What Do We Know?

A reading for Tuesday, February 23, 2016: Psalm 66:1-7.

What did the Israelite know? What did they think was going to happen out there in the wilderness, escaping from Pharaoh's empire?

They were freed from slavery and oppression. One moment they were under a heavy burden, and the next they were free. Away! Let's go... Moses and Aaron led the march away from all that afflicted them for generations. Imagine the joy and singing. We see it in scripture from Exodus.

But then the path forward was not so clear. Laying ahead of them was desert. No food. No water. Miles after mile of sand and walking. That was ahead of them. Behind them were chariots and an angry empire. Pharaoh had changed his mind and now meant to destroy them... Again, Exodus tells us the story that is the birth of our Christian faith.

What did the Israelites think was going to happen next?

Psalm 66 celebrates the presence of God in the midst of their journey to freedom. They had no idea where they were going or what they were going to do, and yet when they put their sandals on the Red Sea there was firm footing and a path forward. They were saved, not because they knew what was coming next, and not because they were in control, but because they placed their trust in God.

It's the same for us. What do we know? Not that we are all escaping oppression. However, when we set our feet in a new direction with God what do we think is going to happen next? We have to depend on the presence of God to be there showing us the way. We don't control it. We don't even know what's going to happen next sometimes, but we trust that God is ahead of us and behind, on the left and the right. God will show up just as God has in the past and give us a firm place to set our feet.

"Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds among mortals."

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think that I am following Your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please You
does in fact please You.
And I hope that I have that desire
in all that I am doing.

And I know that if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road
although I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust You always,
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death,
I will not fear, for You are ever with me,
and will never leave me
to face my perils alone.

-Thomas Merton


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