Never Foresaken

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This psalm is in the form of a lament. The speaker is threatened by those around him, wicked people and the danger affects the whole community. It complains about this threat and follows it with bold declarations of faith and the denunciation of evildoers, and the assurance of those who are just. It continues with a further lament and ends with a strong confidence in God’s hoped for response.

Today’s reflection is centered on verse 14 of this psalm. ‘For the Lord will not reject his people; he will never forsake his inheritance.’ Though life presents us with unasked for suffering at the hands of others, or that of unwanted illness, or accident, we who believe in God and trust in his fidelity toward us, are able to accept and to endure those sufferings knowing that he will not reject us, will never forsake us. Could there be any more comforting words? God created us out of an individual love for each and every one of us. Each of us is his beloved child. Though we stray, he does not forget us. Indeed, he is our Prodigal Father, always ready to receive us back into his embrace when we willingly turn back to him contrite and sorrowful.

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Even more than this, we know that God is just. He knows our hearts. He knows, too, the hearts of those who are willfully unjust. In faith we know that he will ‘rise up for [us] against the wicked.’ It is he, ‘Who will take a stand for [us] against evil doers.’ (Verse 16) In our faith we know that, ‘the Lord will not reject [us]; he will never forsake [us].’ We know that our job is to be faithful to him and to his commandments. We know that if we remain faithful to him, he will defend us against the evildoers, and he will never forsake us, but if we willfully become one of those who are unjust, he will ‘repay [us] for [our] sins and destroy [us] for [our] wickedness.’ (Verse 23) We may be weak, but we are not foolish. The wicked are fools. They are too consumed by their own egos to recognize the unconditional love and faithfulness of God. Those who love God, understand that his love is pure gift and receive it humbly and willingly remaining always obedient to the liberating Law of God.

Lord, we know that ‘you will not reject your people, that you will never forsake your inheritance.’ We ask you to give us in our weakness the graces we need to bend our wills to yours. When we are put upon by those who wish to harm us, give us the strength to confront their evil with humility and dignity, never forgetting that you not only will not reject or forsake us, but that you will be our defense, the rocky fortress of our refuge. We pray, as always in the holy name of Jesus. Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.