Father Is In Charge
Teach me, Lord, what it means to “fear” You; show me that reverence for Your glory can overcome all other fears.
Read Psalm 11:1-7
 For the director of music. Of David.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Providence refers to God’s superintending activity over human actions and human history, bringing creation to its divinely determined goal” (Stanley Grenz).
In the churches in West Africa in which it was my privilege to serve for a number of years, Sunday worship would invariably commence with the choir singing, “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him.” (see Hab. 2:20). I found this ritual strangely moving, and when I read v. 4 of this psalm the memory of those beautiful Nigerian harmonies came back to me.
For the psalmist, the truth of God’s sovereignty brought comfort in a context of violence (2), the collapse of the foundations of human society (3), and the activities of the “wicked” (6). This situation was similar to that which shaped the lives of my African friends; their traditional social structures were falling apart and the ensuing vacuum provided opportunities for armed robbers and other evil people to create fear and confusion. In such circumstances, the heartfelt confession that the Lord remains “on his heavenly throne,” that he “hates” violence, and that “the upright will see his face” are not empty statements but bedrock beliefs that prevent believers from stumbling and convey hope that a broken world will one day be put right.
The great German preacher, Helmut Thielicke, in a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer which he preached while Hamburg was under constant bombardment during the Second World War, said that, if we can pray from the depths of our hearts the words “Our Father,” we will have done what is necessary to retain faith, hope and sanity in a world that sometimes appears to be overwhelmed by violence and wickedness. The psalmist provides our first lesson in such praying; Jesus raises it to a new level in the revelation that the Lord “in his holy temple” may be addressed as our dear Father.
Read Matthew 6:9-13, noticing the similarities with Psalm 11. Then praise our Father in heaven for his powerful love, and ask that his kingdom of peace and justice may come on earth.
Mighty God, You are king forever and ever. Remind me that I’m not caught in the grip of life’s circumstances but secure in the hands of the sovereign God.
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