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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 72:1–7, 10–14

Give the king your justice, O God,
   and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
   and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
   and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
   give deliverance to the needy,
   and crush the oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures,
   and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
   like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
   and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute,
   may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts.
May all kings fall down before him,
   all nations give him service.

For he delivers the needy when they call,
   the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
   and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
   and precious is their blood in his sight. (NRSV)

One of my favorite times of the year is the beginning. A new year represents new beginnings and a fresh start. New beginnings mean moving forward, leaving the past behind. If the prior year was full of challenges, it can be liberating to embark on a new adventure. There are times in life when we need a new beginning.

This psalm is about change. In full context the writer is addressing a change of leadership. David was king and is being succeeded by Solomon. Justifiably the psalmist asks God for continued blessings throughout the new season of leadership. The blessing on Solomon’s future reign is conveyed in verse 6: “He will be like rain on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.” It is not a bad idea to seek God when embarking on something new. Change in your life may come in a variety of ways, good and bad.

At various times in life every one of us stands in need of a new beginning. Maybe you have failed at something. The doctor’s report was not what you wanted to hear. A disappointment or trial may have caused you to isolate yourself from family and friends. You may find yourself in need of a new beginning.

Take heart. Not all of life is a predicament to tolerate. So much of life is a blessing to take pleasure in. So if you are at the beginning of something new and are tentative about what is ahead, ask God for the gentle rain of divine love to refresh your spirit and provide you with a renewed sense of purpose. Adopt Psalm 72:6 as your prayerful underpinning, with its expression of God’s direction, support, and blessing.

Be reminded there is always a new level to everything we experience. Adopt the psalmist’s approach to seek God for the constant newness we have in the Almighty, the one who is able to do more than we can think or ask.

Faithful God, thank you for your faithfulness in gently leading us from one degree of grace to the next. How grateful we are for your eternal love, grace, and mercy. Amen.

Written by Robert Crouch, Director of Volunteer Ministry

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