URC Daily Devotion 13th August

Psalm 10
 

O LORD, why do you stand remote
and stay so far away?
Why do you hide yourself from us
when trouble comes our way?

The wicked in his arrogance
hunts down the weak and poor,
Who in the snares that he has set
are caught and held secure.

About the cravings of his heart
he speaks with boastful word;
He praises people filled with greed
while he reviles the LORD.

The wicked does not seek the LORD
because he is so proud,
And in his inmost thoughts there is
no room at all for God.

His ways are always prosperous;
he strikes a haughty pose.
He keeps his distance from your laws;
he sneers at all his foes.

He reassures himself and says,
“No threat will topple me—
I will be happy evermore;
from trouble I’ll be free.”

The wicked’s mouth is always full
of curses, threats and lies;
Evil and trouble from his tongue
continually arise.

He lies in wait near villages
his victims’ blood to spill;
He lurks in secret ambushes
the innocent to kill.

Like lions crouching secretly
he waits for helpless prey.
He pounces on the weak and poor;
his net drags them away.

His victims by his strength are crushed;
his prey collapse and fall.
He thinks, “God does not notice it;
he does not see at all.”

Arise, LORD God, lift up your hand;
do not forget the poor.
Why does the wicked say of God,
“My conduct he’ll ignore”?

But you, O God, do see such wrong
and you will bring redress.
The victim puts his trust in you;
you help the fatherless.

LORD, break the wicked person’s power
and call him to account
For all the evil which he thought
would never be found out.

The LORD will ever reign as king;
his throne will always stand.
The heathen nations of the world
will perish from his land.

O LORD, the needy ones’ desire
you answer from on high;
You give encouragement to them
and listen to their cry.

For you defend the fatherless
and those who are oppressed,
So that from fear of mortal man
the helpless may have rest.

Here you can hear a Free Church congregation sing this to the lovely tune Glenluce.  The tune St Flavian is also suggested for this Psalm as is the tune Stroudwater.

Reflection

Turning a Blind Eye

Some people have to live with pressures like this all of the time. From neighbours. From nastiness. From crime, corruption or conflict. From greed and graft. From disputes and divisions in the family. From sourness, cynicism and sexism. Because of racism, or rancour, or revenge. We cannot always pick our neighbours or protect ourselves.

So this psalm is a plea and a protest song, calling out from a place of frustration and fear. It starts with the thought that God might have switched off, turned aside and taken a step back. There are people around who are making life a misery. Has God noticed, or is God turning a blind eye? At the very least, God ought to be told about the situation.

‘The wicked’, according to the psalm, are living as atheists. They have decided that God and they can live at a safe distance, neither of them interfering much with the other. God sees nothing, they assume. God is not a reality to reckon with. The world offers them a clear run. They can pick easy targets, and mess their victims’ lives up with impunity. The blind eye is in fact not God’s; it is the wicked who have chosen not to see.

Which is this psalm’s discovery. Talk to God about the trouble, and you start to remember that God does see. God sees far more than the wicked have realised. God remembers, reigns, and responds. The fearful of the earth are noticed, held and loved.

Yet .. it doesn’t always seem to work out that way. So why use a psalm like this, when life sometimes struggles to match the theory? One answer might be that prayer stops us being short-sighted. It helps us to see the situation differently. The shadow side of experience is not life’s last word. A God of cross and resurrection will not rest until justice comes and judgment falls, the hurts of time are healed, and the weak of the earth can live without fear.

Prayer

God of the victim, of the shadows,
    of the world’s griefs, pains and pressures,
    we pray for the places and people
    that feel overlooked.
We ask you to see, to speak, to assure, to strengthen,
    and we pray for the day when justice will reign,
    the weak rejoice,
    and the oppressed stand tall,
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d John Proctor is a member of Emmanuel URC, Cambridge and General Secretary of the URC

Bible Version

 

Sing Psalms! (C) Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank St, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS

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