January 22, 2023
We hear in the beginning of this Psalm that David believes you will protect him even if an army of malicious adversaries surround him. He is certain you will preserve him when trouble strikes. He is confident you will keep him safe on a high fortress rock. And in thanksgiving David will once again offer sacrifices in the tabernacle, where he will sing joyfully to you.
But is David just whistling in the dark when he says
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.
Because later, when the real fear shows up, David cries out to you to answer him and he asks you to not hide your face from him, to not forsake him or cast him off. Which David shall we follow here: the one who is brimming with confidence that you will protect him or the one whose fear prompts him to fervently pray for rescue and deliverance?
Of course, we know both of these states of mind: confidence and fear. David is revealing the humanity we all share. David knows he can trust you, but that knowledge does not make him immune to fear when it comes on uninvited in times of danger and distress. But we observe that because of David’s experience with your care, his fear is not abject. Rather than submitting to panic or despair, we hear David reminding himself of your goodness in the past and his trust in you, that you will provide what is needed at the right time. David remembers your command to seek your face, and he does.
Father, some of us face deep despair, nagging fear, overwhelming pain. And if not now, we have faced it in the past or will face it in the future. In times of rest, may we speak with confidence of your care. In times of uncertainty, when all appears lost, when we feel afraid and our pain is great, may we recall your past care either in our lives or the lives of our brothers and sisters, for remembrance is the key to trust in you. Father, hone our understanding of the nature of your care and what it means to put our trust in you, for we observe through experience that you are not the cosmic fixer but the comforter and sustainer of all who trust you as we traverse a broken world were we await a Sabbath rest, the hope of heaven.
Father, your ways are above our ways. Teach us your ways. Lead us along the paths of righteousness. With David we believe we will see your goodness displayed in our church, in our community, and in our country. Our hearts take courage as we wait for you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray
And all of Gods people said: Amen