Saturday, May 5, 2018

A City Under Siege

I was beset as a city under siege.
O how abundant is your goodness that you have laid up for those who fear you, and accomplished for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of everyone!
In the shelter of your presence you hide them from human plots; you hold them safe under your shelter from contentious tongues.
Blessed be the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as a city under siege.
—Psalm 31:19-21

I probably shouldn't compare myself to the psalmist, but in the modern era it's sometimes surprisingly easy to understand what the ancients meant when they refer to being "beset as a city under siege." The news that bombards us these days is constant. Much of it is broad in scope: a leader who colluded with a foreign power in order to get elected; science being ignored by the very government agencies who should be guided by it; campaign finance laws being ignored with impunity... and much of it can be quite personal:health, home or car repairs, finances—all these are things that weigh heavy on most people's hearts, and about which we might receive updates via snail or email on any given day.

There are many ways, it would appear, to be under siege, whether 3000 years ago or today; whether in a developing country or an industrialized society. So it can often be difficult to imagine myself in the shelter of God's presence. Yet in his commentary on this psalm, Calvin goes to great length to emphasize that not only is God's abundance a promise that will be kept, but that it is to be kept in this world, and not only in the next. 

Thank you, O God, that you shelter me from the things that beset me in this life. Help me to lean on you so that I am not blown over by that which doesn't matter. Amen.

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