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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Friday, April 27, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 22:25–31

From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
   my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
   those who seek him shall praise the Lord.
   May your hearts live forever!

All the ends of the earth shall remember
   and turn to the Lord;
and all the families of the nations
   shall worship before him.
For dominion belongs to the Lord,
   and he rules over the nations.

To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down;
   before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
   and I shall live for him.
Posterity will serve him;
   future generations will be told about the Lord,
and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn,
   saying that he has done it. (NRSV)

Psalm 22 begins with one of those depressing statements of David: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Further into the psalm, David describes a very detailed account of all the disappointing things taking place in his life. It is a perfect example of what I call a pity party, which makes it difficult to continue reading what appears to be a very disheartening story. How difficult it is to honor God when in distress.

Like David, at times, I struggle with life challenges. When things don’t go well I find it easy to throw a pity party, sitting in the dark nursing my pain. In these times of despair it takes great effort to praise God.

Though it begins with a proclamation of pain, this psalm becomes a subject of praise. Psalm 22:25 proclaims, “From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you.” David turns his focus from problems and persecution to praise. His complaining transforms to a theme of praise.

Miraculously David bears witness to a faithful God, who even in the darkest hour is near. God will rescue and make things better, as punctuated in the verse “The poor will eat and be satisfied.” The psalmist recovers to show the power and mercy of God unleashed through the power of praise.

For those struggling with a life challenge, don’t get caught in the vicious cycle of hopelessness. If you are like me, there will be times when you blow it, get depressed, experience disappointment, and turn to vices for comfort, only to find new levels of despair. It is so easy to give up and wallow in self-pity. The psalmist offers an invitation to praise, which is the only true escape. Accept it.

Loving God, thank you for the power of praise. Help us stay focused on you so that every life challenge will be met successfully through your power and grace. Amen.

Written by Robert Crouch, Director of Volunteer Ministry

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