BulletinDaily Bible Reading Reflections

The Light That Guides the Upright Through the Darkest Situations

Psalm 140 is a difficult psalm to read. It’s not full of complicated words, but it is full of difficult people and dark situations. Throughout the psalm, we get to listen in as David pours his heart out to God.

Deliver me, O LORD, from evil men;
preserve me from violent men,
who plan evil things in their heart
and stir up wars continually.
They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s,
and under their lips is the venom of asps.
Guard me, O LORD, from the hands of the wicked;
preserve me from violent men,
who have planned to trip up my feet.
The arrogant have hidden a trap for me,
and with cords they have spread a net;
beside the way they have set snares for me. (140:1-5)

What can you pray at such a difficult time? On what should you set your hope? Where is the light in the midst of such darkness?

I’m thankful that the LORD led David through the shadows of that season to the last verse of Psalm 140. I’m thankful that he has preserved these last words as a light for three millennia:

Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence. (Psa 140:13)

People choose to be upright. I can choose to be upright, and so can you. I can’t control what other people do, but I can make the choice to be a person of patience, kindness, and integrity. You can’t control how other people treat you, but you can resolve to travel the path of treating others the way you would like to be treated. We can’t control what other people say, but we can “surely” choose to “give thanks” to our Father’s name, trusting that he sees. He knows. He cares.

Psalm 140:13 is an ancient signpost, plainly pointing in a direction labeled UPRIGHTNESS. It’s not a crowded path and it’s mostly uphill. The shadows are sometimes deep and the people we encounter can be really, really hurtful. But the signpost stands, bearing this message: “The upright shall dwell in God’s presence.”

A thousand years after David wrote those words, his greatest heir would sit on the side of a mountain and preach, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt 5:8). Seeing God. It’s the greatest desire of the upright heart. More than retaliation. More than revenge. It’s the choice that the upright make. “More than anything else, I want to see God and dwell in his presence.” This is the way of the upright.

If we’ll take the time to look, this ray of light continues to shine from our Father’s throne, leading us home, even in the darkest of situations. Let’s give thanks to his name today.