Surely the LORD is good to Israèl, To those who in their hearts are true and pure. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; My foothold had become quite insecure.
For when I saw the wicked prospering, I envied them their arrogant success. They keep their bodies healthy, fit and strong; They do not have to struggle with distress.
They are not plagued by human weaknesses; From burdens common to mankind they’re free. They therefore clothe themselves with violence; Pride is their necklace, flaunted shamelessly.
Their callous hearts pour out iniquity; The follies of their minds are limitless. They scoff, and in malicious tones they speak; In arrogance they threaten to oppress.
Their mouths lay claim to ownership of heaven; With words they take control of many lands. Therefore their people always turn to them And get abundant waters from their hands.
This can be sung to any Common Meter tune. Kilmarnock is recommended by the editors of Sing Psalms as is Wetherby which is sung here by a Free Church of Scotland congregation.
Hopefully reading the first ten verses of this Psalm will encourage you to read the next eighteen!
The writer gives us one verse of assurance, one of insecurity, and then eight of envy. But, if you read on, the writer is drawn close to God through a visit to the Temple and the Psalm ends, as it begins, declaring the blessing of God.
The sentiment the Psalmist describes is ever with people of faith. The challenge of living a faithful life, and the sacrifice that entails, when it seems that everyone is effortlessly better off whilst giving God no mind at all.
In our comparatively tolerant and prosperous society we can find ourselves nodding along to the Psalmist’s words – but how totally heartbreaking it must be for those who live out their faith in the face of persecution and harassment.
The challenges we face in the UK are apathy, incomprehension, and being indiscernible. Often we are hidden in the background of everyday life, and are only brought to mind as a historically quaint anecdote or in the face of major life events.
But we can hold on to the words of assurance we hear later in the Psalm where within the activity of religious life people can be drawn closer to God. It is in these possibilities that we can find our sure-footing.
Eternal Father, in the struggles of life and faith you are with us; offering not a magic wand to generate faith but, instead, knowledge of you. You challenge us to follow your ways, explore your Word and your World, as, through prayer and praise, we draw closer to you. We give thanks for regular worship, quiet service to others, the challenges presented and for the quiet accompaniment in the face of life’s hardest times. Amen
The Rev’d David Coaker, minister of Grays URC and a chaplain to the Moderators of General Assembly.
If today’s Daily Devotion is not showing on your church’s website, this will have affected all church websites using this feed in the same way. Our volunteer technical team are probably aware of the issue and will be working to fix it as soon as they are able. Thank you.