A Meditation on Psalm 18

Kevin J Youngblood

 He brought me out into a broad place;

he rescued me, because he delighted in me.

(Psalm 18:19)

At the end of a rather detailed description of a near death experience from which God delivered him, David concludes with the words “he brought me into a broad place.” It occurred to me as I read these words this morning that this probably strikes most modern readers as an odd conclusion to such a passionate, majestic outburst of praise for a remarkable, last minute divine rescue. In fact, it can seem down right anticlimactic, especially for an agoraphobe. What is so special about YHWH’s deliverance culminating in a wide, open space?


A Meditation on Romans 2 : 12-16

Kevin J Youngblood

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (Romans 2:12-16)

Ever since Martin Luther, a number of Christians have sensed a conflict between Paul and James regarding the place of good works in the Christian life. Often pitting Romans and Galatians against James and vice versa Christians have divided into various camps over the issue of how to understand the relationship between grace, faith, and works.


A Meditation on Matthew 17 : 24-28

Kevin J Youngblood

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?” 25 He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?” 26 And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free. 27 However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel.7 Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” (Matt 17:24-27)

What a curious vignette we find in Matt 17:24-27. The incident is recorded only in Matthew’s gospel and, unlike any other miracle story related by Matthew, gives no indication as to whether or not the miracle actually occurred. The amount Jesus tells Peter to extract from the fish is only enough to pay for himself and Peter. What about the other 11 apostles?


A Meditation on Psalm 78

Kevin J Youngblood

Yet they sinned still more against him, rebelling against the Most High in the desert.

18 They tested God in their heart by demanding the food they craved.

19 They spoke against God, saying, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?

20 He struck the rock so that water gushed out and streams overflowed.

Can he also give bread or provide meat for his people?”

(Psalm 78:17-20)

Psalm 78 recounts a time when Israel raised the very question that many are asking today, “Can God spread a table in the wilderness?” With prices skyrocketing in grocery stores everywhere and parents struggling to even find, much less buy, baby formula for their infants, we find ourselves panicking like Israel in the desert and questioning God’s ability to provide even our basic life necessities.


A Meditation on Revelation 19

Kevin J Youngblood

Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,

for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.

(Revelation 19:7-8)

“The bride has made herself ready,” says John. This is the first of four references to the bride of Christ in Revelation. The others are found in 19:7; 21:2, 9; and 22:17. This first mention of Christ’s bride is ambiguous. Little in the immediate context helps us identify precisely who this bride is. The prophetic tradition of the OT would suggest that it is a reference to the people of God. As we come to the later references, however, we get the impression that the bride is more than just the people of God, it is the divine city itself – the New Jerusalem, the New Creation, the New Heaven and New Earth. This certainly includes the people of God but cannot be limited to them. The Lamb joins in holy matrimony with all creation.

This is probably hard for us to imagine without sufficient reflection on the rich OT background of this imagery.


A Meditation on Psalm 107

Kevin J Youngblood

He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.

36 And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in;

37 they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.

38 By his blessing they multiply greatly, and he does not let their livestock diminish.

39 When they are diminished and brought low through oppression, evil, and sorrow,

40 he pours contempt on princes and makes them wander in trackless wastes;

41 but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.

42 The upright see it and are glad, and all wickedness shuts its mouth.

43 Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

The closing line of Psalm 107 is a sobering admonition to those who consider themselves wise or who want to be wise to pay special attention to the way YHWH rectifies this world’s inequities. According to the psalmist, this is a function of YHWH’s hesed (boundless mercy, fiercely protective love).

It is a well-known fact that those who lack power are often forced to take the “leftovers” in this world and the “leftovers” are almost never enough in and of themselves to live on.