This psalm, to me, is a very interesting one. One of our Bibles subtitles it, “Announcement of the Messiah’s Reign.” The beginning is filled with promises of triumph, beauty, and transformation; yet then it goes on to describe God executing rulers of nations and judging in his holy wrath.
This seemed to me a very bizarre reading for Advent. I had always associated Advent with promise, new life, and joy. How could wrath and destruction possibly fit into that picture? What could David have been thinking, putting two such seemingly opposite images in the same psalm? After thinking about this, I remembered something that my mother said to me, that we are unable to truly live in God until we have died to ourselves. Perhaps the death portrayed is a metaphysical one.
After thinking more on this I realized what I was doing. I was trying to fit God into a preconceived box, one that allowed him to be very neat and operate according to how I thought he should. I did not want his reign to be one that required messiness. God is not supposed to be messy. Or is he?
Jesus chose to be born to Mary, a woman who was not, at the time of his conception, married. He chose to be born in a stable, among animals and straw and filth. He chose to be raised in a town which people thought no good would ever come out of. Jesus chose a messy life, and I realized I was falling into the same trap people fell into then. I could not see the Messiah operating in any other way than mine. So let us in this season of Advent celebrate the new creation and beauty that we find in and through Christ. And let us realize that it does not matter if our lives are messy. As C.S. Lewis wrote of Aslan, “He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion.” Yet Lewis adds, “But he is good.” So too, let us remember our God is not a tame god, but he is good.
- Alex Davenport