Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. Psalm 47
How often have you heard people say, ‘Let’s keep politics out of it’ or ‘Religion and politics don’t mix’? If you have been reading these devotionals, or are involved in SCM, you probably have a different take on the way religion and politics intersect and intertwine. It’s true that the two interact in potentially violent and divisive ways. But to separate them is to also do injustice to God’s vision of human society and all creation.
Psalm 47 is an enthronement psalm – a psalm that scholars think was used in the Jewish temple in a ceremony for a king or for God. What it describes is the way God rules as king – an unmistakably political statement from an age before parliaments and democratic processes. That doesn’t mean that God controls everything, but that we can trust that, even despite horrible suffering on earth, God is still providing. What kind of king or ruler is God? From the Bible, a ruler who desires mercy and justice and peace (Micah 6:8) and one who values the least and the forgotten (Deuteronomy 10:18).
God is a ruler we can believe in. As verse 6 puts it, sing praises to God, sing praises!
The question is, can we be a people of this ruler who, with God’s help, can live out this counter-cultural politics?
Being political relates to who we vote for and the decision our elected representatives make on our behalf. But it's also about where our food and veg comes from, where we shop, what we ‘like’ on Facebook, the effect we have on our planet and those around us, and many other ordinary activities. Throughout your day today think about how each action you take could be political.
God of surprises, rule in our lives today, and help us show that your politics are possible even in our world.
Written by Nathan Eddy. Nathan is editor of 'Fresh from the Word: the Bible for a Change'.