March 24th 2020: Psalm 54

You can read today’s passage here: Psalm 54 (NIV).

You can listen to today’s passage here: Psalm 54

‘Surely God is my help;
    the Lord is the one who sustains me.’

 ‘I will praise your name, Lord, for it is good.’

Sometimes it’s very tempting to cherry-pick the good bits from a Bible passage to suit what we want the Bible to say. You never do that, obviously. That mistake is one I make all on my own. You never just pick the one verse you like and ignore the ones around it, do you? No, of course you don’t.

If we were going to do that today, we’d focus on the verses I’ve picked out already. Don’t they sound good. The person writing this is sure and certain that the Lord – the one they have given their life to – is their help and the way that they are able to be sustained, to keep going. Not only that but the commitment and trust in the power of the name of the Lord that we’ve seen so often in readings recently – and which feels very timely at the present moment – is all present and correct. Never forget, trusting God is the right thing to do and the right way to go and the right direction to be facing in. Always.

Except that’s not all that the reading contains, is it. 

Destruction of enemies is a pretty ugly thing to hope for. 

But that is the aim of the psalmist here. There’s no doubt about it. God is requested to make sure that the psalmist is safe, that the enemies they face are wiped from the face of the earth and that God would show power in doing so.

We would never think like that though, would we.

No, of course not.

Except that I’ve started to see news stories around the world suggesting that those who might be ‘vulnerable’ could be expendable as we face and fight this invisible enemy. I’ve seen stories suggesting that the safe progress of the economy and the passing of a stable economy to future generations would potentially be worth the cost of lives of some people over 70 or otherwise vulnerable. 

That’s a small step away from saying that caring for those who are impaired or disabled, or caring for people after they reach a certain age, or even if they fall within the most vulnerable 1.5 million people in the UK who were contacted by our National Health Service yesterday and told to stay inside for 12 weeks, is too much, too expensive, too costly, that it slows down the inevitable growth and progress of society too much.

You might think that’s extreme, but try being vulnerable or disabled at these times and imagine how it might sound, or feel.

No human being is ever expendable. Ever.

And so when I read passages like today’s, it makes me uncomfortable to think that someone who loved God wished for the destruction of their enemies, whether literally or metaphorically (I think the writer here is being very literal). The enemies I have are the ones that stop me from being part of God’s kingdom building army. I’m fortunate that I am not under threat of violence, I realise as I write these words. Let’s be people who use the freedom we have to be thankful to God and to trust Him, to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us.

Something to Do

Spend some time asking yourself who or what are your enemies at the moment? If you have any you can think of, here’s

Something to Pray

…pray for them to be blessed.

Posted by The Emmanuel Group Of Churches, Northampton on Tuesday, 24 March 2020

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