| At all times I will bless the LORD;
I’ll praise him with my voice.
Because I glory in the LORD,
let troubled souls rejoice.
Together let us praise the LORD;
exalt his name with me.
I sought the LORD; his answer came:
rom fears he set me free.
They look to him and shine with joy;
they are not put to shame.
This suffering man cried to the LORD;
from him deliverance came.
The angel of the LORD surrounds
and guards continually
All those who fear and honour him;
he sets his people free.
Come, taste and see—the LORD is good;
who trusts in him is blessed.
O fear the LORD, you saints;
with need you will not be oppressed.
Young lions may grow weak
and faint and hunger for their food,
But those who wait upon the LORD
will not lack any good.
Come here, my children!
Gather round and listen to my word;
And I will help you understand
how you may fear the LORD.
Does anyone delight in life
and long to see good days?
Then keep your tongue from evil speech,
your lips from lying ways.
Depart and turn from evil paths
and practise what is right.
Desire to know the way of peace;
pursue it with your might.
The LORD’s eyes are upon the just;
he listens to their plea.
The wicked he rejects, and blots
from earth their memory.
The righteous cry; the LORD responds
and frees them when distressed.
The LORD draws near the broken heart
and rescues the depressed.
From all the troubles of the just
the LORD will set him free.
The LORD protects his every bone;
and broken none will be.
The wicked are condemned to death,
all those who hate the just.
God saves his own; they’re not condemned,
for in the LORD they trust.
You can hear a slightly different translation (starting at v7) , but in the same metre, sung to the lovely American tune Land of Rest here.
| How often have we read this Psalm and marvelled at how the words really relate to us at the time? These words are attributed to David after a real life situation from which he had been delivered. The Lord was always looking after him, as he does each one of us. The incident is related in 1 Samuel 21:10-15, where David feigns madness and is, therefore, driven out, taking refuge in the Cave of Adullam. The words speak of a God who is good to know and experience, as well as the one to whom we can go whenever we are faced with fears which we can’t handle ourselves.
Not that these are the only key moments expressed here with which we can identify. Inspired many years ago but just as relevant to us in these diverse days in which we are living. How much we need the deliverance and surrounding protection which God alone is able to bring us when we trust in Him alone.
Probably never before have the words, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous” been more appropriate, as they are in this day and age. All too often we see the Christian cause brought into disrepute, ridiculed and misquoted, and often contradicted in the press and on television. What comfort is to be found in the truth that God rescues all His people from situations in which they may find themselves, and not always of their own doing. In these words we find hope that when we take refuge in God, rather than trying to plead our own corner, God gives us His joy. No wonder the Psalm starts with such praise, blessing, boasting of the Lord, magnifying His name and shared excitement! May our spirits similarly rise as we “Exalt His name together!” knowing that He is the only one in whom we can find complete safety and security.
| Ever present God,
our strong defence and deliverer.
Help us in those moments
when we are overtaken by fears,
crippled by our phobias,
and trapped in our own caves of isolation,
to know that we are safe in your hands,
surrounded by a greater strength
and security than this world knows
or can supply.
In humility Lord, we come to you,
asking you to free us from the fears that shackle us,
from the situations which give us despair,
releasing us into the freedom of worshipping you
as you so richly deserve.
Verena Walder is a Lay Preacher and Elder at Tabernacle URC, Mumbles.
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Bible: © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved