Wednesday of Lent 1 – March 13, 2019 – Psalm 118:5
Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
Psalm 118 is processional song aimed to aid the people of God in remembering deliverance from danger and giving thanks to God for covenant faithfulness. The psalm is divided into three major sections, each one leading the reader through a powerful experience that directs their attention to the psalmist’s conviction that salvation belongs to God alone.
Verses 5-18, is focused on a time when the psalmist was in deep distress, to the point of death, and how God delivered the psalmist. The psalmist recounts how nations surrounded them so greatly that they seemed like “bees, like fire blazing through thorns.”(v12) The psalmist says, “You pushed me hard to fall down, but the LORD helped me.”(v13). This verse highlights to conflict the psalmist felt. Some adversary was pushing against them so hard they almost fell down, the sense being that they would die. Yet, because the LORD was on the psalmist’s side, there was deliverance.
So, what about you? Have there been times of significant testing? Have life’s circumstances made you feel as if you were being attacked by a swarm of bees or you were walking through a forest of thick thorns? Lent is a time of testing. Abraham and Sarah were tested throughout the days of their pilgrimage. The children of Israel spent forty years wandering in the wilderness. Jesus himself was tempted surrounded by wild beasts. Yet God’s people have always found strength through Him who has endured every kind of suffering and temptation to win our salvation. During this time of Lent, draw near to your Lord. Lean on Him. Draw strength from His promises. Be fortified as He offers Himself in the Sacrament. Yes, in Lent it is easy to focus on our distresses. Yet we walk not alone and we walk by faith and not by sight.
Bless us, O God, in this holy season, in which our hearts seek Your help and healing; and so purify us by Your discipline that we may grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.