A WEEKLY WALK THROUGH THE PSALMS
There are many times during life when people, even nations, find themselves in circumstances where they feel unable to cope. Overwhelmed by the situation, it is so easy to want to give up and get away. That is what others were telling this psalmist: “Flee like a bird to the mountains.” Take flight; run away; quit – that is the advice he is receiving. But the psalmist rejects this plan of action: “How can you say this to me!?” To their fainthearted faithless advice, the psalmist says: “In the Lord I take refuge.” To quit the struggle would mean a lack of faith. So where others see only trouble and difficulty, the psalmists see the Lord. This is a psalm of trust.
When we are faced with lions at the door and are tempted to doubt whether God is there to help, when we are inclined to say ‘I can do nothing about this so what is the use in trying’, we can do the only thing we can do which is to return to and rely on our most basic faith which believes: “The Lord is in His temple”. We can believe that God is in the world. This psalmist would encourage us to hold fast to the truth we know – and wait. It would be interesting to count how often the encouragement to wait is given in scripture. To wait patiently is often what we are asked to do, but it is not easy to do. Even as we wait, we are called, at the very least, to hang in there. Good soldiers, while waiting for reinforcements, still hold their positions – maybe even try to advance. They are able to do that because they wait in confidence that help is on the way. Otherwise, they might as well surrender and give in.
The psalmist believes the Lord is not asleep nor is the Lord indifferent to what is going on. “His eyes behold” – and the Lord hates what he sees in the violence of the world. “What can the righteous do?” Some would say ‘nothing’. But the answer of faith suggests otherwise. These are the times that try one’s faith. Difficulties challenge us to consider what we believe about our God. Having been challenged, it is hoped that we can come to the same conclusion that the psalmist arrived at: “The Lord is righteous, he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.” Maybe we can end where the psalmist began: “In the Lord I take refuge.”
PRAYER: O God our refuge, bring an end to violence among nations and peoples, and shelter those who take refuge in you. When the foundations are being shaken, give us a sure confidence that you will uphold us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.