November 22, 2021

November 22, 2021

November 22, 2021

Eric Bronkala
Clergy
Tennessee Valley District

Psalm 63 (NRSV)
Extend Your Outlook

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
    my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,[a]
    and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life
    shall go down into the depths of the earth;
10 they shall be given over to the power of the sword,
    they shall be prey for jackals.
11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by him shall exult,
    for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

Devotion

When I was a teenager, I went whitewater rafting with my youth group. It was my first time participating in this highly anticipated activity, and I was rather nervous. I remember falling out of our raft midway through the experience, panicking, and not having a clue where I was in relationship to the raft. That is until the strong arm of our guide grabbed hold of me, and pulled me back to safety. I had been so caught up in my immediate circumstances that I couldn’t see our raft just a few feet away.
 
The location of the writing of Psalm 63 is described as “in the wilderness of Judah.” It was probably written during David’s flight from either Saul or, more likely, from Absalom. Unlike many of the psalms written in these types of situations, this one is filled with words of thanksgiving rather than lament and petition. While enemies are mentioned in passing, David focuses on his longing for spiritual renewal, voices his trust in God, and shares his hope for the future.
 
How do you respond amidst the pressures you face? Do you panic? Where is your focus? How you look at something makes a world of difference in how you respond. We can allow the problems of this world to sweep us up; or, we can ask ourselves, “What am I missing because I’m so miserably consumed with my immediate circumstances?” Therein lies the problem. Sometimes, we’re so caught up in life’s current challenges that we can’t see far enough ahead.


King David knew what it meant to live under pressure. As the king of Israel, he knew the challenges of leadership. As he wrote this passage, he was running for his life and yet he maintained his focus on God’s presence. He realized God offered him stability, courage and strength in times of crisis. David understood that even as his life seemed to be falling apart around him, God’s strong hand upheld and sustained him.
 
What about you? How will you respond?

Prayer

Lord, when the troubles of life surround us, remind us to look to you for support and encouragement. When we plunge into the depths of despair and there seems to be no firm foundation on which to stand, grant us the truth that frees us, the strength that endures, and the love that makes all things new; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.