Through the Bible in a Year – August 1

The scheme for July and August can be found here

2 Ki 10-12; Acts 15:36-16:40; Psalm 116-117

Gratitude for healing is the mark of Psalm 116, and gratitude marks out much of the language of the Psalms. In this sense they are somewhat alien to us. the Psalmist seeks at all times to see the hand of God in his life – at times that is a struggle – but even the struggle is expressed in prayer. the Psalmist understands that all of life is held in the hand of God and expresses himself accordingly. Thus when he recovers from illness he gives thanks to God for his deliverance.

For most is not all who read this blog, such a sense is something which is difficult for us to maintain, primarily because we have bought into the myth that we are in control of our own lives and destinies. A myth which our wealth, which historically is monumental, enables us comfortably to maintain.

Let us look around the room in which we are sat now. Look at our possessions. How many were gifts? How many have we accumulated ‘by the strength of our arm’, bought for ourselves out of our wealth? This is one simple expression of the way in which we are able to ‘build a life for ourselves’. And if we have built this life for ourselves, then why be thankful?

We may say, ‘I can be thankful that I have been given the strength to accumulate these things’, but is that the purpose of our lives? ‘Ones life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions’

The Psalmist on the whole lives much more on the edge. Even if the Psalmist is King David himself. Unlike Solomon who follows him, David is not renowned for his wealth and the David story which we read in 1 and 2 Samuel tells of a man living very much on the edge for much of his life – indeed his downfall occurs precisely at the point where he is settled and made a palace for himself. When he starts to live life on his own terms, taking that which is not his, seeking to possess.

Imagine what it would be like to live on the edge – not to know where your next meal was coming from. Imagine gratitude when it does come along.

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