Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
In our Psalm for this week, I’d like to focus on just verse 24. Here we read the Psalmist’s reflection that the Lord didn’t ignore His people when they called for help. Instead, he listened to his people, even though they were enduring torment and oppression.
We can easily be of two minds when it comes to hearing from our friends. On the one hand, we may prefer to hear from our friends when they are doing well. We like to hear about their victories, their joys, their good news. We are normally ready to rejoice with our friends who are rejoicing. And if they are doing well but ask us for help, usually we don’t mind it too much. We are fairly certain that they won’t be asking us again and again. They won’t be a burden to us. And, frankly, none of us likes it when a friend is always asking for help because of perpetual crises.
What about the other side of the coin? What of the time when our friend is in need? There are times when we may tend to ignore the appeal for help. Maybe we aren’t actually able to do anything we think of as concrete. Maybe we don’t know how to tell our friends that we are still their friends but we can’t or won’t help them. Maybe we think the situation is one which we would have handled easily and that our friend needs to learn to deal with. Maybe we think it isn’t a real need, or that the person brought it on himself and needs to suffer for a while. And whether we are right or wrong, we don’t answer the call, we don’t respond to the email, we ignore the text. It strains the friendship.
How does this verse relate? The Lord God is aware of the needs of his people. He knows whether they are real or not. When we think we are tormented and oppressed, He actually understands the nature of our struggles. He knows precisely what has been happening in our lives. He also knows all the resources we might have to deal with our trouble. What does the Lord do? When we are in trouble He has not simply ignored us. He has provided what we need. We should make no mistake. It isn’t necessarily all that we want. But it is what we need. The Lord has not ignored our trouble. He has given us, in His Word, in the Sacrament, in his attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation, in his substitutionary work for us and his resurrection as the firstfruits from the dead, all that we need for life and godliness. He has not stood by to let us perish. He has done all that is necessary to rescue us. Thanks be to God.
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