Posted by: Pauline | June 16, 2013

Scriptures for Sunday June 23

Psalm 42

There are differing opinions on when this psalm was written (some say by King David, others that it dates from the exile in Babylon). But what is clear is that the psalmist feels far from God.

Whether in David’s time or the exile, the temple in Jerusalem was seen as the place of God’s presence, and to be far from Jerusalem was to be far from God. Based on verse 6, the psalmist may have been on Mount Hermon, which could account for the reference to waterfalls in the next verse.

The psalmist seems to go back and forth between hope in God’s steadfast love, and the sadness and turmoil of his soul due to his presence circumstances. It’s important to remind ourselves of God’s goodness, especially in difficult times, but we don’t usually rebound with just one such reminder. Over and over, we remember to hope in God, and over time we regain the joy and sense of His presence in our lives.

Luke 8:26-39

This story takes place in Gentile territory, which we know both from its geography and from the fact that the people of the area herded pigs. In that time, spiritual power was often thought to be limited by geography, with each god having power in a particular area.

But Jesus shows here that he has power of evil spirits no matter where he goes. The evil spirits know this also, telling him their name (which was seen as giving him power over them), and submitting to one whose power is greater than theirs.

The people who come to see what has happened must recognize Jesus’ power also, when they see the dramatic change in the former demoniac, now clothed and clearly in his right mind. But their reaction to such obvious power is fear – who knows what such a man could do, beyond destroying their livestock?

The healed man has no such fear. Despite the unwelcome reception Jesus was given by his community, he goes around telling anyone who will listen what a wonderful thing Jesus has done for him.

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