URC Daily Devotion 26th November 2017

Psalm 25

To you, O LORD, I lift my soul;
I trust in you continually.
Do not let me be put to shame,
Nor let my foes gloat over me.

No one who sets his hope in you
Will ever suffer such disgrace,
But those who act with treachery
Humiliating shame will face.

O LORD, reveal to me your ways,
And all your paths help me to know.
Direct and guide me in your truth;
Instruct me in the way to go.

You are my Saviour and my God;
All day I hope in you alone.
Remember, LORD, your love and grace
Which from past ages you have shown.

Do not recall my sins of youth
Or my rebellious, evil ways;
Remember me in your great love,
For you, O LORD, are good always.

Because the LORD is just and good,
He shows his paths to all who stray.
He guides the meek in what is right
And teaches them his holy way.

To those who keep his covenant laws
He shows his love consistently.
For your name’s sake, O LORD my God,
Forgive my great iniquity.

Who, then, are those who fear the LORD?
He’ll teach to them the chosen way
That they may prosper all their life;
Their children in the land will stay.

God’s friends are those who fear his name;
With them his cov’nant he will share.
My eyes are always on the LORD;
He’ll free my feet from every snare.

Turn to me, LORD, show me your grace;
I suffer pain and loneliness.
The troubles of my heart have grown;
Deliver me from my distress.

Look on my pain and suffering;
Forgive all my iniquity.
See how my foes have multiplied,
How fierce their hatred is for me!

O guard my life and rescue me,
And let me not be put to shame;
For I take refuge in you, LORD,
From those who would destroy my name.

Because I hope in you alone,
Let uprightness protect me still.
From all their troubles, O my God,
Redeem your people Israel.

You can hear a Free Church congregation sing this to the tune Finnart here (from the fourth stanza)

Reflection

The Psalm is a prayer of confidence in the activity of God in a person’s life. It is perhaps possible to imagine the Psalmist reflecting back over a period of time, thinking about the events of his life and his sense of the presence, and absence, of God during the passage of time. God as teacher and the One who forgives are prominent themes throughout the Psalm and although the Psalm narrates a deeply personal faith experience, the Psalmist concludes by looking outwards to his community and asks for salvation for Israel.  We get a sense that it is important to the Psalmist that he does not ‘let God down’ and the opening and closing of the Psalm reinforce the importance of trust and hope in God.

I suspect that many of us will have had similar faith experiences to the Psalmist.  If we stop to reflect there will have been times when we are keenly aware of God’s presence and times when we feel God is absent. We will have shared that sense of not wanting to ‘let God down’, but will also know there are many times when we have done just that and we have asked for forgiveness. Throughout our faith journeys have trust and hope been the dominant motifs?

As part of a recent sabbatical I did a mindfulness course. Although a secular course I found it to be an enriching part of my own spirituality and I am continuing to practise mindfulness as a spiritual discipline. Those who use it from a faith perspective often use the silence in a way similar to the Psalmist, to reflect upon life’s experiences and notice the dominant themes in life. An image which frequently comes in my experience is of being securely held by the love of God, just as a coracle holds a person safe while being buffeted by the wind and waves.

Whatever this day has in store for you, why not follow the example of the psalmist and take time to stop and reflect on your own faith experience, thanking God for God’s presence in your life and noticing the importance of trust and hope?

 

Prayer

O God in the quietness
of these few minutes
Help me to still my body,
mind and soul
and consciously turn to you.
May I be open to your presence in my life;
may I feel your love holding me
in this present moment;
and may trust and hope
guide me all my future days.

Today’s Writer

The Rev’d Lindsey Sanderson is minister of the  East Kilbride and Hamilton Joint Pastorate in the National Synod of Scotland.

Bible Version

 

Psalmody and Praise Committee, Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS.

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