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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Tuesday, July 5, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
    and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
    and you have healed me.
O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
    restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones,
    and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
    his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity,
    “I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
    you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
    I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried,
    and to the Lord I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
    if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
    Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!
    O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned my mourning into dancing;
    you have taken off my sackcloth
    and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
    O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever. (NRSV)

We humans are fickle creatures. We want it all ways. It’s not enough to just do the right thing; we want recognition. When things are good, we tend to want them better. Our ego makes us creatures of “me,” not “us.”

I think this psalm is really about getting right by God and how we continually take God for granted until some event or emotional crisis makes us focus. There is praise and thanksgiving in it, along with relief, but some self-centered pleading too.

When things are not good, when we are sad or ill, angry or grieving, fearful or depressed, then we seem to make more time for God. That’s when the bargaining begins: “God just let me get through this pain and I promise to . . . (fill in the blank here).” “God help me get through this dark night and I promise . . . (fill in the blank).” Save me from the pit.

All in all, humanity isn’t really very deserving of God’s fealty. But that is the remarkable good news. We aren’t expected to be. This psalm has much to say about that, because even as we wander from God’s presence or even as we waver in our belief, God doesn’t change. God comes to us where we are. God’s steadfast love doesn’t disappear. It’s right there ready to clothe us in joy. We don’t have to deserve it, just embrace it. The darkest night is lit; the most terrible fears overcome. God’s hand will always be reaching for us, and God’s face will shine upon us. “O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.”

Remind me, Lord, that you are always with me. Help me know your presence in the darkness of my fears. Help me feel the warmth of your love in all times. Amen.

Written by Ken Ohr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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