What do you belong to? Human beings typically belong to families, groups, clubs, churches, societies, unions, and organizations. We belong because of birth, achievements, common interests, professional standards or interests in community service. Belonging often brings a sense of comfort and can be enjoyable. When Asaph (the writer) wrote this Psalm, Israel was in a bad way. Jerusalem had been destroyed, the nation ruined and the people had no hope. They were not where they belonged. He calls upon God to “give ear, Shepherd of Israel” to the plight of His people before it is to late.
David confessed that Jehovah was his Shepherd (Ps. 23:1) and Asaph does the same. To Asaph, however, God was the “the Lord God of hosts” enthroned, powerful and able to save Israel from her enemies. He asks the Lord to save, restore and revive the nation so that it may once again call upon His name. Asaph writes as one who belongs to God from a people who belong to God but have lost their way. In this song he call for the Shepherd of Israel to come in power to return the people to where they belong.
Belonging is a fundamental desire in most humans. God created us to enjoy Him forever and to belong to one another. Our fellowship with Him is broken by our sins which make us vulnerable to outside forces which seek to destroy us. We often think of “getting back” to God or “going back to where we began” but the Psalmist sees it differently. He calls for God to come to where Israel was. The nation was helpless to do anything to overcome its condition. They could not get to the Lord so the Psalmist asks God to come to them.
This is Christmas. God coming to where we are when we could not get to Him. God saving us, restoring us, and giving us new lives because He loves us and cares for us. No matter where you are, have been or may be going God can help. No matter where anyone you know or love is currently, God can help. If you feel like you are helpless to change your life then ask Him to come and save you. Jesus declared that he came to give us abundant life. He will come to anyone who asks.
As we light the candle of Peace tonight thank the Lord for saving you. As you pray for others as Him to come to them and save, restore and revive them.
Good post, Henry. Practical and biblical. I think soetimmes we try to develop too large a scheme and try to fit women (and other people) into categories that we believe the Bible teaches for them. Surely soetimmes it is better to get into the stories of real people, with their gifts and faults, and discover that we are so much like them. We can *choose* to follow God’s desires for our lives as real, ordinary people, just like so many of the people in the Bible. I would be glad for our three daughters to continue to make good choices to follow God’s way like Hannah, Deborah, Rahab, Ruth, and many others. I wish we could quit arguing theology and, instead, encourage daily choices to do things God’s way. It seems to me that that is a good message and presents good role models for both women and men.