Saturday, May 24, 2008

Who is like the Lord Our God?

Theologians speak of God being transcendent ("over all") and immanent ("in all"). To emphasize one over the other is to risk having a caricatured view of God. Psalm 113 presents a nice balance. Verses 4-6 describe God's transcendence ("high above", "seated on high", "looks far down"), verses 7-9 his immanence ("raises the poor", "lifts the needy", "makes", "gives"). The psalmist makes clear the distinction between Creator and creature, even as he praises the LORD for his personal, active involvement in the affairs of men.

Incidentally, Psalm 113 is part of the liturgy for Passover. It's quite possible that this psalm was part of the "hymn" sung by Jesus and the disciples after the Passover meal (see Matt. 26:30 & Mark 14:26).

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