by Christopher Harbin

Celebrating The Transforming God
Christopher B. Harbin
Psalm 80:1-7, 19

We yearn for transformation, yet we don't like change. We earnestly desire change, even while we seek comfort, safety, and solace from the constant streams of life around us. Change is a good thing. That which is new catches our attention. That which is of an older age gets our attention. In so many ways, our very bodies yearn for change and transformation. To the biologist, change is a major ingredient in the definition of life, and yet change causes stress. It calls for response, for reaction, for growth, for understanding, for curiosity, imagination, and adjustment. Change invokes a response of fear and uncertainty. How can we celebrate the God of transformation, the God of all things new, the unchanging God of eternity, while we struggle with change as a threat to the security of the known?

The psalmist invoked the ear of the Almighty on the basis of all God had done for the people of Israel. He gave attention to God's character as shepherd and guardian of Israel. He recalled the majesty of God's sovereignty among the cherubim of heaven. He called for God's presence on earth among the people of Israel, the tribes facing difficulty in the face of their enemies, even enemies within the larger circle of Israelite tribes. He cried out for release from oppression. He called for a transformation in the reality of their national existence. He understood the greatest threat the nation faced to be from their political enemies. That's where the problems started.

Change would have been very good for Israel in the context they were experiencing. Their situation was difficult. They faced oppression from foreign powers. They faced opposition and political struggle within the bounds of Israel. They yearned for the struggle to end. They desperately sought a way out of the conflict all around. They cried out to God in the words of the psalmist for release.

God was listeni ...

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