Surprise! The Scriptures once again lead us to discover God to be where we least expect!
One purpose of the psalm in the rhythm of our worship service is as a transition to prepare us to hear the gospel and relate it to the Old Testament reading. Amos attacks both the people's complacency—their confidence that their prosperity testified to the uniqueness of their election—and their arrogant behavior that resulted in sharp economic boundaries between neighbors. Someone once observed, when we draw a line establishing a boundary, God is often to be found on the other side!
And so God is! The psalmist celebrates God's siding with those who are "down-and-out" God works on their behalf, and raises them from the dust and ash heap (literally, from "refuse heap" or "dung hill").
God is on the move and has us on a trajectory that begins with exposure and now turns into an experience of surprise (or is it shock?!).
Triune God, you are the God of death and resurrection. I have been found out! Forgive me, Lord; raise me from the dust and moral refuse-heap to new life. Praise be to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Psalm 113 (NRSV)
1 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 forth and for evermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised!
4 The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the LORD our God, who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down upon the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.
9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the LORD!