28 May 2022
Praying with the Psalms in Easter:
28 May 2022 (Psalm 94)
Although Thursday was Ascension Day, the season of Easter continues until the Day of Pentecost. Before this day begins, I am taking some time this morning to continue my reflections in this season of Easter, including my morning reflections drawing on the Psalms.
In my blog, I am reflecting each morning in this Prayer Diary in these ways:
1, Short reflections on a psalm or psalms;
2, reading the psalm or psalms;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.
Psalm 94 is known in Latin as Deus ultionum. In the slightly different numbering system in the Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, this psalm is counted as Psalm 93.
Psalm 94 is the second in a series of psalms (Psalms 93-99) that are called royal psalms as they praise God as King. This is a psalm about the connections between religious faith and a failure of humanity.
In Jewish daily prayer, Psalm 94 is used on Wednesdays, and there is a tradition that the Levites sang this psalm in the Temple on Wednesdays. Some Jewish communities recite Psalm 94 on Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day (27 Nisan).
Commentators divide this psalm into two sections.
1, verses 1-11: the Psalmist calls on God to manifest himself as judge of the earth; 2, verses 12-23: the Psalm is occupied with thoughts of consolation for times of trouble.
When people begin to worship themselves, they dream of becoming a god, but end up lower than the beasts.
The Psalmist (Psalm 94: 5-6) speaks of the mentality of those who wage war without thinking of the consequences for women, children and the outsider:
They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
They murder the widow and the stranger;
the orphans they put to death.
And yet they say, ‘The Lord will not see,
neither shall the God of Jacob regard it’.
War is an every-day reality for children, women and non-combatant men throughout the world today – in particular, today, the people of Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Middle East, including the people of Gaza, Palestine, Israel, Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
Who speaks out today for the victims of racism, war and genocide?
Who speaks out today for children who are the innocent victims of the failed politics of adults?
‘Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?’ (verse 16)
Psalm 94 (NRSVA):
1 O Lord, you God of vengeance,
you God of vengeance, shine forth!
2 Rise up, O judge of the earth;
give to the proud what they deserve!
3 O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked exult?
4 They pour out their arrogant words;
all the evildoers boast.
5 They crush your people, O Lord,
and afflict your heritage.
6 They kill the widow and the stranger,
they murder the orphan,
7 and they say, ‘The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob does not perceive.’
8 Understand, O dullest of the people;
fools, when will you be wise?
9 He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
10 He who disciplines the nations,
he who teaches knowledge to humankind,
does he not chastise?
11 The Lord knows our thoughts,
that they are but an empty breath.
12 Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord,
and whom you teach out of your law,
13 giving them respite from days of trouble,
until a pit is dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not forsake his people;
he will not abandon his heritage;
15 for justice will return to the righteous,
and all the upright in heart will follow it.
16 Who rises up for me against the wicked?
Who stands up for me against evildoers?
17 If the Lord had not been my help,
my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
18 When I thought, ‘My foot is slipping’,
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
19 When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
20 Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
those who contrive mischief by statute?
21 They band together against the life of the righteous,
and condemn the innocent to death.
22 But the Lord has become my stronghold,
and my God the rock of my refuge.
23 He will repay them for their iniquity
and wipe them out for their wickedness;
the Lord our God will wipe them out.
The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Mission in Australia.’ It was introduced on Sunday by Peter Burke, Manager at Mission and Anglican Community Engagement AnglicareSA.
The USPG Prayer Diary this morning (28 May 2022) invites us to pray:
Let us remember that we are part of a global community of mission. May we learn from and listen to each other in all we do.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org