SCRIPTURE: Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16
Prayer and Praise for Deliverance from Enemies
To the leader. A Psalm of David.
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.
John E. White offers that “One clearly must be among the oppressed to fully understand this psalm. The truth rings out, ‘We have all been oppressed.’ Some have been oppressed in our want, others in our abundance. Know that we are all in need of the redemption that only our God can provide.”
White’s argument here that “some have been oppressed in our want, others in our abundance,” may be a difficult thing for those in want to hear. Typically, when we look at oppression in our society and our world, it is those who are left wanting for freedom, for justice, for food, for medicine, for acceptance, for love that we usually count among the oppressed. And it is those who have these things in abundance that we would normally count among the oppressors – not all necessarily, but many, if not most.
But can there truly be oppression in abundance? I can honestly say it is a position that I had never considered before today and one that I still struggle with. And I believe that struggle comes from the concern that this idea could potentially lessen in the minds of some just how bad the oppressed who are wanting are really doing. This is one that I think I will continue to struggle with and will do some additional study with.
Take some time to consider this question: “What redemption from oppression do you most need?” It may seem like a challenging question for some people depending on their socio-economic situation, their race, or other factors. This one may take more than a few moments to truly consider the full spectrum of what it is asking.
God of our lives, our times are in your hands. And while we pray for relief from whatever oppression we may face, we also pray for the strength and knowledge to stop oppressing others. Break our hearts of stone, enlighten our minds of confusion and ignorance, that we may no longer support or engage in oppression, and instead focus on love. Amen.