Our faith-community has been having a good time discussing the Songs of Ascent (Psalm 120 to 134) at our weekly gatherings. I wish I had more time to post thoughts about these wonderful Psalms.
One thing that struck me last night as Mark facilitated our discussion around Psalm 124 was the phrase “Maker of Heaven and Earth.” It’s the second encounter with this phrase in the Songs of Ascent and it made me wonder about what the Psalmist is affirming with this title.
In the two occurrences so far (Psalm 121:2 and Psalm 124:8) the context has been Yahweh’s covenantal faithfulness expressed by his help and rescue. The first occurrence is in the individual’s prayer, “My help comes from Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth,” and the second occurrence is the corporate prayer, “Our help is in the name of Yahweh, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
So the phrase seems to affirm four things: First, it affirms Yahweh’s power in creation. He is the Creator and is therefore thoroughly capable to rescue his people in whatever need they find themselves.
Second, it affirms Yahweh’s Lordship over creation. He has made the realms of heaven and earth. As the Creator, he is creation’s Lord. Therefore, everything must answer to him and he is capable to set everything in creation right again
Third, it affirms Yahweh’s intentions for creation. Earth is not a mistake while heaven is our ultimate destination. God has made both dimensions — heaven and earth. In fact, both form the one reality called creation, which is designed to be a growing expression of God’s goodness. And while the earthly dimension has become disjointed and mostly divorced from the heavenly dimension and while we live with those consequences, earth is still an important part of God’s good creation. In fact, the final vision in the Book of Revelation reveals the ultimate “marriage” or rejoining of these two dimensions.
Fourth, it affirms Yahweh’s covenantal faithfulness. As creation’s Creator, he has intimately bound himself to creation and its journey to his final designs for it. He is not an impartial spectator, but like a Father, he is directly involved in creation’s growth, even through its rebellion and brokenness. Therefore, we can trust God not only to be faithful to his creation, but also to the covenant he has established with people. He is a covenant God, faithful to his promises to his creation and to his people, who live in the midst of a currently broken creation. He is faithful and will bring both humanity and creation out of their long exiles in sin and brokenness.
Paul will later expound upon God’s covenantal faithfulness, ultimately revealed in Christ:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”