Solace in the Psalms…
This past year, people have experienced all kinds of emotions. The pandemic has caused all sorts of upsets in our lives and there has been a trickle down that has impacted us even further. People are struggling with being out of work as many companies have downsized or gone out of business – while others, such as the real estate industry have exploded as people cocoon more and have decided to upsize their living accommodations. I don’t know when there has ever been such a dichotomy in our country.
Some folks are absolutely terrified of being evicted, which I read about this morning as we are starting to emerge from the Covid crisis – they haven’t been able to earn money during the downturn. Until now, they have been protected and now that things are beginning to return to normal, some of the protections for these at risk people are ending.
I read about a restaurant company that has passed out money to their employees to help them make it through the entire shutdown. Nobody was terminated during the entire pandemic. It is a well known local establishment that has a long history in the community and patrons have been wonderful in leaving 100% gratuities on their bills to help the wait staff and kitchen help. It is common for diners to leave a stack of gift cards to be passed out among the employees to help them until things return to normal. And we aren’t talking about one or two people here – we are talking more than 100 employees who have been able to make it because of their employer and loyal patrons.
So there are success stories out there but they seem to be few and far between. On another front, violence is rampant in Chicago and several other cities. On top of all that, the country is hyper sensitive right now about political correctness and almost everything is thought of as polarizing…
Several nights ago, I was watching a real estate program and was surprised to hear that the “master” bedroom was now being called the “primary” bedroom. It seems that the word “master” is deemed insensitive and so the real estate industry is changing its language to be in more harmony with those who feel marginalized.
So it’s clear that we are in a time of deep division with emotions running at very high levels. Biblically, we find a similar situation in the Psalms. The 150 psalms are divided into five separate “books” – reflective of the five books of the Pentateuch. Many of these works were songs that were sung during the Babylonian exile of the people of God when they were taken from their homeland.
The psalms are reminders of the faithfulness of God and include songs of worship, praise, anger, resentment, loss and just about every other human emotion you can think of. People cry out to God and in most of the works, the psalmists acknowledge God as their rock and their fortress. In fact, the “hosad” or lovingkindness of God, shines through as a testament to God’s faithfulness to His people.
No matter what frame of mind you are in, you can find solace in the psalms. Angry – it’s there… Grateful, it’s there… Searching for God, it’s there. Solomon, the son of King David, tells us in the book of Ecclesiastes, that there is nothing new under the sun. As my grandfather used to say – it’s only new to you. Somebody, somewhere at sometime, has experienced what you are going through regardless of what it is. The psalms are a great place to go to understand others who have shared your frustrations, fears and joys.
Our verse for tonight is the most famous psalm, written by Kind David, and memorized by most of us as children. The King James Version says it best, and the opening three verses tell us, in Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
My encouragement this evening is that this psalm, one of comfort and knowledge of the presence of God, is one that we should all recite from time to time. God is with us and no matter what we are feeling, we should be leaning on Him to guide us and get us through whatever trials and tribulations we are dealing with. My prayer is that in the midst of all the angst in the world, we can settle down and commune with God as we delve deeply into His word. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…