Tempted As We Are
Shepherd Father, my name and my needs are known to You. With this assurance, I confidently come before You today.
Read Psalm 70:1-5
 For the director of music. Of David. A petition.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering’” (Exod. 3:7).
All over the world there are people suffering oppression and crying to God to come to their rescue. Some are Christians persecuted for their faith; some are women discriminated against; some are whole populations kept in poverty by discriminatory economic or political practices. This psalm is their prayer, and should be ours with them and for them.
As we pray, we know that Jesus has walked where they walk and stood where they stand. Are there people seeking to take their life? Mark has shown that Jesus faced that. The story we have recently read tells how the bright dawn of the kingdom quickly clouded over. First, the scribes muttered to themselves; then, they challenged Jesus’ disciples; then, they accused Jesus himself of breaking the law; finally, we read that they began to plot his death. As we read on, we shall hear Jesus three times predict his death at the hands of the authorities and, finally, in a scene of utter desolation, we shall see him hanging on the cross while enemies cry, “Aha! Aha!”
Did Jesus pray as the psalmist prays, and may we? Mark’s Jesus is no stranger to strong emotion. He was sometimes angry, sometimes “overwhelmed with sorrow.” At the same time, we notice that the psalmist does not curse his enemies or pray for them to die. He prays for them to be put to shame and confusion, to be disgraced. This is the proper fate of those who deny the existence of God, silence his prophets and deny the poor their rights. To pray for the coming of God’s kingdom is to pray for a day of reckoning:
“The day in whose clear-shining light / all wrong shall stand revealed, When justice shall be throned in might /and every hurt be healed” (F. L. Hosmer 1840-1929).
It is permissible to ask God to “hurry up,” provided you are equally urgent in doing what you can, where and when you can. Bring any “hurry ups” to God now.
Lord, I pray for my Christian brothers and sisters who face fierce opposition because of their faith. Encourage, comfort, and deliver them soon, according to Your will.
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