King David was known for many things, including being a poet and songwriter. Though David’s life belies such pronouncements as “I will bless the Lord at all times,” or “Let the humble hear and be glad,” today’s psalm does reflect David’s overall desire to magnify the Lord. Like David, we sometimes struggle to keep our focus on God. We have all experienced moments of shame and forgotten to seek out the Lord when we’re in need of deliverance from our fears. However, as we learn to turn to God, we begin to tip the emotional scales of our lives away from emotional turmoil toward inner peace.
Many years ago, while I was going through an especially difficult chapter of life and experiencing depression, I turned to a spiritual director for insight and encouragement. Initially her advice didn’t seem helpful. She sent me to a well-appointed bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere and told me to “be still.” She admonished me to just sit and be quiet for a while. I am used to going full speed ahead day after day, so this was difficult for me. However, with little to do other than walk in the garden or sit on the porch, my anxiety and pain began to diminish. So I sought the Lord, and a sense of hopefulness for the future began to displace my fears. “This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord.” I doubt I’ll ever master the art of “bless[ing] the Lord at all times.” However, taking time out to be still and focusing on God’s mercies once in a while helps us “taste and see that the Lord is good.” I am happier when I take refuge in God.

Gracious and all-powerful Lord, help me allow the psalms to guide me when I struggle to find insight. Thank you for spiritual directors who lead us back to you. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 6:35, 41-51

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Lectionary Week
August 6–12, 2018
Scripture Overview

David’s family was a mess. Among his children there was rape, murder, and a plot to overthrow him by his son Absalom. Violence followed, and Second Samuel tells the story of Absalom’s death. Even though Absalom had betrayed him, David still loved his son with a parent’s never-ending love—the kind of love that God demonstrates perfectly for us, as David celebrates in Psalm 34. The author of Ephesians warns against acting out of anger, wrath, and malice (the very things that tore apart David’s family). We should instead forgive, as God in Christ has forgiven us. In John, Jesus restates that he is the path to God because he teaches God’s truth. Jesus will give his own life but then raise up those who believe in him.

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33. When have you been called to “deal gently” with a loved one?
• Read Psalm 34:1-8. Reflect on a time when you were able to intimately “taste and see” God’s goodness in your life.
• Read Ephesians 4:25–5:2. Are your words and actions imitating Christ?
• Read John 6:35, 41-51. God comes to us in unexpected ways. Who have you discounted as a servant of God? How can you support their ministry?

Respond by posting a prayer.

I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.” 

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