My thoughts (David Zier):
As I read this Psalm, I can feel the emotion. “They have attacked me from my youth!”
There are those times in life where we seem to come up against everything. It seems nothing is going our way. We get tired. It seems like it has been like this forever. Argh!
Ever felt like that? Praying that my enemies fall sounds like revenge or retribution, but I have a different take on this Psalm.
We can have many enemies in our lives; even ourselves. Sometimes we can let circumstances come at us in a way that feels like we are surrounded by enemies. Think about a situation when we have more than we can do at work than the time we have. What about a situation we may have in a relationship and it spills over into our every day lives, it consumes our thoughts and we can be short tempered with everyone. The budget needs to stretch to buy food and pay utilities, and there are still 2 more weeks left in the month. I have conjured up ideas that circumstances or people are against me in my mind because things are not working out the way I wanted. This list could go on and on. Can you think of something like this for you?
If you can think of one of these experiences you may have had, this Psalm has a deeper meaning. “The plower’s plow on my back.” These things can cause us to lose our grip on our spiritual lives and forget that God has our back. It can cause us to turn our backs on God, and pass on by. Do you want to be one who passes by?
Verse 8 is a great end to the Psalm. “…while those who pass by do not say, “The blessing of the Lord be upon you! We bless you in the name of the Lord!” What a great reminder. When we lose our grip, we can forget about the things around us that are a blessing, and we forget to say “Thank you God.” We can forget about lifting that blessing or giving thanks that draws us back to be closer to God. I am not saying this is an easy thing in the moment. But if we make it a part of our spiritual practice, it is something that stays with us, and allows us to not pass by and forget to lift those blessings and gratitudes. It becomes something we do because it becomes a part of who we are. And we are drawn closer to God.
Prayer for the day: God, help me to not pass you by. When I feel overwhelmed, help me to cultivate a deeper sense of your presence, and a deeper awareness of your blessings and gratitude in my life. Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.