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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: One mighty act deserves one mighty telling (Psalm 145:4-5)

Psalm 145:4-5, “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty and I will meditate on your wonderful works.”

Exegesis and Application

David gives this extraordinary recitation of what one “generation” of believers will teach a future “generation” of believers. He creates this wonderful picture of the tying of one “generation” to a future “generation” through the telling of the “great activities of a great God.”  Together, “generation” upon “generation” will make a wonderful record, account, history of God’s dealings with His creation. Each generation will contribute its own chapter to the history of the world.

The Hebrew word for “works” (“maaseh”) here is the same word translated in vss. 11 and 12 as “mighty powers,” “acts,” “signs,” “mighty doings,” “great things” (Egyptian signs: Deut. 11:3, 7). The general thrust of vss. 4-5 is told repeatedly throughout the Scriptures – the present “generation” of believers has an obligation and privilege of passing on to “another generation” the truths of God’s activity in the world (Ex. 12:26-27; Deut. 6:7; Josh. 4:21-24; Ps. 44:1-2; Is. 38:19; etc.).  Look particularly at Ps. 71:16-18 which tells of the high and holy obligation of believers (journalists?) passing on (“make mention,” “proclaim”) to literally, “all who are to come,” their observations and interpretations of God’s “mighty acts” in history. These divine acts will not be ancient history but current events as God works His will in today’s world.

There is an important turn of phrase in 145:5 referring to God’s general revelation and His speaking the world into existence.  The phrase translated in the NIV, “I will meditate on your wonderful works,” in the Hebrew is actually, “I will meditate on the words of your wonderful works.”  The power God gives the word is on display here – a point to be reckoned with by Christian journalists.  The non-physical word is spoken and physical things happen.  The main point here is that God’s creation tells a story to all rational creatures in such a way that no one can plead ignorance. Paul confirms just this in Romans 1 and 2 and in Acts 14:17, because ignorance is no defense before the bar of God (“sins unintentionally”: Lev. 4:2-3).

1) Christian journalist, you must recognize and accept the high calling of recording the activities of God and of man for a watching generation and for a future generation. The journalist writes for the archives as well as for the daily news.

2) Christian journalist, you must realize the power of your words. The old adage, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is utterly and disastrously wrong. Words have the power to create and destroy. Words are weapons and should be thought of as such. Journalists can paint lovely pictures of truth or ugly pictures of falsehood.

3) Christian journalists, as always, look behind the events of the world to discern the hand of God at work. The awesome events of the world are in the control of an awe-inspiring God. Hope and comfort are to be the result of such an understanding.

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