Today’s scripture: Psalm 61:1-5 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)
As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.
My thoughts (Keith Phillips):
I love the psalmists. Who knows how many there were, but they all seem so genuine, so honest, yet also so full of hope, which is a rare combination.
This Psalm is attributed to David, king of Israel. He begins by making it clear to God, to himself, and to anyone else who’ll listen just how he feels: “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to you, when my heart is faint” (61:1, 2a). “From the end of the earth” David cries out to the Lord. I assure you that David was never more than a hundred fifty miles from Jerusalem at any time his entire life. What does he know about “the end of the earth”?
There are times, for me, that I don’t even have to leave the apartment to feel like I’m at the end of the earth, having that sense, for whatever reason, of being all alone in the world. As a single gay man, I found this Valentines Day one of those times. In the past I’ve found ways to avoid, or compensate for, the significance of That Dreaded Day. This year, due to a fairly unique set of circumstances, I could not; and having That Day on a weekend only compounded my state of loneliness. Fortunately, I knew that the feeling, and my envy, would pass, just as soon as my coupled friends took their googly eyes off each other and stopped feeding each other chocolates.
But in the midst of feeling like he was at the end of the earth, David was able to affirm that he was not alone. He was, of course, talking to God, not to himself; and therefore, technically, he wasn’t alone, anyway. But there’s a shift in his tone, from desperation to hope. He prays: “Lead me to the rock that is higher than I; for you are my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me abide in your tent forever, find refuge under the shelter of your wings” (61:2b-4).
Sometimes, I just need to remember what David seems to be saying: that this life is a journey, that I am being led by the Good Shepherd, and that the Lord God Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, is caring for me, always has and always will. In remembering that, my confidence grows, my faith is increased, and I am encouraged sufficiently to get past a lonely spot in the road. “From the end of the earth” I call to the Lord, and I realize that I am never alone, for God is with me.
Thought for the day: How easy it is to forget sometimes (and I don’t know even why) that God is with me. Lord, as you did for David, remind me that, as I abide in you, you lead me forward to “the rock that is higher than I.” Thank you. Amen.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.