DO NOT BOAST
1 We give thanks to you, O God;
we give thanks; your name is near.
People tell of your wondrous deeds.
2 At the set time that I appoint,
I will judge with equity.
3 When the earth totters, with all its inhabitants,
it is I who keep its pillars steady. Selah
4 I say to the boastful, “Do not boast,”
and to the wicked, “Do not lift up your horn;
5 do not lift up your horn on high
or speak with insolent neck.”
6 For not from the east or from the west
and not from the wilderness comes lifting up,
7 but it is God who executes judgment,
putting down one and lifting up another.
8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup
with foaming wine, well mixed;
he will pour a draught from it,
and all the wicked of the earth
shall drain it down to the dregs.
9 But I will rejoice[a] forever;
I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
10 All the horns of the wicked I will cut off,
but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.
I had to go to the experts to understand this psalm. And I found out that this is not really a song of thanksgiving. Even though it starts with thanks to God, it is instead a warning against boasting. (God judges with truth and equity–so be careful not to be boastful.) The commentators also remind us that “ horn is an ideogram for power.” The wicked who lift up the horn shall be ready to see it cut off.
Like I overhear from Tim McGraw every so often on the radio in my truck, here’s a reminder to be humble and kind, rather than boastful and mean. I need to listen.
God of wonderous deeds, remind me to understand my place in the world. Let me trust you to be the judge and enforcer of righteousness. And let me lift my praise to you rather and my perceived power. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.