For several years, I have taken songwriting classes. I enjoy the chance to play with words and find phrases and word patterns that describe ordinary human emotions. It is interesting to try to figure out where I have found the words I have written. Often, they are expressions, phrases, and lines I got from someone else. Sometimes my poetry tells other people’s stories.
This is a psalm of David, yet you can hear Bathsheba saying these words, crying as she bathes, shamed by David’s actions, alone as she discovers she is pregnant. When one person violates another, I imagine they are the fool who declares, “There is no God” or even “I am God.”
After a time of violence it certainly feels like there is no wisdom among human beings. It seems right sometimes that God would declare that all humanity is perverse. When we see people suffering, millions of people suffering, it seems that humans cannot lift ourselves up to do good for others. God is proclaiming that evildoers are eating God’s people as if they were bread.
Can you hear this as a rant from a person who has been violated by others? Can you hear this as a rage against the systems that allow oppression and violence to go unpunished? Read this psalm when you are angry at racism, sexism, classism, able-ism, homophobia, and other oppressions. Read this when you are so angry you cannot speak.
The message is that God is with the righteous. The world may interfere with the plans the poor and oppressed have made, but the Lord will always be a refuge. When we need to get away from the evil of humankind, God is here, waiting to sit with us in our tears. Just as we are, we are held by a righteous God.
God our refuge, hold us close in our despair. Hear our stories as we cry out to you. Restore our fortunes in impossible times. Amen.
The Bible is filled with the stories of imperfect people. David is a classic case. In Second Samuel he uses his power to have sex with another man's wife, tries to cover it up, and then plots the murder of her husband. How can this be the same man who penned this week’s psalm, which decries the foolishness of people who act in a godless way? Like us, David was a fallen person who needed God’s extravagant mercy. In Ephesians we read of this same extravagance given through Christ, whose power can do what we cannot—namely redeem all of us who are also foolish and fallen. The Gospel author demonstrates the power of Jesus through what he describes as “signs,” which Jesus performed not primarily to amaze the onlookers but rather to point them to his identity as the Son of God.
Read 2 Samuel 11:1-15. Where in today’s world do you see the selfishness of powerful people bringing tragedy for people with less power?
Read Psalm 14. Do you number yourself among the wise who “seek after God”? Why or why not?
Read Ephesians 3:14-21. How does “being rooted and grounded in love” manifest itself in your life?
Read John 6:1-21. Where do you see yourself in this story?
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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