Devotions for Psalm 69:1-6
June 8-14, 2015
Monday, June 8, 2015
“Save me for the waters have come up to my neck” (Psalm 69:1).
There are those moments of panic, when we do not think that we will survive. It might be when we are swimming and find ourselves exhausted in deep water struggling to stay afloat. Perhaps our financial house of cards collapsed and along with it the hope that we attached to it. Like the Psalmist, the water up to our necks could be intense conflict and the personal attacks of others. Whatever it may be we feel that we are close to annihilation.
At these times to whom do we look for help? The Psalmist looked to the Lord. Great armies couldn’t help him. Friends had abandoned him. The Psalmist’s only hope was in the Lord. He cried out to the Lord. Directions on how he should be saved were not suggested by the Psalmist. Instead he uttered a simple, “Help.”
And God was there to save him.
O Lord of our salvation, we thank you that when life threatens to overwhelm us you are there to rescue us. We can always trust you. Amen.
Tuesday, June 9, 2015
“I sink in deep mire with no foot hold” (Psalm 69:2).
Brad was stuck in his job. Paths for advancement had been diverted or blocked. His work didn’t challenge him. Brad was in a situation in which he did not want to be and he didn’t think it was where he should be. Candice was burdened with depression. The depression robbed her of the joy of life and sapped her strength. Even with medical intervention she couldn’t find a foot hold to climb out of the pit. Debbie was a stay at home mom. She loved being a full-time mom and she loved her three rambunctious children. Still, Debbie had a nagging sense of being stuck and of not growing as a person.
In the ebb and flow of life there are times when we all feel like we are stuck; knee deep in mud with no strength to get out. Our situation is not life threatening, but it is frustrating. When the Psalmist was in such a situation, he looked to the Lord and cried out for help. We may, also. While we wait for the Lord to answer us, we may do what we can to live as disciples of Jesus Christ and share God’s love and grace with those around us.
Gracious Lord, no matter what our situation in life may you empower us to serve you by using our words and actions to share your love and grace with others. Amen.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
“I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched” (Psalm 69:3).
Some brothers and sisters in Christ believe that you only need to pray about something once. After that you thank the Lord for the answered prayer. To pray the same prayer again shows a lack of faith. The Psalmist would disagree.
Humans seem programed to cry or pray until our needs are met. Ask any parent of a newborn. Babies don’t cry for a moment or two and then patiently wait for their diaper to be changed or to be fed. They continue to cry until their need is met. The baby’s crying may drive parents to distraction, but they continue to lovingly care for the child and meet its needs.
God is our loving parent. God may not move fast enough for us, but God moves. God loves us and tenderly cares for us. And like all parents God wants only the very best for us.
Like the Psalmist, keep crying. We can at the same time rejoice that God hears our cries and acts to meet our needs.
Loving Lord, forgive our impatience. Help us to mix words of praise and thanks with our cries of need. Amen.
Thursday, June 11, 2015
“More than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause” (Psalm 69:4).
A little paranoid? Perhaps. Still we have shared the Psalmist’s experience of being alone and rejected. It is one of the most frightening experiences we can have. The reasons for being in the situation can be many. We may have done something that we believed was right and that we had to do as a disciple of Jesus Christ. We can only endure the alienation knowing that it is sometimes the cost of being a faithfully obedient to the Spirit’s guidance. We may have said or done something that was either misunderstood or hurtful. In such situations, humbling ourselves, apologizing and seeking to rebuild the relationships are in order.
The Psalmist is talking about another circumstance, though. There are times when our enemies spread rumors and lies about us seeking to have the community ostracize us. There is little that we can do. While we grieve over the lost relationships we can also give thanks that the Lord stands with us. Nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus—not even public opinion.
Such situations may cause us topause for reflection, also. We might ask ourselves, “When have we believed the worst about others rather than support them and speak well of them?” “When have we been willing to believe rumors rather than seek the facts? Perhaps there are people in our lives today who need us to stand by them.
