URC Daily Devotion Sunday, 7 January 2024

Sunday, 7 January 2024 Psalm 16
 
Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.
I say to the Lord: “You are my God.
My happiness lies in you alone.”

He has put into my heart a marvellous love
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land.
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood.
Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight:
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight:
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead,
nor let your beloved know decay.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand happiness for ever.

Reflection  Psalm 16 – Called to show the paths of life
 
People living in Gaza are crying for life, are crying for relief, and are crying to save life in the midst of an intense war and conflict. On the one hand we notice the failure of the international diplomacy for a cease fire, and on the other hand we have people in several cities of the world are on the streets demanding an immediate cease fire to save lives. In such a context, where is the hope to save life and show the paths of life?
 
Psalm 16 is a prayer and song of David crying to God to protect and save life. In his time, when he has come to a cul-de-sac, with all options of saving life closed, David called on God for trust and security of his life. Prayer is waiting on God, calling on God and is an act of commitment to work with God for peace, justice and protection of life. David in this Psalm reckons the hope he sees in God when he sings, “For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit” (10 verse). The God of Psalm 16 or for that matter the God of the Bible is not a blood-thirsty God, or a God that promotes violence and war, instead is a God who does not give up on people to Sheol or to see the Pit.
 
When the forces of powers use, misuse and abuse the texts in the Holy Scriptures to sanction their violence proclaiming, ‘this is a time for war’ also need to confess that the God of the Scriptures is a just God who seeks peace through love and reconciliation. For Psalm 16 concludes by affirming that the God of David, the God of the Bible is life-giving and secures fullness of joy to all people, for the Psalmist writes “you show me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are the pleasures for evermore” (11 verse). Let us therefore as readers of the Scripture and as followers of Jesus Christ the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us, commit ourselves to show paths of life by standing with the weak and the oppressed, by striving to work for peace through justice, by building bonds of friendships with people of all faiths and none and by being courageous in urging for a cease fire. Stop the war and save the life.
 
Prayer 

God of Abraham, God of Sarah, 
God of Hagar, God of Ishmael and God of all, 
forgive us if we misuse your Holy texts to sanction violence, 
enable us to be bold in showing paths of life in our world torn in conflict and 
engage us to work with Jesus for peace, justice, love and reconciliation today. 
Help us to be your agents of promoting love and friendship among all communities. 
In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Dr. Raj Bharat Patta, Presbyter, Heaton Moor United Church

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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