URC Daily Devotion 4th March

Psalm 37: 1-20

1 Do not fret on account of the wicked,
do not envy the ones who do wrong;
2 For like grass they will very soon wither,
like green plants they will not flourish long.

3 Put your trust in the LORD and be upright;
then secure in the land you will live.
4 Take delight in the LORD above all things—
the desires of your heart he will give.

5 To the LORD let your way be committed;
trust in him—he will do what is right.
6 Then your justice will shine like the morning,
your just cause like the sun in its might.

7 So be silent and seek the LORD’s presence,
and be patient until he replies;
Do not fret when you see the successful,
if their schemes are promoted through lies.

8 Do not fret—it leads only to evil;
keep your temper and stay far from wrath,
9 For the wicked will certainly perish,
while the godly inherit the earth.

10 Yet a while, and the wicked will vanish;
though you search, they will never be found.
11 But the land will belong to the humble,
and their welfare and peace will abound.

12 Though the wicked may strike at the righteous,
and may gnash their teeth wildly in hate;
13 Yet the Lord simply laughs at the wicked,
for he sees the approach of their fate.

14 Though the wicked take aim at the righteous
and attempt to bring down the oppressed,
15 Yet their bow will be broken in pieces,
and their sword will but pierce their own breast.

16 Though the righteous have little, it’s better
than the riches of many unjust;
17 For the wicked’s great strength will be broken,
but the LORD is the righteous one’s trust.

18 Day by day the LORD cares for the blameless,
so their heritage stands ever sure.
19 When a famine comes, they will have plenty;
and in drought they will always endure.

20 But the wicked will certainly perish;
they will vanish, as smoke blows away.
And the foes of the LORD will be scattered,
like the flower of the field in a day.

 

Reflection

The wealth gap between the richest individuals and corporations on the one hand and the rest of humanity on the other is vast, growing and, because of offshore tax havens, almost certainly underestimated.

Facilitated by an economic model written by the rich, backed by a largely supine mainstream media and underwritten by laws that put property rights before human ones, it is easy to resort to either despair or terrorism.

The first part of Psalm 37 cautions against either.  Whether written by David personally or one of his court, it is clear that even a relatively privileged person feels the need to express anger against those richer and more powerful again.

God’s advice is clear: don’t get angry, don’t worry, hold to what is right and trust me – this intolerable situation will not last forever.

But does this mean God wants us to adopt passivity in the face of great oppression and wrongs, just waiting for Him to deal with the matter in His way?

I think not. So what is our role – with God – in these matters?

I find my answer in Luke 1: 46-56 mid way through Mary’s awesome acceptance of her favoured role in building the Kingdom: “he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.”

So, the answer to the conundrum in Psalm 37 is quite simply Jesus: His life, teachings, death and resurrection as lived by the great mass of humanity in faithfulness to the Gospels.

We must combine together to resist the predominant ideas in our society which are set by the rich and the powerful for their own aggrandisement. We must resist them in prayerful thought and deed and at the right time and in the right ways. We must be unafraid to be an army of the saints.

We must become His Way!

 

Prayer

Lord
Let us never fall into despair or needless violence
as we witness to your Way.

In the face of the overwhelming and arrogant
give us the fruits of your grace:
determination not anger.
Confidence not anxiety;
holding onto what is right,
not what is merely expedient
and a total trust in your revolutionary love for the poor.

Let us be your confident agents
and turn this world the right away round
fit for the Kingdom.
Amen

Today’s Writer

Paul Simon, Elder, Hadleigh URC, Suffolk.

Bible Version

 

New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 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

Copyright © 2018 United Reformed Church, All rights reserved.

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