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Psalm 31 - Lectionary Studies by Pastor Craven

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

Did the Psalmist know Neil Diamond’s song “Sweet Caroline?”  The lyrics are perfect: “Hands, touching hands, reaching out, touching me, touching you.” He may have known Neil Diamond, but he did not know COVID-19!

The psalmist is speaking to his God. The last words that Jesus spoke from the cross were taken from this psalm, “Into thy hands, I commend my spirit.”  The martyr Stephen’s last words as he is being pelted with rocks, came from this psalm. But the Psalm also has something important to say about the living. 

The word “hand” connotes power: “My times are in your hand.” The “hand” or power of God is contrasted with “the hand of the enemy.”  As the church, we certainly seek to employ the wisdom that we have. But from the beginning, we know that we cannot see or know the ending. So, therefore, we go forward boldly as did our ancestors, trusting in the Lord. Allstate Insurance cannot provide the protection these hands offer!  “Hands, touching hands, Good times never seemed so good.” And those good times will return. Until then, keep your hands to yourself, no touching, no reaching out… stay home and at least six feet away from others!

1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge; do not let me ever be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me.  2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily. Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me.  3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,  4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me, for you are my refuge.  5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. 
15 My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.  16 Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.
Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16 (NRSV)
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