God is Omnicompetent

Recently I encountered the word, omnicompetent, one who does a wide range of activities.  I’m applying it to psalm 147.   Selected verses formed our entrance psalm. (Introit).

V. 1, “Hallelujah! For it is good to sing Hallelujahs to our God; for he is beautiful, and a song of Hallelujah is fitting.”

Vs. 2-4, God is beautifully omnicompetent.

God is a Builder.  “Yahweh is the builder of Jerusalem.”  In Hebrews 11, Abraham looks forward to God building a more permanent city.

God is a Restorer. “He gathers the outcasts of Israel.”  Those who scattered in exile.

God is a Counselor. “He is the healer of the brokenhearted.”

God is a Physician.  “He bandages their wounds.”

God is a creating Mathematician. “He determines the number of the stars.” God challenged Abraham to count the stars, that would be the number of his offspring.

God knows the stars.  “He gives each star a name.”

God is Lord of the microcosm and the macrocosm.  “Our Lord is great, and his power is great.  There is no limit to his understanding.”  “He gives relief to those oppressed.  He brings wicked people down to the ground.”

V. 10, “His delight is not in the strength of the horse nor his pleasure in the legs of man.”  God is not impressed with our military muscle.  However, …

V. 11, “Yahweh is pleased with those who fear him who wait with hope for his mercy.”

Therefore, “Sing to Yahweh a song of thanksgiving.  Make music to our God with the lyre” …organ, guitar, keyboard and drum, with tambourine and maracas.

When Two Days is Six Days


First of all, we have a burglar in the house and likely you do too.  It’s called a four-color printer.  So, our printer showed that magenta was out of ink.  What is magenta and who uses it?  Apparently, printers suck the stuff up like a drunkard on a binge.  I needed some material to be run off for Friday Bible Class, but the burglar refused to print black unless its magenta was replaced.  I think that is extorsion hostage taking.  I wonder if the printer is owned by Stan Kranke, the fondly remembered, in St. louis, owner of the NFL Rams.

Well Becky ordered ink, magenta, and payed for two-day delivery.  She supposed two days included the day she ordered (Wednesday) and would come Thursday.  I thought that might be a bit hopeful.  It turns out two days begins the day after the order is shipped, that was Friday.  But the two days does not include Saturday and Sunday.  Therefore, we are guaranteed that by 8pm Monday we will have our two-day order delivered six days after it was ordered.

I had better get ready for church where I can confess my sins of THOUGHT along with deeds and words.

What about my material.  I called my neighbor and his wife ran it off.  It turns out their son-in-law advised them to get a black and white only printer.  How smart of them.

Psalm 49 and the Death Shepherd

We are used to hearing of Jesus the Good Shepherd of John 10 and its companion psalm 23, in which we confess “Yahweh, our shepherd leads his flock away from the rushing torrent to quiet waters, where pastures green provides plenty of safe grazing.  His rod protects and his staff draws back the wandering sheep.”

However, our entrance Psalm for Pentecost 8, Aug. 4, presents quite another image.  “Listen to this…open your ears, all who live in the world- common people or important ones, rich and poor.”  The psalmist has discovered that he has no reason to “be afraid in times of trouble when slanderers surround me with evil.”  Nor those who “trust their riches and brag about their abundant wealth.”  No one, no matter how powerful can buy themselves out of death.  “They must always give up their riches.  It will not save them from living forever and ever in the pit.  Even if they have named lands after themselves, whether wise or foolish or stupid everyone meets the same end.” If one follows that path, of foolish self- confidence, “Like sheep they are appointed for Sheol; death will be their shepherd.”

The psalmist is avoiding that path.  He lives in trust that God will ransom him back from the grave.  God, like a shepherd will lead him to a banquet surrounded by God’s goodness and mercy.  Yahweh will not lead him to the house of forever death, but he will live in the Lord’s house for days without end.

All that we said on Sunday as our worship leader prepared to walk to the altar where we would join in giving thanks and praise for the Lord Jesus Christ who is Lord Most High with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father.

When Aimless Violence

This morning we sang a hymn by Wausau, Wi. resident Joy F. Patterson, “When aimless violence takes those we love.”  We sang the hymn as a replacement of the one in the bulletin “Praise the Almighty, my soul adore Him.”   We sang of the darkness of the aimless mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton numbers 249 and 250 in this year of our Lord 2019.   I write today also in the darkness of 9 children who have been shot and killed in St. louis since June.  As we sang the hymn about aimless violence tears welled in my eyes.

I have been wanting to write of the continuing verbal assaults of leaders denigrating people and those who carry out actions decimating people’s lives.  I’m not sure I know what to write.  I could write of thoughts and prayers.  I know what prayers are but I’m not sure about thoughts.  In my understanding, prayers are directed to God but following the prayers we humans need to  act in behalf of the welfare of our neighbor which is all other people on this planet.  It’s God’s will that we prayer, but also God’s will that we serve as his hands in this world.

Let me take you back to some words of Martin Luther that many of us learned as children.  “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body but help and support him every bodily need.”  Luther also wrote, “We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.”

The first stanza of LSB hymn 764 concludes, “When random death strikes childhood’s promise down, when wrenching loss becomes our daily bread, we know, O God, you leave us not alone.”  For that knowing I sing in trust, “Their faithful God He will remain.  He helps His children in distress, the widows and the fatherless.”  Lord, now move us to act in our neighbor’s behalf.

The Girl and Army Commander

My reading this week included a fascinating, humorous and insightful story in 2 Kings 5:1-14. This is one of many stories in which God uses a Jewish person of no standing to affect a grand international outcome.  Joseph, for instance.  Or Jesus.

            A little captured Israelite became a servant to the wife of Naaman the Syrian army commander.  He was a man of valor but had leprosy.  The girl said to her mistress, “If your husband knew the prophet in Samaria, he would cure him.”  Naaman’s wife passed the word along.  The Syrian king said, “go.” He sent a letter to the king of Israel, saying that when Naaman arrives go ahead the cure him.  He also sent 75 lbs. of silver, about 120 lbs. of gold and large wardrobe of clothes.  The king of Israel had a knipchen fit. “Am I God to heal the man?  He’s trying to pick a fight with me.”

Elisha the prophet heard of this matter and said, “Send him to me.”  So Naaman arrived at Elisha’s door with his entourage of horses and chariots.  But Elisha doesn’t even come out to greet Naaman.  He sent a seminarian to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan river seven times.  Well Naaman was furious his rude reception and then wash in the Jordan?  “I thought he’d come out and at least wave his and call on his God.  We’ve got better rivers in Syria, than this piddling Jordan creek.”

But a servant said, “Why not give it try?”  “Ok, I’ll give it try.”  Naaman washed in the Jordan and his skin came out as soft as a baby’s bottom.   When he returned to give Elisha a gift of thanks, Elisha refused.  So, Naaman asked to load two mules with sacks of dirt from Israel, so that when he worshipped in the temple of Rimmon, he could kneel on Israeli soil and worship Yahweh.

Thus God worked his promise to Abraham that through his offspring ,“all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”