Todays readings.. Exodus 21, Psalm 74, Mark 7
“THE HABITATIONS OF VIOLENCE”
Every time we listen to the world news we hear accounts of violence in various places. Our Psalm today (74) has some comparison to this as it was most likely written after the destruction of the Temple for the Psalmist (Asaph) is lamenting, “the enemy has set your sanctuary on fire; they profaned the dwelling place of your name, bringing it down to the ground.” [v.7] He then laments about the situation saying, “there is no longer any prophet and there is none among us who knows how long” [v.9]
How long? Well, the situation is that “a foolish people reviles your name … for the dark places of the land are full of the habitations of violence” [v.18,20] How parallel this situation is with the world today; we could write a Psalm today that would be similar – except for the fact that although there is no longer any prophet we all have access, if we are inclined, to the word of God. This opens out for us visions of how God sees life and the ultimate end in that awaits the world.!
So we can ask “how long” must this “violence” all around the world continue!? But we ask this question from a special perspective! Now that significant violence is in countries immediately north of God’s land and it seems certain the chosen people he has brought back to live there will be involved in the violence!
The Psalm contains lessons for us – for the writer turns his thoughts to God! “Yet God is my King from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.” [v.12]. Let us echo this prayer! We remember how God worked deliverance in the days of Moses and David – and soon for us! Let us have a sure faith in this!
The last two verses are a prayer to God and they can – and should be – ours today, “Arise, O God, defend your cause; remember (be mindful) how the foolish scoff at you all the day! Do not forget the clamour of your foes, the uproar of those who rise up against you, which goes up continually!” Many foes say he does not exist!
Finally we are attracted to add the words with which David concluded Psalm 9, “Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! Put them in fear, O LORD! Let the nations know they are but men!” May “the habitations of violence” reach a dramatic climax, as prophesied – and then be no more!