13 July 2022

Praying with the Psalms in Ordinary Time:
13 July 2022 (Psalm 140)

‘They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s, and under their lips is the venom of vipers’ (Psalm 140: 3) … a snake charmer with his snakes in the Kasbah in Tangier (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

In the Calendar of the Church, we are in Ordinary Time. Before today begins, I am taking some time this morning to continue my 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 140:

Psalm 140 is the third psalm in the final Davidic collection of psalms (Psalm 138 to Psalm 145) that are specifically attributed to David in their opening verses.

In the slightly different numbering system in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate, this is Psalm 139. Its name in Latin is Eripe me, Domine, ab homine malo .

This Psalm is a prayer for deliverance from the enemies of the psalmist, and those who have plotted his downfall. The Hebrew word Selah, possibly an instruction on the reading of the text, breaks the psalm after verses 3, 5 and 8.

The structure of the psalm is unclear, but it may be divided into four sections:

1, verses 1-5: a prayer for help

2, verses 6-7: an expression of confidence in God

3, verses 8-11: an appeal against the psalmist’s enemies

4, verses 12-13: another expression of confidence in God, which may reflect a priestly or prophetic assurance that the psalmist’s prayer has been heard.

‘The arrogant have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they have spread a net’ (Psalm 140: 5) … fishing nets at the harbour in Howth (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Psalm 140 (NRSVA):

To the leader. A Psalm of David.

1 Deliver me, O Lord, from evildoers;
protect me from those who are violent,
2 who plan evil things in their minds
and stir up wars continually.
3 They make their tongue sharp as a snake’s,
and under their lips is the venom of vipers.

4 Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked;
protect me from the violent
who have planned my downfall.
5 The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
along the road they have set snares for me.

6 I say to the Lord, ‘You are my God;
give ear, O Lord, to the voice of my supplications.’
7 O Lord, my Lord, my strong deliverer,
you have covered my head in the day of battle.
8 Do not grant, O Lord, the desires of the wicked;
do not further their evil plot.

9 Those who surround me lift up their heads;
let the mischief of their lips overwhelm them!
10 Let burning coals fall on them!
Let them be flung into pits, no more to rise!
11 Do not let the slanderer be established in the land;
let evil speedily hunt down the violent!

12 I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy,
and executes justice for the poor.
13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall live in your presence.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) this week is ‘Partners in Mission.’ It was introduced on Sunday.

Wednesday 13 July 2022:

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

We pray for our partners in Malawi and their community health programme.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

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

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