URC Daily Devotion 9th July

Psalm 5
 

O LORD, give ear to what I say;
think on me as I sigh,
And listen, O my King and God,
As I plead earnestly for help,
because to you I cry.

At dawning of the day, O LORD,
you listen to my plea;
As morning light returns again,
I lay before you my requests
and wait expectantly.

For you are not a God who will
in evil take delight;
With you the wicked cannot dwell,
Nor can the proud and boastful stay
one moment in your sight.

You hate all those who practise wrong,
and liars you destroy.
These are the ones the LORD abhors—
All who go thirsting after blood
and who deceit employ.

But by your mercy and your grace
to your house I’ll draw near;
I will bow down in reverence
Towards your holy temple, LORD,
and worship you in fear.

LORD, lead me in your righteousness
or I will go astray
Because of all my enemies;
Make straight the path in front of me,
and guide me in your way.

No word that issues from their mouth
can anyone believe;
Destructive thoughts control their heart.
Their throat is like an open grave;
their tongue speaks to deceive.

O God, declare their guilt; let them
by their own schemes be caught.
Expel them from your presence, LORD,
For in committing many sins
rebellion they have wrought.

But let all those who flee to you
rejoice with confidence;
Let them at all times sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them
and be their strong defence.

So those who truly love your name
will give a joyful shout.
Surely you bless the righteous, LORD;
Your favour keeps them safe from harm
and shields them round about.

You can hear a congregation sing this to the haunting tune Binney here.  It can also be sung to the tune Orlington which you can hear here.

Reflection

Prayer is a passionately engaged activity. It was Peter who taught me that many years ago. Peter suffered with schizophrenia  and during his homeless years marched from London to the town in which I then lived. He said that as he marched, prayers were squeezed out of him like toothpaste. ‘Not your churchy prayers’ he said. Ever since, I have wondered about the prayers of a desperate heart.

Thus here in the psalmist’s cry, we are reminded of the persevering, trusting call of the human pilgrim to the God of moral purpose. As day dawns, the psalmist cries out for God to vindicate himself. Despite that very human experience of seeing wrong flourish in many different ways whilst the innocent suffer, the cry is still uttered God save the people, Lord, not crowns and thrones but people.

Whilst the destruction of liars and wrongdoers, may not echo the tones of forgiveness, it may be understandable in less insulated contexts in which brutality seems set to triumph amid a smokescreen of lies and half truths.

Prayer

Lord of all,
quicken within me
a longing to see your kingdom come
in the many places which you draw to my attention.
Help me to pray with patience and perseverance,
in the sure knowledge that you will hear and answer.
I rejoice in you
to whom the world looks in hope.
Amen

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Richard Church is the Deputy General Secretary (Discipleship) and a member of Islington URC.

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved

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