“He raises the poor from the dust”

Saturday

Psalm 113

English: Woman and child in Raisen district (B...

English: Woman and child in Raisen district (Bhil tribe), M.P., India. Français : Femme et enfant dans le district de Raisen (tribu Bhil), M.P., Inde. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.

We react negatively to anything that seems to define a woman through childbearing, but we should not let this hinder us from hearing this sweet word of grace.  Those who have yearned for and been unable to have children know the sorrow that is addressed here.  But more than this grief is carried by these words.

The inability to conceive was regarded like a barren field.  This was not a couple’s problem; it was the woman’s problem.  It left the lingering suspicion that she was under a curse, that she was guilty of some grave sin.  It left her vulnerable, since the relationship of a mother and son was the strongest familial relationship – stronger than the marriage.  The eldest son would inherit a double share of the property, enabling him to care for his widowed mother.  He was her future security that no divorce could break.  And barrenness was cause for divorce.  She could and likely would be dismissed by her husband.  Presumably the woman at the well who had had five husbands had been dismissed by each for such a cause – and was unwelcome at the well in town because she was “cursed.”

The gift of a son is a redemption.  It is the gift of a future.  For a barren woman to be given a home – to become beloved when cast off – and to be blessed with children is no less than the gift of life restored.

God is a god who“raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap.”  God is a god who rescues, saves, restores.  God is a god who gives joy and life and laughter.  He is a home for the homeless, shelter for the exposed, a defender of the weak, a provider for the poor.  He turns five loaves and two fish into a banquet for 5,000.  He turns water into an abundance of wine at a wedding.  He is the bridegroom for whom the earth waits.  He is the dawning of grace.  He is the opening of the grave.

9 He gives the barren woman a home,
making her the joyous mother of children.

Praise the Lord! Praise, O servants of the Lord;
      praise the name of the Lord.
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
      from this time on and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting
      the name of the Lord is to be praised.

 

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