Psalm 29

“May Adonai grant strength to God’s people;
may Adonai bless God’s people with peace.” (29:11)

Strength and peace — These two concepts are rooted in the classic military theory of preventing war (or winning war) through projecting power. No one dares to attack the strong nation, because the weaker nation would face virtually certain defeat. We hope the strongest nation uses its leadership and power for kind and loving purposes. Otherwise, when the powerful begin exercising power for their own enrichment, those around them join together to take down the tyrant. May we be granted the strength to achieve peace and the wisdom to use it for just purposes.

Psalm 11

“Flee, bird to your mountain.” (11:1)

Some birds, like geese, run away when perceived danger approaches. Some, like wild turkeys, will stand in the middle of a road oblivious to the danger posed by approaching cars. Most birds will fly away when a person or a vehicle gets too close. They typically retreat to a place high above the ground where they feel safe. We, however, ought to cultivate the skill of evaluating the potential threat in order to gauge our ability to stand up against it. We, unlike birds, are charged to stand up for justice.