Friday, May 20, 2011

Psalm 144

1 Praise be to the LORD my Rock,
who trains my hands for war,
my fingers for battle.
2 He is my loving God and my fortress,
my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield, in whom I take refuge,
who subdues peoples under me.

3 LORD, what are human beings that you care for them,
mere mortals that you think of them?
4 They are like a breath;
their days are like a fleeting shadow.

5 Part your heavens, LORD, and come down;
touch the mountains, so that they smoke.
6 Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy;
shoot your arrows and rout them.
7 Reach down your hand from on high;
deliver me and rescue me
from the mighty waters,
from the hands of foreigners
8 whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.

9 I will sing a new song to you, my God;
on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
who delivers his servant David.

From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth
will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
by tens of thousands in our fields;
14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.
There will be no breaching of walls,
no going into captivity,
no cry of distress in our streets.
15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true;
blessed is the people whose God is the LORD.

Questions to consider:
  • How do you relate the ideas of God as loving and simultaneously a "fortress." Do those two ideas make sense together for you?
  • What does David think about humanity?
  • Do you think David is literally asking God to come down from heaven? Why or why not?
  • When will all the good things in verses 12-14 occur according to this psalm?
  • What is the "this" in verse 15?
Possibilities for prayer:

I particularly like verse 3 in this psalm, and the way in which David's sense of disbelief about God's very acknowledgement of and care for humanity comes after his description of God as a fortress, shield and stronghold. When we take a moment to reflect on who and what God is and is capable of, it can get a little overwhelming to think about the fact that God not only created us, or acknowledges us, but that God LOVES us. The declarations that David makes about our God being a place of refuge and safety, and about being loving are true statements. And God offers that refuge and love to us, to all of us, regardless of whether we are worthy of it.

So take a moment to reflect on that. Think about the boundless goodness and love of God, and acknowledge that that love is directed at YOU; not just at a nebulous person that could potentially love, but at you as an individual person that God designed and is pleased with and, above all, loves. Let your time of prayer today be soaked in that love that God has for you, and see if that love doesn't start to change you, even if only in small ways, as you embrace it and claim it in your life.