1 Lord, hear my prayer,
listen to my cry for mercy;
in your faithfulness and righteousness
come to my relief.
2 Do not bring your servant into judgment,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 The enemy pursues me,
he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness
like those long dead.
4 So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
5 I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all your works
and consider what your hands have done.
6 I spread out my hands to you;
I thirst for you like a parched land.
7 Answer me quickly, Lord;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I entrust my life.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
for I hide myself in you.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God;
may your good spirit
lead me on level ground.
11 For your name’s sake, Lord, preserve my life;
in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.
12 In your unfailing love, silence my enemies;
destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.
I used to swim competitively- 100-yard freestyle. The workouts were very long and exhausting. I remember cooling down at the end by swimming a third of the way down the pool freestyle, flipping over and swimming backstroke for a bit, and flipping back over on my stomach to finish the lap. This flipping felt fun to me but probably perturbed more than amused my coach.
I feel a little like that these days, do you? The guidelines for Covid are relaxing, but I am unsure of how that informs my day-to-day actions. I hear the words and accept them, and then wonder how on earth it will work. I trust, then I doubt, flipping back and forth, wanting someone to tell me what to do and now! I am frustrated, wondering when we, like the Israelites, may cross the Jordon to the other side.
In this Psalm, David does some flipping as well. He is in deep trouble and calls out to God for guidance to relieve his fear and pain. In the first six verses, he recalls God’s faithfulness. Then his tone flips in verses 7-9, and David grows impatient and demands: “Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me, or I will be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go for to you I entrust my life.9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord,
Might it be a temptation for us to get demanding with God after six weeks in quarantine? God has been so good, but the novelty has worn off, the adrenaline has run out, and we are still locked in.
But David flips back over and in verse 10: Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good spirit lead me on level ground.
That’s the answer, and that is my prayer, too. Forgive our demanding a quick solution. Teach us, Lord, how YOU would have us live. Guide us when and where to step out again. Show us what to leave behind and what you want us to bring out of this great pause. In the end, we want to give you all the praise. May this song be our prayer.
From “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of death and hell’s Destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee.