URC Daily Devotion  2 January 2022

Sunday 2 January 2022

Psalm 73

In sweet communion, Lord, with thee
I constantly abide;
my hand thou holdest in thine own
to keep me near thy side.

2 Thy counsel through my earthly way
shall guide me and control,
and then to glory afterward
thou wilt receive my soul.

3 Whom have I, Lord, in heav’n but thee,
to whom my thoughts aspire?
And, having thee, on earth is naught
that I can yet desire?

4 Though flesh and heart should faint and fail,
the Lord will ever be
the strength and portion of my heart,
my God eternally.

5 To live apart from God is death,
’tis good his face to seek;
my refuge is the living God,
his praise I long to speak.

public domain.
You can hear some of the verses sung here

How do we find confidence to live faithfully in a corrupt and unfair world where the wicked appear to prosper whilst the good suffer and where God seems absent? Through a journey of emotions, the Psalmist invites us to share with him in his experience of God. He moves from plain ignorance, to angry frustration, to experiencing a new, radical outlook on life to discovering an enlightened confidence. He renews his relationship with God in spite of his circumstances. God is good!
Yet, for the Psalmist, like many of us, it has not always felt that God is good.  Faced with suffering, affliction and new punishments every day, he sees the wicked prosper, increasing in riches.  There are so many questions left unanswered and his heart is pierced. We have sympathy with him for there is a mystery about evil which remains unresolved even with the light of resurrection hope. This shakes the Psalmist’s faith to the very core – bringing him to despair until…until he goes into God’s sanctuary, into the place where he can think and pray and get proper perspective on his situation and the situation of the wicked.  He sees evil for what it is.  The wicked have no future.  Against this puzzling backdrop, the Psalmist enters the reality of religious experience. Rekindling a relationship with God so intimate, he realises that, despite his own feet slipping, God has always remained near, holding his right hand and guiding him with counsel. God is his rock, the strength of his heart.  God is his constant. When we falter and stumble and retreat into self-pity, God will not give it up on us until what he has begun in us is completed.  A hopeful message at the start of the New Year.

Let my heart, O God, always recognise
you are there in the midst of my life.
Direct all that is me toward your praise.
May nothing ever distract me from your love,
neither health nor sickness
wealth nor poverty
happiness nor despair.                 
Energise me in your service
so that I may always be the person you intend me to be.



Today’s writer

The Rev’d Nicola Furley-Smith, URC Secretary for Ministries



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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