Psalm 118 (NRSV)
By Chuck Griffin
During this first week of Easter, John Grimm and I want to focus on Psalm 118. Please be sure to take time to read this psalm.
I find these prophetic words beautiful and uplifting, and I must not be alone, as portions of this psalm have inspired prayers, hymns and even modern songs.
The story of Easter provides the “how” to the psalmist’s declaration that the Lord’s “steadfast love endures forever!” It’s a cry that moves among the tribes and priests of Israel and on through time through Jesus, our high priest who imparts this love generation after generation.
As we are told in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” What an enduring love! And all we have to do is believe it to receive it.
The psalmist also shows us how we can use distress in this life as motivation to call upon the one who loves us so. It helps to already know God, of course; it’s painful to be in distress while also groping for truth about God. But even then, we may hear with greater clarity God’s call on our lives and move toward truth.
Life is a process of learning where the real refuge is. We waste our time turning to princes and presidents, in those who spring up like a flower and wither away (Job 14:1-2).
We find refuge in one who is mysteriously fully human and fully divine, the Christ who suffered and died for us, and now lives forever, inviting us along!
Dear Lord, help us in this Easter season to embrace you as our Savior and guide for life. Amen.
Psalm 62:5-12 (NRSV)
For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath,
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no confidence in extortion,
and set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
according to their work.
It is possible to have silence during worship. After hearing the joys and concerns of the congregation, I like to begin the pastoral prayer with silence. There is something about a congregation quieting themselves before God. When our week has been hectic and uncertain, waiting together to hear from the Lord is beneficial.
No matter whether we are of low or high estate, it is helpful to be silent before God. To know the power and steadfast love that belongs to God, is for us to know that God is our rock and salvation. We take a “Selah,” an interlude. Humbling ourselves, examining our lives, or taking a moment to pause, are what can happen in the silence we have before the God. Maybe in the silence, we can hear God, again.
God, we know you as our refuge. The psalmist knew setting aside time in silence was good. We are learning to be in silence. As we turn to you, may we once again hear you speak to us. Thank you for being our rock and salvation. It is in the name of Jesus that we hope to be found when you repay all of us according to our work. Amen.