Sunday 13th September 2020 Psalm 14
Oh that your salvation and your rescue
would swiftly come to renew your people.
The fools have said in their heart:
“There is no God”: they are corrupt,
their deeds are all loathsome;
not one of them does good.
The Lord looks down from the heavens
seeking for those who understand, any seeking out God;
all have turned aside in conjoint corruption
and fallen short of God’s glory,
and among them not one of them does good.
Will evil doers not learn?
Greedy, devouring God’s chosen people like they chew bread.
They shall quake with dread
for the Lord is present in power among all his people.
Yes, the Lord will be our protecting strength.
You can hear v1 sung here
I am writing this Devotion while stuck at home owing to the Coronavirus, and I daresay that many of us will have cried something similar to the first line of today’s Psalm. ‘Oh, that Your salvation and Your rescue would swiftly come and renew Your people’. Many of us, I am sure, will call out to God in times of need, and while some will get the answer they seek, some may hear nothing back.
A little while ago, when all of the lockdown measures first came into place, I was involved with a service conducted over Facebook Live, in connexion with a local Methodist church (see the play on words?). The service itself was lovely, and the regular congregation enjoyed it. The church had paid to boost the post to the local area, and amid all of the positive responses, one gentleman was obviously annoyed with what he saw. This man was determined that ‘there is no God’. He made his views clear, he posted comment after comment, and the minister and others politely engaged with him, even offering to meet for a chat after lockdown came to an end. After a while, it was clear that we were getting nowhere, and the gentleman’s comments were becoming more and more angry, so the minister stopped responding.
Now, I should make it clear that I am not equating the upset commenter with people who are ‘corrupt’, nor am I saying that negative comments are ‘loathsome deeds’. I would be the first to argue that people are entitled to their opinions and that free speech is the cornerstone of a civilised society. But at times, we all have to admit when we can do no more. We must, to quote Jesus, shake the dust from our feet and move on. Eventually, we hope, the Holy Spirit will move in that person/group’s lives, and in the meantime, we can pray.
This may feel like giving in, it may feel like giving up. It may leave us feeling beaten and weak. But we must remember that God is ‘present in power among His people. Yes, the Lord will be our protecting strength’.
Go with us as we labour for Your Kingdom,
go with us as we share Your Word.
Grant us the strength to proclaim Your Gospel anew,
grant us the insight to know when to move on,
and help us to remember that You are always alongside us,
as our protecting strength. Amen