Lizzie Reynolds begins a new series of reflections on the Psalms. This week, Lizzie is considering Psalm 3.
Welcome, Tyndale. Welcome back to abide a journey through the Psalms. And I hope you’ve found a quiet place to close the door and be by yourself to be where God has already prepared a place for you to meet with you. I hope that you’ve brought a blanket and hope that you’re comfortable whether you’re laying down or sitting up, just that you would be alert yet comfortable in this time of prayer.
The Psalms are going to be a wonderful time for us this semester. And believe it or not more than half the songs are about lament. And these words help us to express legitimate ways to talk about grief, or pain or discomfort or discontentment or anger, but also joy, Thanksgiving, beauty love all of this within a framework of a relationship with God. So however you feel today, or however you come to this prayer time, all of it belongs in Was it an is within your story and your relationship to God.
The songs are human words to God, and about God. These songs that we will read together are a priceless treasure trove of resources and how to relate to God in all circumstances. So let us begin. Let’s take a gentle breath in through the nose. Exhale out. Just allowing the body to settle the mind to settle and the heart to settle. And just opening ourselves to God in this time. This is a prayer practice. No one on the face of the earth is a prayer expert for all beginners. And we’re learning to carve out time to look inward and see that God is waiting for us there.
Begin to relax your face, softening the eyes. You can gently have your eyes closed or just gently looking, gazing down, relaxing your shoulders, your arms, your hands, your legs, all the way down to your feet. Just allowing your body to stop, to pause, and we take this posture as a way of saying it’s not what I do. What I accomplish, pleases God but just my presence, my attention My willingness to be open, to listen to be still, throughout our prayer time, many thoughts will buzz through your mind. And just allow them to be there. Like we said, in the Psalms, everything belongs. And so as those thoughts and details of your day buzz through, just allow them to rest at your sides, bring your focus back to Jesus.
We’re going to now take some time for gratitude practice. And I’m going to give you a minute on the clock. And I want you to think about something that you’re grateful for. But also why, why are you grateful for that? And maybe it’ll be one thing. Maybe I’ll move into two or three. But use this minute to offer up gratitude, and also, why, why that is special, why that is meaningful. And the minute starts now.
Wonderful. I’ll just invite you to take another deep breath in. And then a cleansing exhale out. Just preparing our hearts and our ears to hear the Word of God. As I read you Psalm 3.
Lord, how many are my foes? How many rise up against me? Many are saying of me. God will not deliver him. But you Lord, are a shield around me. My glory, the one who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord and he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep. I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though the 10s of 1000s of sale me on every side. Arise, Lord, deliver me, my god. Strike all my enemies on the jaw. Break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
I’m going to read the song for a second time. And I invite you to think about David. And David could speak to this Psalm about many experiences in his life. But maybe as you hear these words, what does it feel like to be David? To be king to be called to serve? To be responsible to be a leader? And listen to His voice and his cry to the Lord.
Lord, how many are my foes? How many rise up against me? Many are saying of me, God will not deliver him. But you, Lord, are a shield around me. My glory, the one who lifts my head high. I call out to the Lord. And he answers me from his holy mountain. I lie down and sleep. I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. I will not fear though 10s of 1000s of sale me on every side. Arise, Lord, deliver me, my god. Strike all my enemies on the draw, and break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
This is a Psalm of David, one of lament and one of trust. And it’s a song for us today. Right now, for you. For me, we begin by saying, Oh beloved, how numerous are my foes?
How numerous are my fears? Or maybe how numerous are your insecurities? your doubts, your disappointments, your frustration, your anger. Remember that in the Psalms, all emotions, feelings, reactions. They’re present here. And so I invite you now to allow whatever is numerous and rising up all around you.
I know that Eugene Peterson in the message says enemies sprouting like mushrooms, mobs of them all around me. So take this time now. Sit with Jesus and talk to him about what those mobs have growing fears and doubts and concerns are for you this day? It’s so wonderful that we have a God who is so spacious. He has such room in his heart for us to use all words, all feelings that we can express to him. There is freedom there. There’s love.
And as David shares his lament, he then shifts his thoughts, and says, but you Lord. So he shifts from looking at all the fears and the doubts. And he turns and looks to you, Lord, You are a shield all around me. Not just a shield that protects one side of him. Like they would be in those days, but a shield that would surround David. You, Lord, are a shield around me. You ground my feet, and you will lift my head high. Gratitude becomes my song.
I invite you now as you’re surrounded by your many fears that you’ve shared with God. Now look into his face. And imagine his radiant love reaching out and covering and radiating love, and warmth.
Over all of those things that you’ve shared all of those elements. So take this time to imagine God’s love being like a radiant shield, around your whole being, touching each one of those sorrows, fears, doubts, frustrations, allow him to touch each one. David says I call out to the Lord. And he answers me. I lie down and I can sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me.
I wonder if just the releasing of all of that fear all of that doubt and turning his face to his father. Sensing his radiant shielding love that he can now rest and once again feel grounded in something that’s bigger than him in a being that sustains him that sustains all things.
So may you to imagine being rooted and grounded in love, in courage, in hope. I will not fear though 10s of 1000s of sale me on every side. Arise, Lord, deliver me, my God. Strike all my enemies on the jaw and break the teeth of the wicked. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on all your people.
I sense here. David calls to you God for deliverance over and over and over again as those fears grow like mushrooms around him, day and night. And with each lament, there is a phrase of trust and then lament, and then trust back and forth. So it is with us Lord, we ask that we would have courage to live this exchange with you out again today. calling out to you for leasing our fears and allowing you to shield us to radiate love, to deliver us and to ground us in truth through this Lord may you bless us so that we can then bless others in our family, in our friendship with and to strangers that we will encounter today that we would bless because you have blessed us.
And now a final reading of Psalm 3 in a translation by Nan Merrill.
All Beloved, how numerous are my fears. They rise up within me whispering there is no help for you. Yet you oh beloved, radiate love around me, my glory. Gratitude becomes my song. When I cry out to you, you answer within my heart. I lie down to sleep. If I should awaken, my beloved is there holding me with strength and tenderness? I feel secure. Now, I shall forgive all illusions that my ego tries to build for my courage is in you, Lord. You who are the lover hidden in every heart.
I invite you now just to take a nice, deep inhale of love of this loving space that’s been created for you by God, breathe it in and Breathe it out into the space that you’re living, breathe it out into the world that we’re living in, who is so in need of love, courage. So we close this time of prayer, saying Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the spirit as it was in the very beginning, as it is now a fresh today will always be world without end.
Peace be with you, my friends.
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