Scripture Focus: Psalm 99.1-9
1 The Lord reigns, 
let the nations tremble; 
he sits enthroned between the cherubim, 
let the earth shake. 
2 Great is the Lord in Zion; 
he is exalted over all the nations. 
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name— 
he is holy. 
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice— 
you have established equity; 
in Jacob you have done 
what is just and right. 
5 Exalt the Lord our God 
and worship at his footstool; 
he is holy. 
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests, 
Samuel was among those who called on his name; 
they called on the Lord 
and he answered them. 
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; 
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them. 
8 Lord our God, 
you answered them; 
you were to Israel a forgiving God, 
though you punished their misdeeds. 
9 Exalt the Lord our God 
and worship at his holy mountain, 
for the Lord our God is holy. 

Reflection: Tremble in Hope
By John Tillman

God loves justice, the psalmist says. Nations should tremble before him when their rulers, courts, or laws do not establish justice.

Justice fails when victims are ignored, not believed, or when evidence is covered up. Justice fails when prominence, power, or personality prevent prosecutions from proceeding. Justice fails when it falls heavily only on the poor and powerless, while the wealthy and well-connected find leniency.

Are we establishing justice or undermining it? 

God establishes equity, the psalmist says. He loves even, level, and straight paths with fair access. God has no favorites. He poured his Holy Spirit onto men and women, Jews, Greeks, and every other race. His rule, justice, and gospel allow all people and places to live in unity and brotherhood.

Equity dies as tribalism and racism take hold. Jealousy, suspicion, and fear produce hatred. Fearing others’ success exposes our greed and selfishness. Refusing to lift others up gives tacit approval to those who pushed them down.

Are we insisting on equity or resisting it?

What nations do (and what individuals support) does not go unnoticed or unpunished. Sometimes, God punishes from without, sending one nation to crush another for their sins. Sometimes, God punishes from within, allowing nations to fall on their own swords or poison themselves…

Whether committed by dictators or appointed representatives, wicked deeds blossom, and the poisonous fruit stains the fingers and mouths of those who profit from it. Their dead bodies lie exposed beneath the trees as a warning, yet those hungry for power take the fruit and plant it in their gardens. This has happened, will happen, and is happening.

Are we eating the fruit of wickedness? 

If we tremble in conviction, we do not tremble without hope.

The psalmist also says God is forgiving. He punishes but also restores. He exiles but also calls us home. Wicked nations and individuals who repent will find him willing to bless.

Never lose hope. Christians are most gullible and vulnerable to manipulation when we lose hope and fail to trust in God. Grasping for hope in this world, we are liable to take the hand of the devil. 

When all seems lost, it isn’t. Our faith is founded on a moment when all hope seemed lost. Jesus went to the grave praying in hope to God. We can tremble in hope that our God will forgive and redeem us as we worship him.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence
Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in your; I have said to the Lord, “ You are my Lord, my good above all other.” — Psalm 16.1

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
1 Chronicles 23  (Listen 4:20)
Psalms 99-101 (Listen 2:48)

Read more about No Such Thing as God Forsaken
Maturity is shown when we agree with God not about others’ sins but about our own.

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