I have used this Psalm often in situations where I am ministering to a family who simply has not heard an answer to prayer after a prolonged crisis or difficulty. The last two verses, 13-14, where we are encouraged to “Wait for the Lord”, is powerful. These last two verses allow us to hang our hat on the hope that we will all see the goodness of the Lord. This is true even if right now that goodness feels really, really far away.
There are a number of parallel verses in this psalm to Psalm 23. If you look at vs.4 we hear that the Lord will allow me to live in his house all the days of my life. This should bring us back to Psalm 23:6 which is basically the same statement. We will live in the house of the Lord forever. This also brings to mind the words of Jesus in John 14:2 where he promises that the Lord has prepared for each one of us a room in his house, or as the KJV states, a “mansion”.
Some of you might find vs. 10 as somewhat jarring. We read: “If my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take me up.” This is not very different from Jesus’ words in Luke 14:26 which states: “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciples.” Don’t miss vs.27 where he continues: “Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” So we find that there is a cost to discipleship which often we don’t take into consideration once we set sail on this journey. Many times we think that being a disciple is all benefit and there is no sacrifice or demands on us. That simply is not the case, Jesus tells us. Now the psalmist doesn’t say all this, but we do find it in Luke and other Scriptures that we just lifted up.
The psalmist is merely lifting up what could potentially be the worst case scenario that he can image. What would happen if my father and mother would turn their back on me, I can’t imagine it, but what if that were to happen? The Lord would still take me up. Even if the Lord is angry with us He will not turn us away. God will never forsake us, God will never cast us off, God is my salvation, my light, of whom shall I be afraid?
Today is a joyous day for First Presbyterian. We have sent off one of the saints to be with Jesus. John Faltin saw the face of his Savior this morning just before 9am. He would have told me that with a smile that it was before I was even awake. I loved John, went fishing with him, went to a number of baseball games with him, shared a tent with him in the deserts of the Middle East, leaned on him for insight and guidance. He was a presence in my life and definitely a presence in the life of the church. But for him I can see vs.6 of this psalm being realized. I’ll leave you with this: “Now my head is lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”