1 My soul finds rest in God alone; From him comes my salvation sure. 2 My safety, fortress, sheltering rock— In him alone I am secure.
3 How long will you assault a man? Do you all seek to lay him low— This leaning wall, this tottering fence— And bring about his overthrow?
4 They plan his fall from his high place; They take delight in spreading lies. With false and flattering mouths they bless, But in their hearts curse and despise.
5 Find rest, my soul, in God alone; In him my hope is ever sure. 6 My safety, fortress, sheltering rock— In him alone I am secure.
7 My honour and salvation rest On God, my rock and mighty fort. 8 O people, trust in him always; To him alone pour out your heart.
9 The low-born man is but a breath; The high-born man is but a lie. Weighed in a balance, side by side, They come to nothing but a sigh.
10 Do not seek after wealth by force, Or triumph in ill-gotten gain; And even though your goods increase, Set not your heart on what is vain.
11 My God has spoken; I have heard 12 That you are strong and loving, Lord. Each one according to his deeds You will assuredly reward.
You can hear a Free Church of Scotland congregation sing this to the lovely tune Fossebridge here.
Our manse is situated on the side of a hill on the southern side of the Clyde valley. Its location gives a fine view north, and exposure to prevailing westerly winds that a short time before were whistling over the Atlantic.
Looking down from my study window, our garden is surrounded by a fence, which consequent of the winter’s wind, is distinctly ‘tottering’. Looking up from my study window, the vista is over the Clyde valley to the Campsie Fells and Kilpatrick Hills, and on a clear day to distant Ben Lomond; ‘rocks that shelter’ Glasgow cradled below.
‘Tottering fence’ and ‘sheltering rock’ are pictures the Psalmist paints to speak of life and struggle and God. The Psalmist opens proclaiming trust in God, then with seeming undue haste, opens the heart in anguish, challenging God with tales of the enemies that assail in the bad lands of life.
Then the Psalmist changes tack, offering a way through the maelstrom. The line, “to him alone pour out your heart” reads as an invitation to try prayer. In doing so, perhaps, just perhaps, a new perspective may be perceived.
When the Westerlies of life hit, it can be easier to blame God than turn openly to God. It can be easier to advise of a path to peace than to navigate it. But if our tottering fence reminds me of being overwhelmed in life, then the distant hills remind me that God is there, even if obscured on a dreich day. May our tottering fence also remind me that when life is buffeted, it is time to go out on an intentional walk, to seek and then chew the fat with God, and be open anew to God’s rock-like presence and purpose, and maybe to find a path to peace.
When life gets stormy, nudge me to seek your haven, my sheltering rock.
The Rev’d Dr David Pickering, Moderator of the National Synod of Scotland, member Rutherglen URC