Psalm 74-76The Message (MSG)
An Asaph Psalm
74 You walked off and left us, and never looked back.
2-3 Refresh your memory of us—you bought us a long time ago.
4-8 While your people were at worship, your enemies barged in,
9-17 There’s not a sign or symbol of God in sight,
18-21 Mark and remember, God, all the enemy
22-23 On your feet, O God—
An Asaph Psalm
75 We thank you, God, we thank you—
2-4 You say, “I’m calling this meeting to order,
5-6 Don’t raise your fist against High God.
7-8 God rules: he brings this one down to his knees,
9-10 And I’m telling the story of God Eternal,
An Asaph Psalm
76 1-3 God is well-known in Judah;
4-6 Oh, how bright you shine!
7-10 Fierce you are, and fearsome!
11-12 Do for God what you said you’d do—
Romans 9:16-33The Message (MSG)
14-18 Is that grounds for complaining that God is unfair? Not so fast, please. God told Moses, “I’m in charge of mercy. I’m in charge of compassion.” Compassion doesn’t originate in our bleeding hearts or moral sweat, but in God’s mercy. The same point was made when God said to Pharaoh, “I picked you as a bit player in this drama of my salvation power.” All we’re saying is that God has the first word, initiating the action in which we play our part for good or ill.
19 Are you going to object, “So how can God blame us for anything since he’s in charge of everything? If the big decisions are already made, what say do we have in it?”
20-33 Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. Hosea put it well:
I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
Isaiah maintained this same emphasis:
If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered
Isaiah had looked ahead and spoken the truth:
If our powerful God
How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. Isaiah (again!) gives us the metaphor for pulling this together:
Careful! I’ve put a huge stone on the road to Mount Zion,