Reflections: July 31, 2021
Saturday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
By Harrison Goodman
For he has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. (From the Introit for the Ninth Sunday after Trinity)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The psalms are of little present worth if you can't pray them along with David. When you reduce Sunday school stories to history or trivia, your prayers will falter when you actually need them to do something more than thank God for stuff. These words given to David are shaped by the Holy Spirit, and that same Spirit passes them on to you. These are godly prayers, even if they aren't cheerful. They're full of desperation, fear, and a plea for vengeance: in short, all the stuff Bible trivia teaches us to pretend we don't feel. You have these feelings. The psalms give you a place to put them. God gives you the psalter so you can pray along with David.
The psalms are of little present worth if David can't pray them with Christ. David's desperation and fear are met with the promises of the Lord to help, but the true comfort of the psalms is not a far-off answer to present enemies, but a present God who suffers even these for us. Christ prays these words, too. He prays for those who plot against Him and who scourge Him. He prays upon the Cross for a victory over the last great enemy, death, and He is delivered through it for you. He is risen to look in triumph on sin, death, and the power of the devil. That Christ prays these psalms, too, means God isn't just Someone who answers prayer, but Someone who becomes the answer to our prayers. He connects His suffering to your redemption. He joins His death to your life. His all-atoning sacrifice gives us not only words to pray, but boldness with which to pray them. What can our enemies do to us when we are already joined to the resurrection?
David prays the psalms and the help is already there, even as ruthless men seek his life. These aren't merely the journal entries that correspond to David's story. They're inspired words that transcend time because God joins these prayers to Himself. The names of the enemies might change, but all of them come undone when Jesus becomes both the helpless and the helper upon the Cross, upholding our life even as He loses His own. David's answer is in the crucified and risen Lord. So is yours. They're prayers Christ prayed for us all, so that David can find comfort in them, and so can you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Christ, You walked the road Our wand'ring feet must go. You faced with us temptation's pow'r And fought our ancient foe. ("O Christ, You Walked the Road" (LSB 424, st.1)
-Rev. Harrison Goodman is the pastor of Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church in San Antonio, TX.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
He is also the content executive for Higher Things.
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