Psalm 46:6-7 - The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; [God] utters His voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at LHM.org.
It's a melting hot summer in the animated city of Springfield. Literally, the figures in the city's wax museum are melting. And Homer Simpson is looking for reprieve. But Marge, his wife, tells him that's not what the refrigerator is for. Homer has the tent set up in their kitchen. He's got the fridge door wide open, the tent door open, draped over the fridge. And he invites his whole family into the tent to share the cool air with him. Inside the tent, Marge says, "Homer ... won't this overload the motor?" Just then, the circuits pop and a puff of black smoke rises from the back as the fried fridge motor finally gives out. And Homer says, "Marge, can you set the oven to cold?" (The Simpsons, Season 6, Episode 1). Homer is slow to learn what a refrigerator is for.
The biblical poem known as Psalm 46 raises a similar question—not what a fridge is for, but what people are for, and not for. People, the psalm reminds us, are for sharing life, not for securing it. It doesn't matter how strong or reliable or dependable someone seems. Eventually, people will always "give out" on you. Sometimes predictably, sometimes inexplicably, but inevitably, they will give out. When your dad says your mom isn't the woman she used to be, and he wants to move on; when your mom says she realized she never really loved your dad, and wants to go searching for her soulmate; when the company you trusted goes in a different direction without you; when a best friend stops calling, and you don't know why; when the structures, the governments, and traditions that once promised security start to totter, and the earth melts. But what should we expect? We are fallen and sinful creatures living in a broken, fallen world. We can't rely on anyone or anything in this world for security, any more than we can rely on a fridge for central air. That's not what they're for. So, what are people for? They're for sharing life, not securing it.
Finding security and sharing life are what Psalm 46 is about. Security is not found in a building or a bank account. It's not found in a friend, a family, or political identity. It's not found in an institution, a cultural tradition, or even in a soul mate. Security is found in God alone, through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, who is not "of this world," but came into this world to secure life for us, through His Word—through His life, through His death and resurrection. And this life He gives is to share. It's not for isolated individuals. It's not for me only, but God for us, God with us. God secures our life so that we can share it.
Homer Simpson is an idiot. But he did share his tent. The people that we share life with are sometimes foolish, clueless, and just plain odd. Maybe not to Homer's degree—but, in their own way, they can be like him: ridiculous, selfish, callous, abusive, gullible, insensitive, self-destructive, yet also quotable, relatable, and even lovable. No matter how un-Homer-like we think we are, none of us have the capacity to secure life for ourselves or for anyone else. We will all give out on you. But that's okay. You don't need us to secure you, save you, or make you whole. Jesus has that covered. All that's left for you to do is be still and know that God is God. Then, share—even if all you have is a tent in the kitchen in the melting heat. Just do yourself a favor a keep the fridge door closed.
WE PRAY: Dear God, You have secured my life. Help me share it with others. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour.
1. Read Psalm 46 aloud. Why are the nations raging? What evidence from the psalm would you give to support your answer?
2. Was there a time for you when it felt like the earth "gave way," when the structures, institutions, or people in your life seemed to be collapsing?
3. What would it mean for you today to "be still" and know that God is God?
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