Holy God, we thank you for your steadfast love. Empower us that we may be steadfast in our love for others even when they do not meet our expectations. Amen.
Friday, June 12, 2015
“What I did not steal must I now return” (Psalm 69:4b)?
Chad Stone, an eighth grade student at Woodrow Wilson Middle School was called to the principal’s office. This was a rare experience for Chad, who was considered a good student. When he was ushered into the principal’s office he was told that he had been accused of cheating on a math test by the girl who sat next to him. Their answers, including those that were wrong, were identical. In reality it was really the girl who had copied Chad. All of Chad’s denials could not persuade the principal to change her mind. Chad was given a week’s detention, an “F” on his test and a text was sent to his parents.
Chad feared what would happen when he returned home. He had never brought home such news before. He need not have worried, though. Both of his parents met him at the door and gave him hugs. After listening to his version of the events, his parents assured him that they believed him. In the morning they would make an appointment with the principal to get his punishment reversed.
We all know what it is like to be falsely accused; to be held accountable for something that we did not do. There are times when we can do little to prove our innocence. Though we may be judged in the courts of public opinion, we can give thanks that our Lord does not judge us in a similar fashion. Rather, God knows our hearts. Even when we do sin our Lord is quick to forgive because God’s Son, Jesus, was also falsely accused.
Forgiving Lord, thank you for your forgiveness and for the ability to live each day free from the burdens of guilt and shame. Amen.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
“O God you know my folly, the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you” (Psalm 69:5).
Linda Ramos stepped up onto the stage, received her award, smiled for the camera, waved to the audience and then returned to her table she was being recognized along with several others for her accomplishments by the Professional Women Association of the city. In addition to the award ceremony, the evening included a delicious four course meal, and a time to socialize with her friends, colleagues and co-workers. Many people approached Linda to offer their congratulations and compliment her on her accomplishments. Linda enjoyed the evening, but it was not a relaxing time.
When Linda arrived home she kicked off her shoes, plopped onto the sofa next to her husband and snuggled into him. “Ah,” she sighed, “it is so good to be able to be with someone who knows me and with whom I can let down my guard and relax.”
Like Linda we often journey through life on guard. We don’t want people to get too close to us for fear that they might discover some of the stuff we keep hidden. We worry that if they knew what we know about us that they’d reject us and run away. There are only a few people in our lives (if we are blessed) who know us and whom we do not need to worry about keeping at a distance. They love us and accept us warts and all. Our Lord is one of those. God knows all of the wrongs that we have done. God does not turn away from us, but rather forgives us, loves us and pledges that he will never leave us. Such a relationship is a great blessing and gift.
All knowing God, thank you that you know us, forgive us and still love us. Empower us to mirror your forgiveness and love in our relationships with others. Amen.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
“Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me” (Psalms 69:6).
When shame is mentioned in the church, conversation usually turns to clergy molesting children, illicit affairs by congregational and denominational leaders and embezzling by trusted staff. Certainly such actions are sinful and confession, repentance, restitution and forgiveness are needed, but these may not be the most shameful acts of the church.
Some might consider that the disciples of Jesus Christ are relatively silent about the twenty percent of the children in the United States facing hunger. Undocumented immigrants is a hot button issue in the United States with no easy answers. Still the way individual immigrants and their families are treated can be termed as shameful and God’s people speak only a whisper. Fifty years after the struggles of civil rights racism and prejudice from all sides still boils under the surface of our society and the body of Christ has been complacent.
None of Jesus’ followers want intentionally to dishonor God or bring shame to the family of faith. It is too easy, though, to allow public opinion to shape our view of what is shameful and what is not. We may need to open our hearts to the Spirit of God and pray like the Psalmist prayed “Search me oh God and know my heart, see if there be any wicked way in me “ (Psalm 139:23). That same Spirit can also lead us along a new path of repentance, forgiveness and action that doesn’t shame but rather honors God.
Create in us a clean heart, O God and put a new and right spirit within us. Amen.