearby lands over whom Israel was ascendant at the time. Paul quotes and flips this in Ephesians, taking about Jesus descending, ascending and giving gifts to the church.
Having zoomed around so much stuff, images of God’s greatness and love for little Israel, the procession comes into view – singers, musicians, girls with timbrels, the tribes… All the tribes coming before the ark.
It ends praying in rich, deep language, for this greatness to continue in God’s blessing of the city. And so it did, this commenced Israel’s golden period of earthly success.
Its all macro and I’m unfortunately living very micro at the moment. I feel somewhat stuck and low energy – can’t get onto all the things I have to do. That Christmas feeling of too much to do while feeling burnt out and impatient for holidays seems to have come super early this year. I want to just let everything slip through my fingers, the energy demands of trying to cope disgust me.
I didn’t really get a weekend, worked all the time on paving, which I didn’t get close to finishing. Perhaps that’s affecting my mood more than it should.
Pray that I can jazz up as in this Psalm, get focused. I’m daunted by the need to get a job and feeling vulnerable and inadequate. I must remember that this psalm is not about the adequacy of Israel/its not about my adequacy, its about the blessing, the good will of God.
I pray that he gives me strength, lollies and coffee just aren’t cutting it right now.