Today's Lectionary Text
The Lord is king, he is robed in majesty;
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
Your decrees are very sure;
This passage describes floods and the power of flood waters. These are scenes that we are unfortunately quite familiar with in Nebraska and Kansas this year. We have seen and experienced catastrophic flooding in many areas in which people lost lives, property, and livelihoods and entire communities were devastated. Even as I write this, rivers are rising in Kansas and threatening even more places. When water levels are rising, we feel helpless and can only watch as the banks overflow. During a flood, even if we are not directly impacted, we may have to reroute our daily routine around bridges and roads that become impassable. And when the water recedes, the trauma isn’t over. If still standing, homes must be gutted and rebuilt before they can be occupied. Fields may be unable to produce crops for many seasons. Without a doubt, floods are powerful and chaotic forces of nature when they “lift up their roaring.”
But this passage reminds us that, in the midst and above the tumult of flood waters, God still reigns. Floods are powerful indeed and crashing waves of the sea are relentless. And still, “majestic on High is the Lord!” These verses were likely written shortly after the Israelites had returned from exile—after a time when they had experienced terrible upheavals in their lives and communities. The psalmist testifies that, even in the aftermath of such trauma, God is their sovereign and is girded with strength.
Our world is filled with natural disasters like floods and tornadoes that can suddenly and unexpectedly affect our lives and communities. Every day, we subject ourselves and our communities to many sorts of human-made disasters, like violence, oppression, and injustice. It can feel like the flood waters are roaring around us and that we are helpless. And sometimes, in fact, we cannot stand against such forces. But this psalm reminds us that, even though natural and human-made forces of the world are often powerful and destructive, God is greater. The psalmist speaks directly to God and acknowledges that “Your decrees are very sure; holiness befits your house.” These words are meant to remind Israel (and us) that, even amidst the chaos of a rising flood waters, our God is holy and everlasting. The forces of the world are real and powerful, but we should have confidence that our God is stronger and is standing with us.
Topeka District Lay Leader
Prayer for Reflection
God our Creator and Sustainer, thank you for leading us, especially through roaring and rising flood waters of all kinds. You are holy and majestic on high. Help us focus on you in good times, in times of disaster, and in times of recovery. For you are our everlasting leader, indeed. Amen.
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