April is poetry month. I’m celebrating by reflecting on a psalm a day. Join me?
1 To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy,
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your most holy sanctuary.
3 Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with the workers of evil,
who speak peace with their neighbors
while evil is in their hearts.
4 Give to them according to their work
and according to the evil of their deeds;
give to them according to the work of their hands;
render them their due reward.
5 Because they do not regard the works of the Lord
or the work of his hands,
he will tear them down and build them up no more.
6 Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.
8 The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.
9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!
Be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Have you ever felt that God was silent? Not that he always talks to you like a person in the room, but your normal feeling of his presence is gone, or you read the Bible and nothing stands out to you. In the beginning of this psalm David is crying out for God to hear him, to respond and not be silent because if he is silent David feels he will die! The good side of going through this feeling is that you realize your need of God and your appreciation of his work in your life. It’s comforting to know that most people feel like this at some point, and that the end of the feeling of alone-ness is usually a learning experience, although I would say not the same lesson for everyone.
David goes on to talk about neighbors who speak peaceably with each other but secretly hate each other. This is so common we have a term for it today: frenemies. But David asks God to give them justice because of their disregard for God (not just their attack on others but their disobedience to God who directs us to love our neighbors).
After naming the problem, David goes on to bless the Lord. Is it that he has given the problem over to the Lord to deal with that lightens his spirits? Because now he returns to exulting in the Lord, to announcing the Lord’s refuge and strength, a saving help for his people. The last line, “be their shepherd and carry them forever” is exactly what God is always saying he wants to do.
All thanks and praise to God!