URC Daily Devotion 21st March 2021

Sunday 21st March

Psalm 36

High in the heavens, eternal God,
your goodness in full glory shines:
your truth shall break through every cloud
that veils and darkens your designs.

2 Forever firm thy justice stands,
as mountains their foundations keep;
wise are the wonders of your hands;
your judgments are a mighty deep.

3 From the provisions of your house
we shall be fed with sweet repast;
there mercy like a river flows,
and brings salvation to our taste.

4 Life, like a fountain rich and free,
springs from the presence of the Lord,
and in your light our souls shall see
the glories promised in your word.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) 
You can hear the tune here


Life is a challenge. It involves choices, and sometimes conflict. You cannot take good fortune or good character for granted. You need to look to God for protection in your days and progress in your discipleship. Faithful living is the pattern to aim for. But other sorts of values and lifestyle are available – selfish, scheming, complacent and careless.

That’s the message of Psalm 36 as a whole. The upbeat section in today’s reading is the middle of the Psalm (vv.5, 6, 8 and 9 in my Bible). But the opening and the ending have a more sober and shadowy mood. There are tricky and troublesome people at large in the world – the meddlers, manipulators and mafia of their day. Our Psalmist is clearly wary of their wiles and anxious not to follow their ways.

So the middle of the Psalm is a moment to re-focus our vision and recover a wide perspective. Here are major landmarks on the path of faith, big realities to trust. God’s ‘steadfast love’ (vv.5, 7 and 10) is the main theme. God is faithful, true, just, and mighty to save. Like the expanse of the skies, the strength of the hills and the depths of the sea, grace reaches around us, above us and beneath us. This is a welcoming, hospitable God who longs to meet us with open hands, and to show us the world in its truest glory: ‘in your light our souls shall see’.

Look to God, and you will see more clearly the care in which you are held, the choices you are called to make, and the character you are meant to be. As with many an old psalm, the message is still fresh. 


God of light and strength, please help us 
      to walk humbly and honestly in the world,
      to steer by the landmarks you set before us,
      and to tackle the journey ahead with purpose and hope.
For Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.



Today’s writer

The Rev’d John Proctor, retired minister, member of Downing Place URC, Cambridge


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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