Whoa! I actually had a bit of a hard time with today’s psalm…
There weren’t a lot of things jumping out at me as has been the case with previous psalms
Still though… let me stick with the process & tell you a bit about it…
Interested in knowing Why? this series on Psalms…
check out the 1st post.
First thing’s first…
Before I get into today’s psalm, let me take a moment to highlight the best thing that has happened to me on this side of eternity…
Today Liz & I celebrate 25 years of marriage. 🎉
She’s outstanding and I’m a heck of a blessed fella!
1 O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart,
rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
3 O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my friend with evil
or plundered my enemy without cause,
5 let the enemy pursue my soul and overtake it,
and let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my glory in the dust.
6 Arise, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake for me; you have appointed a judgment.
7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered about you;
over it return on high.
8 The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
9 Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
and may you establish the righteous—
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God!
10 My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day.
12 If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and readied his bow;
13 he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil
and is pregnant with mischief
and gives birth to lies.
15 He makes a pit, digging it out,
and falls into the hole that he has made.
16 His mischief returns upon his own head,
and on his own skull his violence descends.
17 I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.
My 3 Thoughts
- v.1 … O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge: That’s a nice thought
- That’s a nice thought, and a very Christian thought, but I had to ask myself: “Is it really the case for me? Do I take refuge in him when things are not going well… or am I more likely to find some sort of distraction… some earthly pleasure to simply take my mind off of my troubles, rather than taking them to him.
- There are a lot of times when I’d have to say… “Guilty!”
- So… a gentle reminder that if he’s really our God… he’s there as a refuge, and sometimes when I’m weary from the battle, it’s because I’ve not sought refuge in the right place.
- Falsely accused: This psalm of David is written as a lament to God in response to someone who, apparently, has falsely or deceitfully accused David of something for which he protests his innocence.
- Rather than try to exact judgement or revenge or lash out… he is taking his petition to God, the only truly just judge. He lays his case out and asks God to judge.
- How many times are we, if not falsely accused, perhaps at least misunderstood. People attribute faulty thinking, faulty actions, faulty responses to us when perhaps they don’t fully understand or have only heard part of the story.
- It’s a reminder that we don’t necessarily need to respond to everything.
- One or the other: During prayer, I was struck by how easily my mind wandered to the various ways in which I’ve felt wronged (whether real or perceived, intentionally or unintentionally). I don’t have an answer and I likely won’t course-correct overnight, but the Lord gave me a couple of gentle reminders:
- If I take matters into my own hands & try to resolve or exact either judgement or retribution… then I’m no longer in the same camp as David, rather, I risk becoming like the ones persecuting him… digging a hole in which I risk falling myself.
- To avoid falling into that group… the my other choice is to retract the proverbial claws and simply take refuge in him… go to him for shelter from the fight, go to him to know as I am known.
- It’s really a question of being one or the other… the one who takes matters into their own hands (potentially making it worse) or the one who takes refuge in God & lets him fight the battle.
Food for Thought…
In light of that last point… it seems like a good place to evoke Reinhold Niebuhr’s serenity prayer:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference.
Thanks for spending a few minutes together today!
If you’re not someone who typically spends time reading the Bible…
would you care to join me over the next couple of weeks?