ADVENT PRAYER: Tuesday Of Advent II by Martin Shannon

Praying With the Psalms Through Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany

Tuesday Of Advent II by Martin Shannon

From My Soul Waits

Psalm 149

Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. (v. 2)

Especially in our time, Psalm 149’s militant tone when calling for all the faithful to praise God should not be mistaken for a call to war.  On the spiritual battlefield, however, praise of God is among the most effective weapons – it actually bears the power of God.  The book of Nehemiah describes a scene in the rebuilding of the temple after the exile: “Those who carried burdens were laden in such a way that each with one hand labored on the work and with the other held his weapon,” (4:17).  The work of building a house of prayer went hand-in-hand with the work of defending it.  Sword and shovel each had its place.

Something similar is going on with Psalm 149.  “Let the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands,” writes the psalmist, (v. 6).  Surely he is talking about something more than a literal weapon of war.  At other points in the Bible, the metaphorical image of a sharp sword is used to indicate the incisive truth of the Word of God, (see Isaiah 49:2; Psalm 45:2-3).  The visionary of Revelation pictures the One who is called “Faithful and True” finally returning to govern the whole Earth with a sharp sword issuing forth from his mouth, “with which to strike down the nations,” (19:15).  He who came first in a manger will come then on a throne, bearing the Almighty name “King of kings and Lord of lords,” (v. 16).

Like the seer of the apocalypse, the psalmist is looking toward that day when all Earthly powers and authorities will bow in adoration (willingly or unwillingly) before the true sovereign of all.  Then, no nation nor people, no ruler nor noble, will be able to stand upright before the Lord’s coming.  Until that day, however, it is for the saints to sing, to rejoice, to dance, to play the timbrel and harp, to be joyful in the glory of God.  This makes every act of praise a declaration of truth: the Lord God reigns, forever and ever.

From The Fathers

“Sing to the Lord a new song.”  “Well, I am singing,” you say.  Yes, you are singing.  Of course you are singing.  I can hear you.  But do not let your life give evidence against your tongue.  Sing with your voices, sing also with your hearts; sing with your mouths, sing also with your conduct.  Do you want to sing God his praises?  Be yourselves what you sing. (Augustine)

Lord, you invite me to sing your praises.
Not just to think them, but to sing them.
You want my voice as well as my heart.
Apparently it’s not enough just to whisper.
You want real sound.
So, real sound I will give you.

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