Daily Devotion Sunday 30th June 2024

Sunday 30th June Psalm 37
Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not envy those who do evil,
for they wither quickly like grass
and fade like the green of the fields.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
then you will live in the land and be secure.
If you find your delight in the Lord,
he will grant your heart’s desire.

Commit your life to the Lord,
trust in him and he will act,
so that your justice breaks forth like the light,
your cause like the noon-day sun.

Be still before the Lord and wait in patience;
do not fret at those who prosper;
those who makes evil plots
to bring down the needy and the poor.

Calm your anger and forget your rage;
do not fret, it only leads to evil.
For those who do evil shall perish;
the patient shall inherit the land.

A little longer- and the wicked shall have gone.
Look at their place, they are not there.
But the humble shall own the land
and enjoy the fullness of peace.

The wicked plot against the just
and gnash their teeth against the righteous;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked
for he sees that his day is at hand.

The sword of the wicked is drawn,
his bow is bent to slaughter the upright.
Their sword shall pierce their own hearts
and their bows shall be broken to pieces.

The few possessions of the just
are better than the wicked’s wealth;
for the power of the wicked shall be broken
and the Lord will support the just.

He protects the lives of the upright,
their heritage will last for ever.
They shall not be put to shame in evil days,
in time of famine their food shall not fail.

But all the wicked shall perish
and all the enemies of the Lord.
They are like the beauty of the meadows,
they shall vanish, they shall vanish like smoke.

The wicked borrow without repaying,
but the just are generous and give.
Those blessed by the Lord shall own the land,
but those he has cursed shall be destroyed.

The Lord guides our steps 
and makes safe the path of one he loves.
Though they stumble they shall never fall
for the Lord holds him by the hand.

I was young and now I am old,
but I have never seen the just  forsaken
nor their children begging for bread.
All the day they are generous and lend
and their children become a blessing.

Then turn away from evil and do good
and you shall have a home for ever;
for the Lord loves justice
and will never forsake his friends.

The unjust shall be wiped out for ever
and the children of the wicked destroyed.
The just shall inherit the land;
there they shall live for ever.

The mouths of the just utters wisdom
and their lips speak what is right;
the law of God is in their hearts,
their steps shall be saved from stumbling.

The wicked watch for the just
and seek occasion to kill them.
The Lord will not leave the just in their power
nor let the just be condemned when they are judged.

Then wait for the Lord, keep to his way.
It is he who will free you from the wicked,
raise you up to posses the land
and see the wicked destroyed.

I have seen the wicked triumphant,
towering like a cedar of Lebanon.
I passed by again; they were gone.
I searched; they were nowhere to be found.

See the just, mark the upright,
for the peaceful a future lies in store,
but sinners shall all be destroyed.
No future lies in store for the wicked.

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord,
their stronghold in time of distress.
The Lord helps them and delivers them
and saves them: for their refuge is in him.

Reflection

While some Psalms are quite short, others, such as today’s, go into much greater length to address the issues in front of the writer. It digs in depth into the contrasting choices before humanity, as well as the deep-rooted emotions each one of us can go through when faced with difficulties and unjust ways.

 It offers an emphasis on being still before God and putting our trust in God, in order to live in God’s ways. It gives a challenge to look at our world and ourselves and weigh up the life we see around us and the emotions within us.

It asks us not just to depend on ourselves and who and what we think we are. It invites us to deepen our dependence on God, in order to live in God’s alternative way in this troubled world. The Psalm invites us to wait, to be patient, to trust in God.

It can be easier just to get angry when we disagree with someone or see wrongdoing or injustice and feel that things aren’t being put right quickly enough. The Psalm offers us a reminder that we are invited to live in God’s way with the whole of our lives. We can be challenged when we see around us people who we do not believe are living in God’s way. But the question is, how do we make sure that our lives reflect what God offers.

In an age where ‘living in the moment’ is seen by many as the way forward, we can be tempted to despair at the need for patience when we see things going wrong. The Psalmist reminds us that knowing God and trusting in God takes time. But this way will lead to justice and fulfilment. Taking time each day for prayer is a priority. Then we can see more clearly the way we can live in God’s way, knowing God’s peace and God’s justice, and finding our heart’s true delight.

Prayer

Compassionate and loving God,
grant us the stillness we need in our hearts and our minds,
to be able to know and live in Your way.
Help us to find our delight in You,
and to be filled with the desire
for Your peace and justice in this troubled world.

Amen

Today’s writer

The Revd Dr Elizabeth Welch, retired URC minister, member of St Andrews URC Ealing.

Copyright

The Psalms: The Grail Translation, Inclusive Language Version, Collins, 2009.

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