Hello, I’m Daniel Westfall on the channel “Pray with Me”.
Psalm 96 celebrates God’s kingship and says that the kings of the earth worship gods that are not gods at all. These kings must answer to the real God, the one strong enough and wise enough to create a world out of chaos. This God will again exert his creative power by judging the nations righteously and fairly, deposing the kings of earth.
We share the poet’s great religious and political hope, that one day God will set the world right–economically, socially, racially, politically.
James Dobson, founder and former head of Focus on the Family, was shocked and disappointed at President Trump’s defeat in the US election. In a post-election newsletter, he wrote that millions of evangelicals prayed Trump would be re-elected. He couldn’t understand why God didn’t answer their prayer. How could God let the presidency be overrun by the most leftist regime in American history, he asked. (https://www.drjamesdobson.org/newsletters/november-newsletter-2020).
Then Dobson says, quoting from his book When God Doesn’t Make Sense: “We must never forget that [God] is God. He is majestic and holy and sovereign. . . . He is not an errand boy who chases the assignments we dole out. He is not a genie who pops out of the bottle to satisfy our whims. He is not our servant—we are His. And our reason for existence is to glorify and honor Him . . . even when nothing makes sense” (ibid.).
We may not agree with Dobson’s politics, but his description of God’s greatness mirrors Psalm 96. God is king of the nations, even when he doesn’t support our political candidates or answer our political prayers, even when evil and injustice carry the day. As Christians we pray that God will protect and guide our country, but that is secondary to the larger prayer Christ taught us: “Your kingdom come, God. Your will be done.”
Our father, the poet tells us
You will judge the world in righteousness,
and the people in faithfulness (v. 13).
We point out to you some of the poorest nations in the world who need a righteous and faithful judge, an honest king.
Sierra Leone is still suffering the effects of a decade-long civil war that destroyed much of the infrastructure, from an ebola epidemic, and from corrupt governments. Liberia, famous for its activity in the nineteenth century slave trade, has suffered civil war and ebola and allegations of government corruption and abusive. In Burundi, where over 80% of the people live by subsistence agriculture, deforestation, soil erosion, climate change, and political instability make their livelihood risky and uncertain. And the list goes on, through Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Niger and Eritrea and South Sudan. O God, with the poet, we ask you to judge the world in righteousness and the people in faithfulness.
We think also of refugees and victims of oppression in Asia. The Myanmar army viciously attacked the Rohingya ethnic population, forcing them to leave their homes and go to refugee camps in Bangladesh. Yemen is engaged in a brutal six-year civil war, with the Houthi ethnic group fighting an international coalition led by Saudi Arabia. The Chinese government oppresses the Uyghur Muslims, suppressing the Islamic religion and indoctrinating the people into Chinese culture and values. In Iraq, home of ancient Babylon where the Israelites were exiled, racial and religious violence have run rampant since the United States deposed Saddam Hussein, but was unable to replace him with a functioning democracy. O God, bring your righteousness and justice to these ancient corners of the world.
Bring it also to North America, where we too wish an end to political posturing, to right wing and left wing populism, to divisiveness and hate in politics and culture. Rule the nations Lord, set the world right.
I’m Daniel on the channel “Pray with Me”.