URC Daily Devotion 22 October 2023

22 October 2023
 
Psalm 7
Lord God, I take refuge in you.
From my pursuers save me and rescue me,
lest they tear me to pieces like a lion
and drag me off with no one to rescue me.

Lord God, if my hands have done wrong,
if I have paid back evil for good,
I who saved my unjust oppressor:
then let my foes pursue me and seize me,
let them trample my life to the ground
and lay my soul in the dust

Lord, rise up in your anger,
rise against the fury of my foes;
my God, awake! You will give judgement.
Let the company of nations gather round you,
taking your seat above them on high.
(The Lord is judge of the peoples.)

Give judgement for me, Lord; I am just
and innocent of heart.
Put an end to the evil of the wicked!
Make the just stand firm,
you who test mind and heart, O just God!

God is the shield that protects me,
who saves the upright of heart.
God is a just judge slow to anger;
but he threatens the wicked every day,
all those who will not repent.

God will sharpen his sword;
he has braced his bow and taken aim.
For them he has prepared deadly weapons;
he barbs his arrows with fire.
Here is one who is pregnant with malice,
who conceives evil and brings forth lies.

They digs a pitfall, digs it deep;
and in the trap they have made they will fall.
Their malice will recoil on themselves;
on their own heads their violence will fall.

I will thank the Lord for his justice:
I will sing to the Lord, the Most High.

Reflection

Malicious smear campaigns run by individuals and agencies are an unwelcome trend in social media. They trash the reputation of persons, bodies, or even countries, with twisted facts and blatant lies. My late father had an old Scots ‘saw’, perhaps inherited from his father, ‘facts are chiels that winna ding’. Ah, yes, but in the hands of ill disposed folk, imaginary wish lists become facts, capable of multiple interpretations, none of them approximating to the truth. Truth itself can be treated as a relative commodity – with dire consequences for social and political discourse. Who or what can we trust?

Though the above scenario may seem a very modern phenomenon, it is very old indeed. The Psalmist (who may be David) laments that his life is threatened physically and spiritually. He is a hunted man, beset by lies and treachery. Who can he trust? Urgently, he turns to the one who has proved faithful and true in past times ‘Lord God’, and he openly lays out his predicament. He is innocent of wrongdoing towards his enemies; indeed he swears on his life that deceit on his part will merit the death his enemies surely plan for him. He calls on God, the just judge, to be the arbiter of his innocence and the dispenser of punishment.

The Psalmist is confident that God will see through the evil his enemies plan for him, and visit it upon them in like measure. He ends his complaint with a grateful endorsement of the justice God will dispense. In our age, when the idea of truth itself is under constant attack from the miasma of relativism, David’s steadfast faith in justice underpinned by God’s nature can sustain us and support us in our daily living.

Prayer

Gracious God, 
There are times when we feel overwhelmed by events in our lives
 over which we have no influence and no control. 
Let your Spirit come close to us in ways of your choosing, 
to reassure and re-empower us so that we live lives to your glory. 
We ask this in the name of your well beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen

 

 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d John A Young, retired minister of the National Synod of Scotland, and member of Giffnock URC

 

Copyright

The Psalms: An Inclusive Language Version based on the Grail translation from the Hebrew
© 1963, 1986 The Grail (England) GIA Publications

 

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