But God

December 19, 2021 | Jim Croner

About the author: Jim and his wife, Dana, joined ZPC and were married at ZPC in 1998. They have been blessed with two daughters: Caroline, 21 year old senior at Butler University, and Rachel, 18 year old freshman at IU. Jim has enjoyed a variety of service at ZPC, currently serving on the Greeting Team and working with the Finance Team on Mission Commission.

Today's scripture: Psalm 97:1-12 

During this prolonged pandemic, it seems the trajectory of our future is unclear and even murky at times. It is easy to give into feelings of disappointment or worse, despair when reflecting upon missed celebrations, family parties, vacations, and missed loved ones. “But God" as many powerful sermons have taught us, knows our frailties with our anxieties and yet he doesn’t abandon us. But he loves us still in ways we don’t always recognize. He loves us through the amazing gift of the his Word that give us such powerful promises as found in Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." That promise is so precious that it is quoted again in the Bible some 1300-1400 years later by the author of Hebrews. I can only imagine how many lives were sustained and filled by those precious words over many centuries.

Psalm 97, which is traditionally ascribed to David, was a hymn celebrating God’s rule over all his creation reflecting almighty God’s power and sovereignty over both his chosen people and gentile nations. It has been said that the Old Testament scriptures are God’s autobiography, so it is good to ask "what is God revealing about his character through this psalm?" Unquestionably, his strength and power are unmatched on the earth. The best so called “gods” that we as humans can boast about are so far from almighty God that exalting these “gods” naturally lead only to shame as found in Psalm 97:7. Then later in Psalm 97:10-11, God’s protection with subsequent security gives us assurance of deep life fulfillment and joy as we keep God’s Word. We are encouraged to “hate evil” which is coupled with loving good as almighty God reveals more of who he is and what we need to know about him.

Many Psalms, including Psalm 97, anticipate the reign of the Davidic Messiah with future redemption for all mankind in mind. Messianic themes throughout the Old Testament scriptures are such a comfort since God’s standards for us in seeking righteousness, being upright in heart, hating evil, shunning worthless idols, and loving good can be so intimidating. Feelings of inadequacy may come up when we try to measure up to God’s commandments, just as they probably came up for those in Biblical times. What a blessing and a comfort for Old Testament writers to point to a future Messiah. So as we rest on the promises of our lives being preserved and being delivered from the hand of the wicked, we can rejoice in the Lord!


Heavenly Father,
We praise your mighty hand of protection and care that you so freely give to all. Thank you for all of the wonderful gifts you give us everyday even if we do not recognize you as the originator of all of our gifts. Thank you for the gift of Old Testament scriptures which point us to the ultimate gift of the sacrifice of your Son on this earth. We all praise you!
In Jesus name,