Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Morning Prayer -- Psalm 142

In Psalm 142, the psalmist is lamenting his plight (maybe it's David?) He is imploring God for help, crying out to God and telling how his enemies have set a trap. He prays for rescue because he feels utterly alone, exhausted, and may even be imprisoned. Maybe for him, prison is a metaphor for his distress or maybe he is actually imprisoned. In the last two verses, he makes vows to praise God, because he knows that God is indeed faithful and will always come through.

New King James:

1 I cry out to the LORD with my voice;
With my voice to the LORD I make my supplication.
2 I pour out my complaint before Him;
I declare before Him my trouble.

3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me,
Then You knew my path.
In the way in which I walk
They have secretly set a snare for me.
4 Look on my right hand and see,
For there is no one who acknowledges me;
Refuge has failed me;
No one cares for my soul.

5 I cried out to You, O LORD:
I said, “You are my refuge,
My portion in the land of the living.
6 Attend to my cry,
For I am brought very low;
Deliver me from my persecutors,
For they are stronger than I.
7 Bring my soul out of prison,
That I may praise Your name;
The righteous shall surround me,
For You shall deal bountifully with me.”

The Message:

1-2 I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy.
I spill out all my complaints before him,
and spell out my troubles in detail:

3-7 "As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away,
you know how I'm feeling,
Know the danger I'm in,
the traps hidden in my path.
Look right, look left—
there's not a soul who cares what happens!
I'm up against it, with no exit—
bereft, left alone.
I cry out, God, call out:
'You're my last chance, my only hope for life!'
Oh listen, please listen;
I've never been this low.
Rescue me from those who are hunting me down;
I'm no match for them.
Get me out of this dungeon
so I can thank you in public.
Your people will form a circle around me
and you'll bring me showers of blessing!"

I highlight the important (to me) bits.

First, God knows. God knows that we become overwhelmed. Life does that. But God also knows our path and God will provide. Through God's people, we will find refuge and help. God's people will form a circle around us and through them will shower us with blessing.

There's a verse in 1 Cor 10 that is often quoted:
13No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.

A couple of notes here: Paul is writing to the church, not to individuals. This is a promise to us through the church -- the you here is community.

No comments: