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What a Woman Will do for a Man

What a Woman Will do for a Man

 

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When a woman loves a man, she will do things you cannot imagine: She will rise early and stay up late, work her fingers to the bone, and take issue with anyone who comes between her and her man. One example of a woman who loved her husband is the story of Michal, the daughter of King Saul, who was married to David, the man who would one day succeed her father as king. In 1 Samuel 19, there is a story of how Saul in his jealousy, orders men to surround the house of his daughter and David, to capture David and have him killed. Michal, the wife of David, learns of the plot and helps him to escape late at night. Michal chooses her husband over the jealousy of her father. Let us read a portion of how David escaped the killers that is recorded in 1 Samuel 19:

11 Saul sent messengers to David’s house to keep watch over him, planning to kill him in the morning. David’s wife Michal told him, “If you do not save your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” 12 So Michal let David down through the window; he fled away and escaped. 13 Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed; she put a net of goats’ hair on its head, and covered it with the clothes. 14 When Saul sent messengers to take David, she said, “He is sick.” 15 Then Saul sent the messengers to see David for themselves. He said, “Bring him up to me in the bed, that I may kill him.” 16 When the messengers came in, the idol was in the bed, with the covering of goats’ hair on its head. 17 Saul said to Michal, “Why have you deceived me like this, and let my enemy go, so that he has escaped?” Michal answered Saul, “He said to me, ‘Let me go; why should I kill you?’ ” [1] (1 Samuel 19)

Psalm 59 is said to be what David wrote as he reflected on the men who surrounded his house to kill him. It is a Psalm of praise, but also a prayer for deliverance. David knows men have been dispatched by his father in law to take his life. David is trying his best to convince Saul that he is supportive and working for him, and not against him. Because of the love of his wife, Michal, David survives the attempt on his life. As we read Psalm 59, I encourage you to put yourself in the mindset of David as he gives praise to God for his protection.

Psalm 59

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam, when Saul ordered his house to be watched in order to kill him.

1    Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;

protect me from those who rise up against me.

2    Deliver me from those who work evil;

from the bloodthirsty save me.

3    Even now they lie in wait for my life;

the mighty stir up strife against me.

For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,

4      for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.

Rouse yourself, come to my help and see!

5      You, Lord God of hosts, are God of Israel.

Awake to punish all the nations;

spare none of those who treacherously plot evil.    Selah

6    Each evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

7    There they are, bellowing with their mouths,

with sharp words on their lips—

for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”

8    But you laugh at them, O Lord;

you hold all the nations in derision.

9    O my strength, I will watch for you;

for you, O God, are my fortress.

10  My God in his steadfast love will meet me;

my God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.

11  Do not kill them, or my people may forget;

make them totter by your power, and bring them down,

O Lord, our shield.

12  For the sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,

let them be trapped in their pride.

For the cursing and lies that they utter,

13     consume them in wrath;

consume them until they are no more.

Then it will be known to the ends of the earth

that God rules over Jacob.        Selah

14  Each evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

15  They roam about for food,

and growl if they do not get their fill.

16  But I will sing of your might;

I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

For you have been a fortress for me

and a refuge in the day of my distress.

17  O my strength, I will sing praises to you,

for you, O God, are my fortress,

the God who shows me steadfast love. [2]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Psalm 59 is said to be written when King Saul surrounded his house with assassins poised to kill him. What are your thoughts about how Michal, the wife of David and daughter of Saul, protected David?
  2. In the context of 1 Samuel 19, where Michal protects David, what are your thoughts about the words of Praise David utters in Psalm 59?

 

Prayer: Lord, I give the praise to you. You are my strength. You are my protection. When the walls of life seemed to strangle options and choices are limited, you open doors that I can not open for myself. I thank you for the people in my life who have my interest, who want to see me survive, who pray and hope for my success. Thank you, Jesus, for bringing people into my life who love me and care for me. Lord, you are my joy. Lord, you are my hope. Lord, you are my reason for living and the life I live. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (1 Sa 19:11–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 59). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Prayer for Justice and Vengeance

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Prayer for Justice and Vengeance – Psalm 58 https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Prayer-for-Justice-and-Vengeance—Psalm-58-e1l2gr

Prayer for Justice and Vengeance

Prayer for Justice and the Strength to Rise Above Vengeance —

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1976 wedding photo – two months after my ordination into the ministry

 

There is a significant difference between a desire for justice and a fixation on seeking vengeance. Yesterday was the 42nd anniversary of my ordination into the Christian Ministry. I marked the day with two long counseling sessions and the reading, writing and recording of a podcast and blog. As the day wound down, my wife met me at the bar of a local vegan restaurant and we ate grilled cheese sandwiches. At this point in my ministry, there are two restaurants I frequent when I want to process the events of the day, and I go to the bar. I am not a drinker, but at these two restaurants near my church, the bartenders are friendly, and they leave me alone to think and eat.

I come back to the balance between justice and vengeance that is referenced in Psalm 58. On the day of the anniversary of my official ordination into the ministry, I think back to several painful, gut-wrenching experiences where I have helped church members to process the anger of being personally violated, or the violation to a friend or family member along side of a desire to “Get even” with the perpetrator and to exact not just justice, but vengeance.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what I am talking about. Five or six years before I was ordained, a twelve-year-old girl who was in a youth ministry where I served as a youth advisor, was raped. The violence done to this little girl occurred around the corner where I had the grilled cheese sandwich last night. While the girl was being examined at Receiving Hospital in the Medical Center of Detroit, I walked up and down the street with her father, trying to help him think through what he would do next. I was only 19 years of age. The man kept saying to himself, “I hope to God they never find the man who did this to my daughter, because I will kill him.” Or, I think about the grandfather who’s lovely 20 something year old granddaughter was beaten, shot, killed, burned and dumped into a garbage bin, and how I struggled to offer comfort to him, his daughter and family. In that case, I worked with the police and people I knew in the police department, to find the killers. The point I am making is that as a minister, I sometimes get involved in the funky, painful side of life with people who walk the line between a desire for justice and simple vengeance.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because Psalm 58 is a “Prayer for Vengeance.” It is a Psalm of David. David was a great man. David was a fighting man. In many respects, David was a simple man who fought for what he thought was right, and when he thought people had done him or his nation wrong, he not only sought justice, but vengeance. David is the king who unified the northern and southern kingdoms in Israel. He also expanded the borders of Israel. David was faithful to God, but David could also be violent and vengeful. The language in Psalm 58 goes way beyond a desire for justice, it sinks into meanness and a craving to violently hurt those who have done him wrong. As we read Psalm 58, I encourage you to pray about your own inner feelings towards people who have lied to you, talked about you, tried to undercut you, and hurt you or someone you love. My hope is that you will not only pray for justice but pray to overcome the desire to be vengeful.

 

Psalm 58

Prayer for Vengeance

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam.

1    Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?

Do you judge people fairly?

2    No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;

your hands deal out violence on earth.

3    The wicked go astray from the womb;

they err from their birth, speaking lies.

4    They have venom like the venom of a serpent,

like the deaf adder that stops its ear,

5    so that it does not hear the voice of charmers

or of the cunning enchanter.

6    O God, break the teeth in their mouths;

tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!

7    Let them vanish like water that runs away;

like grass let them be trodden down and wither.

8    Let them be like the snail that dissolves into slime;

like the untimely birth that never sees the sun.

9    Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of thorns,

whether green or ablaze, may he sweep them away!

10  The righteous will rejoice when they see vengeance done;

they will bathe their feet in the blood of the wicked.

11  People will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous;

surely there is a God who judges on earth.” [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Psalm 58 is described as a “Prayer for vengeance.” What are your thoughts about seeking vengeance in the context of being a person of faith?
  2. Other thoughts about Psalm 58?

 

Prayer: Lord, teach me how to fight for justice, to work for justice, to live for justice, and to do what is fair, to protect and defend what is mine, but to also rise above a desire and fixation on vengeance. Lord, grant me a burning desire to do those things that are right, but help me not to cross over into a spirit that is mean and evil. Lord, help me not to become what I hate. Show me the path to peace and mercy, grace and love in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 58). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I Lie Down With Lions!

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My father, Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood Sr. in his old age, near 90.

I Lie Down with Lions –

 

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My father, Rev. Nicholas Hood Sr. in 1964

 

“A good run is better than a bad stand,” that is what my father used to tell me. My dad lost a special election in 1964 in his first bid to become a member of the Detroit City Council. I believe I was in the 7th or 8th grade. The morning after the election, my little brother Emory and I had to go to school. Most kids could care less about the election, but one boy in my class came up to me, snarled his lips and said, “Your dad is nothing but a loser!” I hauled off and hit him, choked him, and tried to hurt him. The boy gasped, “Nicholas, I am going to kill you.” I replied, “You will have to kill me because I am going to keep putting a whipping on you!” My father heard about me and Emory fighting kids at school who had something to say about the election. He pulled me aside and said, “Nick, sometimes a good run is better than a bad stand!” I thanked him for his advice but told him I thought I was handling myself ok. The next year, my father ran again and was elected and seated as the only African American on the Detroit City Council. He told me and Emory that he ran in part because he could not stand the thought of us fighting because he had lost an election.

 

I share this story, because there is a time in life when you have little choice but to stand up, protect yourself, and move forward. Psalm 57 is a Psalm that is said to have been written when David was on the run from King Saul. Saul felt threatened by David and wanted to eliminate him as a threat. David respected Saul as king and because Saul was the father of his wife. David’s response was to take the fighting men and his mother and father, into the caves at Abdullam. These caves were in Judah, not far from Bethlehem and Jerusalem. I imagine that as a youth, David had played in these caves. He and the others went into the caves for protection and a chance to catch their breath.

In verse four, David says, “I lie down with lions.” There are two ways of looking at this verse. I used to think that it meant that he felt surrounded by danger. Yes, that was true, but he also very well could be talking about his brothers and the 400 or so fighters who accompanied him into the cave. In a sense, they were like lions. David lies down with lions. He, himself was often referred to as, “The Lion of Judah.” David, was a lion among lions. The lions around him were his strength, protection and motivation to keep fighting. But, sometimes, in the middle of a battle, the warrior must rest.

I want to thank you for reading Psalm 57 with me. I hope the image of David retreating to a cave is meaningful to you. It is important to note that David does not remain in the cave long. After a while, the prophet Gad comes to David and tells him it is time to leave the cave. There is a time in life to enter the cave, but also a time in life when you have to leave to cave of security and protection. When David eventually leaves the cave, he and his men settle in a forest and that is where he can fight and move freely without detection. Is there a lion in your life? Do you lie down with lions or do you run from the lions? Do you see yourself as a lion or do you see yourself as a victim at the mercy of other people? Read with me Psalm 57, and as we read this Psalm, I encourage you to think about the role of God as our protector and provider.

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Psalm 57

Praise and Assurance under Persecution

(Cp Ps 108:1–5)

To the leader: Do Not Destroy. Of David. A Miktam, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.

1    Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,

for in you my soul takes refuge;

in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,

until the destroying storms pass by.

2    I cry to God Most High,

to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

3    He will send from heaven and save me,

he will put to shame those who trample on me.      Selah

God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness.

4    I lie down among lions

that greedily devour human prey;

their teeth are spears and arrows,

their tongues sharp swords.

5    Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.

Let your glory be over all the earth.

6    They set a net for my steps;

my soul was bowed down.

They dug a pit in my path,

but they have fallen into it themselves.         Selah

7    My heart is steadfast, O God,

my heart is steadfast.

I will sing and make melody.

8      Awake, my soul!

Awake, O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn.

9    I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;

I will sing praises to you among the nations.

10  For your steadfast love is as high as the heavens;

your faithfulness extends to the clouds.

11  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.

Let your glory be over all the earth. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What is your reaction to the words of David in Psalm 57, particularly on the theme of dealing with danger from others?
  2. Psalm 57 is said to be a Psalm that was written when David retreated from the threat of Saul to a cave?

 

Prayer: Lord, I lift you up. Lord, I praise your name. I bow down and give you glory and honor. Your light shines above, around, and beyond all imagination. I approach you today for protection from those who would do me harm. Protect me from those who seek to chip away at my progress. Shelter me from those who make a mockery of justice and fairness. Cover me from my own temptation to procrastinate. Redeem me from my missteps and mistakes and misjudgment. Lord, grant me the strength of a lion, the speed of a cougar, the flight of an eagle, and the wisdom of the owl. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 57). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

I Trust in God – Podcast

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: I Trust in God – Psalm 56 https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/I-Trust-in-God—Psalm-56-e1kl2m

In God I Trust

In God I Trust –

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Psalm 56 and Psalm 34 are said to have been written at one of the lowest points in the life of David. Before David was made king of Israel, he first served in the army of king Saul. As David began to achieve success as a warrior, the jealousy of Saul began to show itself in dangerous and erratic ways. Saul had given his daughter in marriage to David. Early on, David was an armor bearer for Saul. David was commissioned to play music to sooth the spirit of Saul. Even with all the good things David did for Saul, Saul sometimes in the most unpredictable manner would fly into an uncontrollable rage and hurl spears at the young man.

Eventually, David left Saul. A small group of soldiers joined David and they went into hiding. David and his men wandered through the hills, providing protection to farmers and others who felt defenseless with the leadership of Saul.

At the lowest point in the confusing, contentious relationship between David and Saul, David sought protection from the king of Gath. Think about the significance of David seeking help from the king of Gath. Does Gath sound familiar? This is the city Goliath was from, the giant David killed in his first battle. The people of Gath knew exactly who David was. They knew of David as a fierce warrior who had killed their champion. Not only had David killed Goliath, but he cut off the head of the giant and carried it around as a trophy of his murderous success. David sought help from his adversary, his enemy.

When he approached the king of Gath, David pretended to be crazy. He looked crazy, talked crazy, walked crazy and acted crazy.   The king of Gath had pity on David, but his soldiers smelled a rat. They reminded the king of David’s history as a fighter and warned that this might be a trick to let David get close to them so he could fight from within. Reluctantly, the king released David, unharmed. As David left the city, he penned the words to Psalm 56.

I have shared this background to the David story to put Psalm 56 in a broader context. I encourage you to pause for a moment and let your imagination travel back to the city of Gath and what it must have been like for David to realize how close he had come to death. He could not return to Saul. The people of Gath did not want him. He was a man on the run, a man without a country, a man with few places to hide. It was his lowest point, but it was also the beginning of the making of a king. All David had was the trust and confidence of God. In the end, that was all he needed.

Have you ever had a low point in life? Perhaps a time when your money was slow in arriving, your health looked impossible to recover, a time when friends were few, and you wondered if you would ever get your life together? Think about David as we read Psalm 56 and reaffirm you faith and trust in God.

Psalm 56

Trust in God under Persecution

To the leader: according to The Dove on Far-off Terebinths. Of David. A Miktam, when the Philistines seized him in Gath.

1    Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me;

all day long foes oppress me;

2    my enemies trample on me all day long,

for many fight against me.

O Most High, when I am afraid,

I put my trust in you.

4    In God, whose word I praise,

in God I trust; I am not afraid;

what can flesh do to me?

5    All day long they seek to injure my cause;

all their thoughts are against me for evil.

6    They stir up strife, they lurk,

they watch my steps.

As they hoped to have my life,

7      so repay them for their crime;

in wrath cast down the peoples, O God!

8    You have kept count of my tossings;

put my tears in your bottle.

Are they not in your record?

9    Then my enemies will retreat

in the day when I call.

This I know, that God is for me.

10  In God, whose word I praise,

in the Lord, whose word I praise,

11  in God I trust; I am not afraid.

What can a mere mortal do to me?

12  My vows to you I must perform, O God;

I will render thank offerings to you.

13  For you have delivered my soul from death,

and my feet from falling,

so that I may walk before God

in the light of life. [1]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. As you read Psalm 56, can you imagine David being led out from Gath by the Philistines?
  2. Psalm 56 is said to have been written when David pretended to act insane. Have you ever pretended to be insane? This is also referenced in Psalm 34.
  3. What are your thoughts about the affirmation of faith David proclaims in verses 9-13?

