APPLICATION: With the invasion of Ukraine happening right now, it struck me that this Psalm could be used to pray for Ukrainians there and for those watching the news haplessly. The Psalm begins with a declaration, a decision of trust in the Lord, followed by an appeal not to be put to shame, a declaration of faith in verse 2, that "no one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame WILL come on those who are treacherous without cause." (Watch out Mr. Putin!)
Now, from verse 4 on, we see a desire to draw closer to God, and an openness to learn of his ways which are in sharp contrast to the treacherous enemy. This brings the humble request that God not remember the sins of youth, but instead God's character of mercy.
Then from verse 11 onwards we have another appeal to God's character for forgiveness. "Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose." Verse 15 is a lovely statement of sure hope based on God's provision. "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare."
The next verses, from 16 on, could be prayed for anyone or by anyone in a dire situation, but for those fleeing an invading army, being helpless in the face of an overwhelming enemy, these verses would be especially fitting:"See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you."
Deliver Israel [Ukraine], O God, from all their troubles!
A golden oldie HYMN: "I Feel the Winds of God Today" #426 in the old blue 1938 hymnbook.
PRAYER: for our enemies: "O God, the Lord of all, your Son commanded us to love our enemies and to pray for them. Lead us from prejudice to truth; deliver us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and enable us to stand before you, reconciled through your son Jesus Christ our Lord." (P. 681 Book of Alternative Services, Anglican Church of Canada.)
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.