Embracing Your Purpose
1I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise;
2I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
3On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.
4All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord, for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, for great is the glory of the Lord.
6For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.
7Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.
8The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
I try to stay out of the fray of the political circus we live in here in the U.S. My puny opinions matter not at all in the mix. This Psalm is pointed, by King David, at the earthly rulers of his day. Would that those who lead our nation (or any other) take a moment and give thought to the God of the Universe who has placed them into those leadership roles. Perhaps things would be different – better.
King David was clearly a man appointed by God for exactly the point in history that saw his reign. His purpose on earth was defined for him when he was just a boy, watching his father’s sheep out in the field. In serving that purpose, he spoke for his generation and for all of the generations to come. David made some huge mistakes, but in the end, he was still called by God as a “man after God’s own heart.”
We know that this psalm speaks to those who would be rulers from verse 1 where “gods” are mentioned. This word most likely refers to earthly rulers when you look at the context of the entire prayer. David is proudly standing before any world leader and praising the God of Creation. He sings God’s praise without shame, bowing down before God’s Holy Temple. From other psalms, we know that David’s position as king was never an easy one. He faced monumental struggles from those who opposed his leadership and even from his own family members. But he persevered and led with God always in sight. (Well, most of the time.) We find David’s early life harassed by King Saul and his time as king made difficult by in-fighting and family threats. Thus we see his lament in verse 7. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me. Perhaps this verse more than any other drew my attention back to the three-ring circus we saw on the news recently as two people were put through the ringer for political purposes, with no thought to their personal lives whatsoever. I pray the Lord’s right hand delivers them both. It was difficult to watch.
As I said, I don’t like to get political here. There are other writers you can read for those purposes. But I am struck by the fact that God’s Word still addresses real life and the events that are happening to us today. With that in mind, we embrace verse 8 with both hands.
The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of Your hands.