Prepare to Listen. Light a candle as a symbol of hope, the light that is to come. Be still and know God is present and listening.
Prayerfully Read Psalm 18:1-5, 16-19
1 I love you, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my rock in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
so I shall be saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death encompassed me;
the torrents of perdition assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me;
the snares of death confronted me.
16 He reached down from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of mighty waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
and from those who hated me;
for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity;
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place;
he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
According to the introduction to this psalm, it was written by David after the LORD had rescued him from all his enemies, including King Saul. It’s not a lament but a praise psalm, which might have you wondering why I chose it for our reflection today instead of one of the many ‘dark’ psalms. Let me try and explain.
In difficult times, such as we’re experiencing, our faith in God is sorely tested. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it’s good for us. When life gets turned upside down, when the norm disappears, when we discover we’ve more time on our hands than we know what to do with, we’re forced to reflect. This is God-given time to examine what we believe really matters; how deep our faith in Christ goes; how certain our hope in God’s power to deal bountifully with us is. And if we feel a little discouraged, Psalm 18 can encourage and assure us that God is still there for us.
The psalmist had been through hard times that he described with graphic words. He begins, ‘The cords of death encompassed me,’ and then repeats that three times in three different ways (vv 4-5). Notice his four different verbs: encompassed, assailed, entangled, confronted. This pray-er knew what it meant to suffer and knew how to express it in prayer. But, by the time this psalm was written the struggle was past. God, writes the pray-er, ‘reached down from on high, he took me.’ God brought him out into a broad place; the Lord delivered him, because, claims the pray-er, ‘he delighted in me.’
In the midst of struggle and darkness it’s hard for us to say, ‘God delighted in me.’ I doubt David could as he ran for his life from his enemy Saul. But, David’s prayer reminds us that the day will come when we’ll say God ‘brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.’ Even if today we struggle to even imagine that.
What terms would you use to symbolically describe your experience at this moment in the pandemic? Be assured that the day will come when you too will claim, ‘God delighted in me.’
Respond to Jesus
I love you, O LORD, my strength. You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer in whom I take refuge from the storm of the fallout from this pandemic. I call upon you the Lord because you’re worthy to praised because you can and will save me, in your way and in your time from this enemy and because you delighted in me. Amen.