The preamble to the United States Constitution reads as follows:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[note 1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Structurally, the preamble includes:
- Identity of the authors – “We the People of the United States”.
- Their motivation – “in Order to form a more perfect Union, . . . ”.
- Their affirmation of popular sovereignty – “do ordain and establish. . .”.
For some reason this preamble came to mind this morning while reading through Psalm 79; in particular the last verse which reads:
But we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
will give thanks to you forever;
from generation to generation we will recount your praise. (Psalm 79:13 ESV)
After spending the bulk of the psalm lamenting the destruction, defilement, and humiliation Israel has endured at the hands of the ungodly around them, and then encouraging God to act on behalf of His own reputation as well as His chosen people, this is the verse that closes things out. This verse serves as a reorientation in thinking and a reminder of what they were made to do irrespective of their circumstances.
It was the “we your people” in particular that made the instant connection in my mind (for whatever reason) to the preamble of the constitution. But rather than assuming their national identify (e.g., “we the people of the United States”), the psalmist affirms Israel’s identify of being God’s people, the sheep of His pasture. Rather than asserting the sovereignty of man, the psalmist acknowledges the sovereignty of God. And the motivation and the attitude and action that result, is to give thanks and recount God’s praise forever.
This was a good reminder for me this morning that, as sojourner and an exile in a land that is not my home, my identify is rooted in Christ and is not constrained nor bound by geography. I am not my own. I have been purchased with a price and have been redeemed from slavery to sin and set free to live in humble submission to the Lord.
May we, His people, give thanks to Him forever and may His praise be recounted from generation to generation.