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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Scripture Reading: Psalm 123–125
Psalm 123
To you I lift up my eyes,
     O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants
     look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
     to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
     until he has mercy upon us.

Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us,
     for we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than its fill
     of the scorn of those who are at ease,
     of the contempt of the proud.

Psalm 124
If it had not been the Lord who was on our side
     —let Israel now say—
if it had not been the Lord who was on our side,
     when our enemies attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us up alive,
     when their anger was kindled against us;
then the flood would have swept us away,
     the torrent would have gone over us;
then over us would have gone
     the raging waters.

Blessed be the Lord,
     who has not given us
     as prey to their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird
     from the snare of the fowlers;
the snare is broken,
     and we have escaped.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
     who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 125
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
     which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
     so the Lord surrounds his people,
     from this time on and forevermore.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest
     on the land allotted to the righteous,
so that the righteous might not stretch out
     their hands to do wrong.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good,
     and to those who are upright in their hearts.
But those who turn aside to their own crooked ways
     the Lord will lead away with evildoers.
Peace be upon Israel! (NRSV)

I am struck by the powerful imagery of Psalms 123, 124, and 125. Psalm 125 states, “The people who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion: never shaken, lasting forever. Mountains surround Jerusalem. That’s how the Lord surrounds his people from now until forever from now.”

Imagine God protecting you as the mountains enclose the city. God is a wall, a boundary through which nothing can pass. You cannot see this mountain, but God is here surrounding you twenty-four hours a day; you are never alone. God’s presence is constant; we just need to remember and to reach out in prayer. This does not mean that bad things will not happen. The psalms are full of stories of the trials of God’s peoples. But what the psalms remind us of is that we will be carried through these times. It is our trust in God, and God’s ultimate protection, that keeps us from losing our foundation, even when times are tough. Psalm 124 ends, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” And so it is. So give thanks this day, and remember, God’s presence surrounds you.

Loving God, just as the psalmist did, “I raise my eyes to you—you who rule heaven.” It is hard to see you, God, I wish you were more tangible. But faith is the promise of what is hoped for and not seen. So strengthen my faith in you, so when the difficulties of life shake me, you will be my foundation and I will not be moved. Amen.

Written by Liz Nickerson, Family Ministry Coordinator

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