by Kristin Berkey-Abbott
The reading for Sunday, February 14, 2016:
2 Samuel 22: 1-15
Tradition tells us that David wrote many of the Psalms, but modern scholars don't all agree on which ones, or even that David wrote them at all. In this passage, we see why King David has come to be associated with so many of the Psalms.
One of the common themes of the Psalms is that of rescue from the wicked, from one's individual enemies, and from society's collective enemies. We see that fierce image of God here, and that fierceness winds its way through the Psalms. We see God in terms of battle imagery, which makes sense, since David is thanking God for help in battle.
The God in this passage is an angry God, one whom we wouldn't want to be against us. This God takes all the elements of the universe and works a victory. This is a God who comes down to be with us, to battle beside us.
It's a very different version of God than the one we see in Jesus. What a different incarnation story!
We get a sense of that difference in Mary's song of praise to God that we find in Luke 1: 46-55. Mary also sings of a God who does battle, but it's a different kind of battle. Mary sings of a God who raises up the lowly. God unleashes fierceness on the world, but with a very different goal.
In both of these passages, we see God's commitment to the people who are committed to God. It's a mutual relationship. It's a loving relationship.
It is interesting to read these passages in the context of Valentine's Day, which is fast upon us. Look at our secular culture and what messages we get about what true love looks like. At its worst, the message is one of consumerism: we know we are loved by the lusciousness of the box of chocolates, by the rareness of the flowers in the bouquet, by the size of the precious stones.
God offers us a different love. And as we offer our love letters to God, what would we say?