Almost 600 years before Jesus was born, the Babylonian army stormed Jerusalem, destroyed the city and Temple, and carried off most of the population into exile. By historical standards, this should have been the end of Israel as a nation. In the ancient world, most people believed that if your nation was defeated in battle, so were its gods. It would have been easy for Israel to lose faith. But a generation or two later, the unthinkable happened. They were allowed to return to their land and rebuild their city and Temple.
Today’s reading is a praise psalm that gives thanks to God for this miraculous restoration. The Psalmist declares, “The LORD builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel” (v. 2). Israel’s restoration clearly demonstrated the power of God. God’s power is also seen in creation. When you look at the night sky, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the size of the universe and the number of stars. The Psalmist proclaims, “He determines the number of the stars; and calls them each by name” (v. 4). Truly his “understanding has no limit” (v. 5). God supplies rain to make grass and wheat grow (v. 8). God sends snow and ice in the winter, then melts it and brings new life in the Spring (vv. 16–18).
Most significantly, God cares about His people. He does not delight in the strongest or most powerful, but in those who trust in Him (vv. 10–11). To be great in God’s eyes, one needs only to look to Him as the source of life and salvation. The Psalmist rejoices that God has given Israel His Word (vv. 19–20). We do not have to wonder what God is like or what he desires. He has clearly revealed Himself to us.
>> Today’s reading calls us to trust in God who created the world, who oversees the weather, who revealed His Word, and who redeemed Israel from captivity. Praise God with the Psalmist today!
Centuries of scientific study have revealed great knowledge of the world, and yet there remains so much we don’t know. We worship You, the all-knowing Creator of the universe, from whom no secret can be concealed!