Scripture: Psalm 57
Key verse: (1) Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
until the destroying storms pass by.
Reflection: Like your Mom using your full name so you know she means business, a repetitive refrain in a psalm is there to help you really hear and understand the psalmist’s position and need, which in this case is a desire for mercy and refuge. The word refuge in Hebrew is connected to the word trust. The word trust in Hebrew can be literally translated: to lay prostrate on the floor. Now, I know with all of the back to church / work / school / life activities going on, my kitchen floor is no stranger to me lying prostrate, or fetal, on the floor but how is that an image of trust?
Well, for one it’s an image of vulnerability isn’t it? To lie down, to be still, to be defenseless when destroying storms and frenzied plans and anxious winds are blowing all around takes some trust. Our impulse is to run, to hide or seek cover. But to stretch out, lean in, be exposed — that’s something else entirely. That’s trust. That’s refuge. That’s God. Notice how the psalmist describes the destroying storms. They pass by. They pass by.
Final thought: where does our psalmist find refuge? In bed? Ten seasons in of a Netflix show at 2 a.m.? Alone? Naw. In the shadow of God’s wings is where refuge is to be found. It’s a poetic image that may mean many things to you, but one thing it connects to is the ark of the covenant that would have that image carved above it. The ark is in church. Church is where community is. This is to say that when we are seeking help and safety, when we need to be vulnerable and held and messy and loved it seems that among God’s family is a good place to be.
Prayer: Merciful God who prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies and who makes me lie down and dwell in safety — to you Lord I pray. Let mercy find and visit me and may trust come quickly to make the destroying storms pass by. And in what you do for me dear Lord, enable me to do for another. Amen.
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].