“But you, God, break out laughing;
you treat the godless nations like jokes.
Strong God, I’m watching you do it,
I can always count on you.
God in dependable love shows up on time,
shows me my enemies in ruin.” (Psalm 59:8)
The way you think about God matters.
According to a study done at the University of Miami, “among HIV patients better immune functioning is found among those who have an image of God that is more compassionate and loving than those who have images of God as more judgmental and punitive…. Changes in God image changes t-cells in randomized trials.”
Isn’t that interesting?
So if your picture of God is a bit Zeus-like (think of the figure from the Sistine Chapel with the voice of Darth Vader) then maybe it’s time to consider other images, such as Matthew 28:37 which pictures God as a mother-hen gathering her chicks under her wing.
Or what about the text above? God is pictured, it might seem, as a Comedian, who “breaks out laughing” and who treats “the godless nations as jokes”? The paraphrase continues: “Strong God, I’m watching you do it.”
It’s a different kind of picture of God. He is so confident about the situation that he finds it laughable. He’s that strong that he can shrug off any perceived threat with a roll of the eyes.
And a bonus prize for the one who experiences God in this way. “I can always count on you.
God in dependable love shows up on time, shows me my enemies in ruin.” That is to say, my experience of the way God has worked on my behalf in the past leads me to trust him right now, and gives me complete faith in the future.
It’s done. It’s sorted. Everything’s going to be ok.That’s why I’m confident.
I have the middle name of Jeffrey. I was named after a much-loved uncle who sadly died far too young (of diabetes). But Uncle Jeff was a man of incredible ability. There was no DIY project that he couldn’t undertake. He built his own furniture, stripped engines, and… well, sorted everything out that needed doing. But added to this I remember his laughter, his pleasure in family, his enjoyment of life.
That’s something of the image of God in this Psalm. Strong, confident, able, laughing. You can take your stand besides such a one. You can be confident too and trust him for the future.
Father, as I come to you this morning and get ready for the demands of a new day, I thank you for your laughter and strength. I know I get giddy with nerves about petty things. Help me to calm down and look to you. Let me be still inside, and know that everything is going to be ok because you’re here.
I trust you for today.