Protect me, O my God; you are my refuge true. I said, “You are my Lord: I have no good apart from you.”
The godly in the land, for holiness renowned— They are the glorious ones, in whom all my delight is found.
Their sorrows will increase who on false gods rely. I will not sacrifice to them; their worship I defy.
O LORD, you are to me my cup and portion sure; The share that is assigned to me you guard and keep secure.
The land allotted me is in a pleasant site; And surely my inheritance to me is a delight.
I’ll praise the LORD my God, whose counsel guides my choice; And even in the night, my heart recalls instruction’s voice.
Before me constantly I set the LORD alone. Because he is at my right hand I’ll not be overthrown.
Therefore my heart is glad; my tongue with joy will sing. My body too will rest secure in hope unwavering.
For you will not allow my soul in death to stay, Nor will you leave your Holy One to see the tomb’s decay.
You have made known to me the path of life divine. Bliss shall I know at your right hand; joy from your face will shine.
You can hear a recording of Free Church youth singing this, from v8, hereto the rather haunting tune Golden HIll and here to the tune Old 134th.
These words, traditionally thought to be penned by David, enable us to see how God works, providing us with the deep reassurance of his presence and security in every phase of life. Thus we are able to trust him to see us through every situation which comes across our path. It describes situations which are familiar to us all, as well as the unchanging promises of a God who is there for us, come what may, however things may turn out.
Throughout these words, David portrays that wherever he is, whatever he is going through, underpinning the whole experience is the incredible truth that his life has been planned. Consequently, what he is experiencing is the plan and purpose of God which has personally been mapped out in love for him.
This can hopefully be reassuring to us as well, but how often in our modern day life do we sense perhaps things which we can’t quite equate with a God of love? How can certain things be explained? Perhaps if we look more closely we might actually realise that in fact it is the Lord Himself who is personally meant to be our portion in life, rather than any set of individual circumstances. He is the one upon whom we should be focussing, rather than those things which may be occurring around about us. God is also described as our cup, our adequate sustenance at all times, the one whom Jesus said that when we drank from Him we would never thirst again.
The number of blessings which God promises to us in this Psalm just seem to be endless, and could be the basis of a lengthy sermon in itself. However, the last verse perhaps says it all in these days when life is so centred on experiences, pleasures and thrills. God is the one who alone can provide us with the one true, dependable path of life. His presence alone can give us the fullness of joy, which Nehemiah quotes as being our strength.
This is so different to the happiness and thrills which society tries to thrust down our throats. Happenings promote happiness, which in itself is short-lived, here today, but gone by tomorrow. Only the deep-seated joy which God gives us as we walk with Him can be our eternal experience and the only place where we can find the life which never fades or dies, but goes on for time and for eternity.
God our Heavenly Father, silently planning in love for us, help us to walk more closely with you.
May our eyes look to you and to you alone that our focus may be upon you, and not just for what we might get out of knowing you.
Help us to live in the knowledge of your divine purposes, and even when the shadows and dark moments come, experience your eternal security in and through our lives, for you alone are God and our trust is in you.
Verena Walder is a Lay Preacher and serving elder at Tabernacle URC, Mumbles, in South Wales.
Sing Psalms (C) Psalmody and Praise Committee Free Church of Scotland, 15 North Bank Street, Edinburgh, EH1 2LS