URC Daily Devotion 20th August

Psalm 11
 

I find my refuge in the LORD;
How is it then you say to me,
“Make your escape and like a bird
For refuge to your mountain flee.

“For look, the wicked bend their bows,
And on the string they set their dart;
From shadows dark they aim and shoot
At those who are upright in heart.

“If the foundations are destroyed
And all around there is decay,
Whatever can the righteous do,
Surrounded by such disarray?”

The LORD is in his holy place;
The LORD is on his heavenly throne.
His eyes observe the human race,
And in his sight each one is known.

The LORD examines all the just,
The righteous ones he proves and tests;
But all those who love wickedness
And violence his soul detests.

Upon the wicked he will rain
His fiery coals and sulphur hot;
A scorching wind will beat on them—
Such punishment will be their lot.

For God the LORD is righteous still,
In righteousness he takes delight;
And they alone will see his face
Who are in heart and life upright.

The Free Church suggest setting this to the haunting tune Rockingham.

Reflection

“…How is it then you say to me, “Make your escape and like a bird for refuge to your mountain flee. For look, the wicked bend their bows, and on the string they set their dart; from shadows dark they aim and shoot at those who are upright in heart.”  There is no escape for the person voicing this psalm. There is nowhere to run to. Even traveling in darkness, there is no way of fleeing without being fatally attacked. No escape.
 

  • No escape today… I think on people who at times feel clapped in the irons of mental illness, and others
  • held in humiliating stocks of poverty
  • No escape… I think of people bound tight by the fear of abuse, or stripped by horrors of war
  • No escape… I think of people boxed in by lack of self-confidence, or imprisoned by loneliness or anxiety
  • No escape… I think of our planet raped by human greed
  • No escape… from my dark fears and destructiveness

 
As one who knows the experience of having no escape, the Psalmist says “In the Lord, I take refuge.” The Psalmist cannot escape “the wicked” (who and whatever that represents) but the Lord is her/his refuge. In the midst of despair and fear, God holds hope and love alive for the psalmist, for all life.
 
This Psalm reminds me of a prayer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who could not escape the concentration camp or the horrific effects of the Nazi regime, but who found refuge in God in the midst of it. May his prayer offer refuge, hope and direction, to all who feel there is no escape.

Prayer

“In me there is darkness,
But with You there is light;
I am lonely, but You do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help;
I am restless, but with You there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with You there is patience;
I do not understand Your ways,
But You know the way for me.”
“Lord Jesus Christ,
 
You were poor
And in distress, a captive and forsaken as I am.
You know all human troubles;
You abide with me
When all people fail me;
You remember and seek me;
 
It is Your will that I should know You
 
And turn to You.
Lord, I hear Your call and follow;
Help me.”
 
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Fiona Bennett is  minister of Augustine United Church in Edinburgh.

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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