This is precisely the kind of song and the portrayal of God that troubles so many of us in this day and age. We just cannot conceive of, or want to believe in, a God who wreaks vengeance upon people - people who, the Bible tells us, were created in that same God's image.
But maybe we are reading this psalm incorrectly. Maybe what is being expressed here is the belief in a God who is not coming to punish those who do wrong, but to set right all that has gone wrong in people's lives, especially those who are not able to set things right for themselves.
And it seems that the reason God has to come do this is because we have failed to act justly and lovingly.
Think about it. When the media talks about the poor and the needy, we have a tendency to shake our heads, go "tsk, tsk" and wonder why they don't do more for themselves. But when the psalms and other Scripture speak of the poor and the needy (the "widow and orphan"), it is to remind us that these are the people God loves the most, the ones God seeks to protect. So, maybe God is sitting there, going "tsk, tsk" wondering why we don't do something to help these people who are our brothers and sisters. Time and time again, the Old Testament lifts up the "cry" of the poor, which is expected to bring a response of "justice" from those with the power and means to do justice - and that is us, friends!
Perhaps this is an appropriate song for Advent...and for all the days to come.
The people waited and hoped and cried, Righteous God, for One who would deliver them and bring them justice. Help us, as followers of the One you sent, to listen to the cries of our time and to respond with justice and hope. Amen.
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