AM Psalm , 71; PM Psalm 74
Genesis 42:29-38; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Mark 4:21-34
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be ashamed.
In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free;
incline your ear to me and save me.
– Psalm 71:1-2
Many psalms alternate between feelings of elation and times of “woe is me.” We can all relate to this.
Psalm 71 describes someone experiencing trouble and their response to adversity. It is easy to forget God until we are in trouble. Then we cry “deliver me and set me free” (v. 2), or “do not cast me off” (v. 9). William Thomas Cummings said, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” Many find that a regular practice of prayer and meditation helps counteract this tendency to come to God only in times of need.
The Psalmist also speaks of “the wicked, the evildoer” (v. 4) and those who “seize him; because there is none who will save” (v. 11). Have you ever felt kicked while you were down? Remember: the difference between the wicked and the righteous is time. We have all filled both roles. During Lent we can think of times we’ve been both righteous and wicked.
In the dark days of winter and the time of reflection in Lent, let us consider, in our own lives, times of darkness, persecution, depression, lack of direction … times when we could not see our way out of trouble. We can cry out to God in the darkness as a wolf howls on a cold winter night. Then we can wait for the salvation from God to appear. (Hint: it sometimes comes out of unexpected places.)
In the meantime, as described in Psalm 71, let us “recount your mighty acts and saving deeds all day long” (v. 15).
- Dawna Seely