 

Prayer: Lord, I thank you. I thank you for being with me in my best moments and those times that cause me to wonder what will happen next. Thank you for your support. Thank you for your encouragement. Thank you for the little signs and messages you send my way that let me know that I am on the right road. I thank you for the safety net you have placed around me. Lord, I thank you for standing with me in my down sitting and my uprising. The way is not always clear. My mind and thought process is sometimes cloudy, but you are with me, your mercy and grace are without limit. Your promise of salvation from death has offered hope for tomorrow and a reason to look forward to each day of life. Blessings and peace in the struggle for meaning and purpose in life. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 56). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Treachery of a Friend – Podcast

Listen to the newest episode of my podcast, Nicholas Hood3: Treachery of a Friend – Psalm 55 https://anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3/episodes/Treachery-of-a-Friend—Psalm-55-e1kd60

The Treachery of a Friend!

The Treachery of a Friend –

Treachery can be rough, usually because it is difficult for an adversary to hurt you, because you are already on guard. Friends are different, because you trust them, believe in them, share with them, and do not expect hurt, harm or danger from a friend. It does not even have to be a friend. Treachery sometimes will come from a person who is not necessarily a friend, but not an enemy. It could be a co-worker, a neighbor, a classmate, or anybody you assumed was ok with you. Elza Adams, former custodian at my church used to tell me, “Nicky, you just have to watch people.” What he meant was you just do not know where a person is coming from until you observe them for a period. When money and opportunities arise, that is when you see what a person is really made of. The person who really loves and cares for you will not try to undercut you for quick gain. Even so, we must watch our friends, because in a moment of weakness, greed or blind ambition, even a friend might try to leave you in the dust. Mr. Adams would say, “You have to watch everybody.” B.B. King has a line in one of his songs, “Nobody loves me but my mother, and she may be jiving too!” Every time I hear that line, I fall out laughing, because your mother is the last person most of us would doubt.

As we read Psalm 55, I encourage you to listen to each verse and ask yourself, “Can I relate to the treachery of a friend?” If you have suffered because of a friend, or perhaps you know someone who has been in a similar situation, what advice would you give them, and what would you tell them regarding how to move forward in faith and grace?

Psalm 55

Complaint about a Friend’s Treachery

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.

1 Give ear to my prayer, O God;

do not hide yourself from my supplication.

2 Attend to me, and answer me;

I am troubled in my complaint.

I am distraught 3 by the noise of the enemy,

because of the clamor of the wicked.

For they bring trouble upon me,

and in anger they cherish enmity against me.

4 My heart is in anguish within me,

the terrors of death have fallen upon me.

5 Fear and trembling come upon me,

and horror overwhelms me.

6 And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest;

7 truly, I would flee far away;

I would lodge in the wilderness; Selah

8 I would hurry to find a shelter for myself

from the raging wind and tempest.”

9 Confuse, O Lord, confound their speech;

for I see violence and strife in the city.

10 Day and night they go around it

on its walls,

and iniquity and trouble are within it;

11 ruin is in its midst;

oppression and fraud

do not depart from its marketplace.

12 It is not enemies who taunt me—

I could bear that;

it is not adversaries who deal insolently with me—

I could hide from them.

13 But it is you, my equal,

my companion, my familiar friend,

14 with whom I kept pleasant company;

we walked in the house of God with the throng.

15 Let death come upon them;

let them go down alive to Sheol;

for evil is in their homes and in their hearts.

16 But I call upon God,

and the Lord will save me.

17 Evening and morning and at noon

I utter my complaint and moan,

and he will hear my voice.

18 He will redeem me unharmed

from the battle that I wage,

for many are arrayed against me.

19 God, who is enthroned from of old, Selah

will hear, and will humble them—

because they do not change,

and do not fear God.

20 My companion laid hands on a friend

and violated a covenant with me

21 with speech smoother than butter,

but with a heart set on war;

with words that were softer than oil,

but in fact were drawn swords.

22 Cast your burden on the Lord,

and he will sustain you;

he will never permit

the righteous to be moved.

23 But you, O God, will cast them down

into the lowest pit;

the bloodthirsty and treacherous

shall not live out half their days.

But I will trust in you. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What are your thoughts about the treachery of a friend in verses 13-15?
  2. What are your thoughts about “Cast your burden on the Lord” (verse 22) in the context of the treachery of a friend?
  3. Other thoughts about Psalm 55?

