Morning Reflection 2/21/12 – Psalm 7

 Some rights reserved by Nick-K (Nikos Koutoulas)http://biblia.com/bible/nrsv/Ps7

Plea for Help against Persecutors
A Shiggaion of David, which he sang to the Lord concerning Cush, a Benjaminite.

1 O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
2 or like a lion they will tear me apart;
they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.

3 O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
4 if I have repaid my ally with harm
or plundered my foe without cause,
5 then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
trample my life to the ground,
and lay my soul in the dust. Selah

6 Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
7 Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
and over it take your seat 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 O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God.
10 God is my shield,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who has indignation every day.

12 If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and strung his bow;
13 he has prepared his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
14 See how they conceive evil,
and are pregnant with mischief,
and bring forth lies.
15 They make a pit, digging it out,
and fall into the hole that they have made.
16 Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends.

17 I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.

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Where do you turn when the world caves in around you? Maybe you turn to your family, or friends, or maybe you look to yourself? David found his refuge and hope in God. When his enemies were closing in on him, David turned to God. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/21/12 – Psalm 7”

Morning Reflection 2/20/12 – Psalm 6

http://biblia.com/bible/nrsv/Ps6

Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness
To the leader: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
3 My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O Lord—how long?

4 Turn, O Lord, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who can give you praise?

6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eyes waste away because of grief;
they grow weak because of all my foes.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my supplication;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;
they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

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There are times when we have bad days. This Psalm reflects more than a bad day. It is a gut wrenching prayer that strikes at the core of David’s pain, fear, and sadness. Some of us have had seasons of life like this. We know what it is like to soak our pillows with tears. We know what it is like to want the pain to stop. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/20/12 – Psalm 6”

Morning Reflection 2/17/12 – Psalm 5

 

Trust in God for Deliverance from Enemies
To the leader: for the flutes. A Psalm of David.

1    Give ear to my words, O Lord;
give heed to my sighing.
2    Listen to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you I pray.
3    O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I plead my case to you, and watch.

4    For you are not a God who delights in wickedness;
evil will not sojourn with you.
5    The boastful will not stand before your eyes;
you hate all evildoers.
6    You destroy those who speak lies;
the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.

7    But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love,
will enter your house,
I will bow down toward your holy temple
in awe of you.
8    Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness
because of my enemies;
make your way straight before me.

9    For there is no truth in their mouths;
their hearts are destruction;
their throats are open graves;
they flatter with their tongues.
10    Make them bear their guilt, O God;
let them fall by their own counsels;
because of their many transgressions cast them out,
for they have rebelled against you.

11    But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
so that those who love your name may exult in you.
12    For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover them with favor as with a shield.

One of the things I’ve noticed about the Psalm are how earthy and raw they are. David doesn’t hold anything back, but opens his heart to the One he trusts. He cries out to God to deliver him. He knows that there is no way God can be on the side of the wicked and those who lie, boast, flatter, destroy, and rebel. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/17/12 – Psalm 5”

Morning Reflection 2/16/12 – Psalm 4

Confident Plea for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Psalm of David.

 

1 Answer me when I call, O God of my right!

You gave me room when I was in distress.

Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer.

2 How long, you people, shall my honor suffer shame?

How long will you love vain words, and seek after lies? Selah

3 But know that the Lord has set apart the faithful for himself;

the Lord hears when I call to him.

4 When you are disturbed, do not sin;

ponder it on your beds, and be silent. Selah

5 Offer right sacrifices,

and put your trust in the Lord.

6 There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!

Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”

7 You have put gladness in my heart

more than when their grain and wine abound.

8 I will both lie down and sleep in peace;

for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.

via Psalm 4 (NRSV) – Biblia.com.

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There is much good to ponder in this Psalm. David knew what it was like to have enemies.  David was also confident that God heard his prayers. He knew that his enemies would not be victorious. Instead, God would answer.

The time between crying out to God, and feeling that God has answered is uneasy. It is easy to fear and fret. It is also easy to try to take matters into our own hands. Notice what David does here. After he prays, he reflects on what his response should be. Here is how I would list this response: Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/16/12 – Psalm 4”

Morning Reflection 2/15/12–Psalm 3

Psalm 3

1    O Lord, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2    many are saying to me,
“There is no help for you in God.”     Selah

3    But you, O Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, and the one who lifts up my head.
4    I cry aloud to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy hill.     Selah

5    I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, for the Lord sustains me.
6    I am not afraid of ten thousands of people
who have set themselves against me all around.

7    Rise up, O Lord!
Deliver me, O my God!
For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.

8    Deliverance belongs to the Lord;
may your blessing be on your people!  Selah

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When I first started reading the Psalms I was surprised at all the talk of enemies. I had a hard time identifying with this because I try to live in peace with others. I don’t want to have enemies, so I try to not make any. So I wasn’t real sure how all of the “enemy talk” of the Psalms applied to my life.

Maybe you don’t have many enemies. Maybe you do. No matter how hard I try, I still have enemies. They might not have a face, but they do have a name and they are enemies. My tendency to criticize others is an enemy. My tendency to be judgmental and jump to conclusions is another enemy. I have an enemy I call selfishness and it shows up even when I’m trying to love selflessly. I have an enemy I call pride. He shows up quite often.

These are the enemies of holiness and will try to convince me that there’s no hope. They tell me that the way I am is the way I am and there’s nothing I can do to change.. The Psalmist reminds me that God is my shield and when I cry out to him, he answers. Lord, I’m crying out to you today!