Today’s Bible reading is Psalm 140. It’s a difficult psalm to read, not because it’s full of complicated words, but because it’s about difficult people and dark situations. David is pouring his heart out to God in Psalm 140:
- Deliver me from evil men
- Preserve me from violent men
- They make their tongue sharp as a serpent’s
- Under their lips is the venom of asps
- Men who have planned to trip up my feet
- The arrogant have hidden a trap for me
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 darkness of that season to the last verse of Psalm 140. I’m thankful that he has preserved that last verse 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)
The upright. People choose to be upright. I can choose to be upright. So can you.
I can’t control what other people do, but I can make the upright choice–to be a person of decency, honesty, and virtue. I can’t control what other people say, but I can determine to be upright in my reactions–ethical, patient, and kind. I can’t control how other people treat me, but I can resolve to travel the righteous path. It’s not crowded and it’s often uphill, but Psalm 140:13 is an ancient sign-post, still standing, that reveals where this righteous path leads: “the upright shall dwell in your 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). You can’t control what other people do or say today, but do you want to see God more than you want retaliation or revenge?That’s the choice that the upright make. “More than the self-centered desires of my flesh, I want to dwell in the presence of God.” That’s the way of the righteous. If we will take the time to look, that ray of light is always shining from his presence, even in the darkest of situations.