Prayer: Bless me with wisdom that is slow to condemn, redemptive, merciful and compassionate. Make me a good judge of character of those I allow into my life. Teach me to share and to trust. Help me to listen and to talk in a constructive manner. When those I trust deceive and disappoint, grant me the courage to forgive and the insight to understand. Help me to become a better person, that I might grow in faith, forgiveness and love. In Jesus name. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 55). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

More than a Miracle!

More than a Miracle!

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The other day, a man described his wife as, “More than a Miracle.” I asked him how a person could be more than a miracle? Miracles are when what appeared to be impossible becomes reality – when doors that are shut are opened, when the poor who cannot pay their bills suddenly come into money, when a relationship that has been torn by infidelity, cruel words, and a break down in trust, somehow bounces back with new life and spirit and the sick are healed, that is what I think about when I think about a miracle! The husband told me he could not understand how his wife with so many challenges is so healthy. Just looking at his wife, I had a tough time imagining her with health challenges. She is a woman of deep faith and a positive attitude. Her skin is supple, her eyes are bright, her smile is generous, her attitude is positive and uplifting and she seems to have energy to burn. Looking at her, I said to myself, maybe the superlative laid on her by her husband is true, she is “More than a miracle!”

I am not sure that it is possible to experience something that is “More than a miracle.” Miracles are in fact what they are, miracles! What I do know is that miracles are possible. Miracles happen. Jesus Christ is the path to salvation in death and blessings in this life.

There are several stories of miracles that Jesus performed. One of these stories is in Matthew Chapter 9. It is the story of a man who approaches Jesus with a son who is an epileptic. The disciples tried to heal the boy, but they were unsuccessful. So, the father brings the boy to Jesus. Jesus heals the boy and the disciples inquired of him, why were you able to heal the boy and we were not? Jesus told them that this healing required prayer. When I think of the woman who is, “More than a Miracle,” I must believe that a major component of her health is her personal prayer life. Prayer makes a major difference. Prayer in fact, does change things.

The reading I am focusing on today is Psalm 54. Psalm 54 is a prayer for the vindication of God for the sick and those who are besieged with the daggers and trouble that others throw in our way. I invite you to read this Psalm with me and ask yourself, “What must I do to receive “More than a Miracle?”

Psalm 54

Prayer for Vindication

To the leader: with stringed instruments. A Maskil of David, when the Ziphites went and told Saul, “David is in hiding among us.”

1 Save me, O God, by your name,

and vindicate me by your might.

2 Hear my prayer, O God;

give ear to the words of my mouth.

3 For the insolent have risen against me,

the ruthless seek my life;

they do not set God before them. Selah

4 But surely, God is my helper;

the Lord is the upholder of my life.

5 He will repay my enemies for their evil.

In your faithfulness, put an end to them.

6 With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you;

I will give thanks to your name, O Lord, for it is good.

7 For he has delivered me from every trouble,

and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies. [1]

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What do you think David means when he says in verse one, “Save me by your name”?
  2. Can you recount times when you believe it was the Lord who saved you?
  3. How do you think God repays people for doing evil?

Prayer: Lord, save me. Lord, save me by your name. Heal me by your power. Vindicate me through my faith. See me for what I am. See me as one who believes in you. See me as one who trusts in you. See me as one who hopes in you. See me, Lord as one who believes that all power is in your name. No other help I know. Lord, I am trying. Lord, I am pushing myself. Lord, I need more than what I can bring. Deliver me through your mercy. Deliver me through your grace. Deliver me from trouble. Deliver me from illness. Grant me today a miracle. Do for me what I cannot do for myself. Lord, I put my trust in you. Lord, I put my hope in you. Give me something more than medicine. Give me a miracle. Give me your miracle. Give me your salvation today, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, but today. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

More about the ministry, mission, and meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.org and www.puccdetroit.org

New – Listen to readings from the Book of Psalms and Inspirational Prayers written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at Nicholas Hood3, is now available on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/nicholas-hood3/id1370371705.

Or, at anchor.fm/nicholas-hood3.

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 54). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

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