Even the least Bible-literate people among us have some clue
about David, to whom this psalm is attributed. We may recognize
him through popular culture’s portrayal of the man in the
David and Goliath story or perhaps the legendary lore versions
of his lustful failing toward Bathsheba. These two views of the
man stand at opposite ends of the reputation spectrum. When we
dig deeper in scripture to gain a more complete picture of David,
we read of a life that evokes both our sympathy and our anger.
He attempts to live as a child of God even with the demands of
being king. The pressure is on!
Through the words of these verses we get a view of the
man after God’s own heart. So much is expected of him, and he
knows where to turn when the demands come. I can empathize
with David whenever I take on a leadership role. When folks
question my decisions, I question their motives. My enemies are
the voices of my self-will woven into the fabric of my ego. My
refuge is the place, a safe space, of quiet surrender where I can
listen, those enemies quieted now.
David turns to the Lord as well. He turns to the God he
has come to know as refuge, rock, and fortress. He asks that
God lead, guide, take out, and redeem. He turns his life over to
God in confidence: “My times are in your hand.” When we, like
David, place our lives and times in God’s hands, we discover a
God who comes to deliver, to shine the light of well-being, and
Who is this guy? David is one who, even in the ups and
downs of his faith, remained a “man after God’s own heart.”
May it be so with us!
Lord, today take us to that quiet place of refuge where we will know your will for us. Amen.
Since the beginning, Israel’s faith has turned to God in situations of extreme trouble. In such turning, Israel has found God utterly reliable and able to rescue. Today’s psalm reading sounds those ancient cadences of reliability. The sermon in Acts 7 takes up those ancient cadences and places them on the lips and in the mouth of Stephen. Stephen’s preaching evokes hostility in his listeners. In the end, however, it is Stephen who knows the joy and well- being of life as a gift from God. Both the Gospel and epistle readings turn the faith of the psalm and drama of Stephen’s ending toward the concrete reality of the church. They tilt toward the need of a domesticated church to reengage its peculiar identity and its unusual mode of being. The language of “place” serves the practice of risky obedience.
• Read Acts 7:55-60. When have you experienced the Holy Spirit’s nudge telling you, “This is wrong”? What did you do?
• Read 1 Peter 2:2-10. How will we continue to drink of pure spiritual milk so we can repeatedly be called out of darkness into God’s light?
• Read Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16. What would it mean for you to
say to God, “My times are in your hand”?
• Read John 14:1-14. What tough faith questions have you asked Jesus? What was his response?
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