Pondering the Psalms
Psalm 28 vs 7 - 9
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
A familiar sight to those travelling from Belfast to Cairnryan and then northwards along the Scottish coast is Ailsa Craig. The particular granite from which it is formed was used in the past to make curling stones. To me it always appears deceptively small but it is after all 6 miles off the coast and has a surface area of over 240 acres which would make a fairly sizable farm. Every time though I see it I think of the line from a hymn “the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land, a reference to the cross, which is odd really since its shadow is cast on the sea not the land. It’s the permanence of the place, the strength of the rock that triggers the thought. When you think of the years it’s been there off the cost of Ayrshire, the sea a constantly a changing scene around it, at times peaceful, flat like a millpond, at others crashing violently with explosive force at its base. Yet there it stands unmoved, solid amid the constantly changing scene around it; the shadow of a mighty rock, unshaken by time and nature... like the cross.
Once again in this psalm, and in the words above David affirms that in his life, those of his people and that of his nation the Lord has been both their strength in times of weakness and the fortress in danger. I dare say that is the witness of all God people. He doesn’t always lead us out of trouble but always through it. That confidence brings praise to David’s lips “My heart leaps for joy and with my song I praise him.”
Our lives could be compared to a sea, at times calm and peaceful, a picture of beauty, at other tossed by the storms that break upon us. We can feel overwhelmed by trouble or by the pandemic and number of things, our confidence shattered, our spirits brought low so that that we border despair but listen to these words “the Lord is the strength of his people.” True then and still true! Tonight I tried to remember if there was any good news story at all today, but I couldn’t think of one but this psalm brought encouragement and restored praise. So, maybe it’s an appropriate and uplifting way to end this week which saw the highest daily death toll in the pandemic so far, that through all the changing scenes of life in sorrow and in joy the praise of our God should still employ our tongues in highest praise.