Yesterday my wife and I were at Union Square in New York City. We sell our maple goods, honey and beef there every Monday and Wednesday year round. At times it is quite surreal as you leave the peaceful mist-covered mountains of the Catskills, and three hours later you’re in the “concrete jungle.” Our tent is at the crossroads of Union Square where you choose if you are going to head East or South. Because of that fact, people are drawn to the spot right in front of our tent. Some come to sing or play music for tips, others protest a cause neither lasting or significant, and the poor beg for money. One eight-month pregnant woman was there yesterday who has been expecting a baby since 2019.
Yesterday our spot drew mayoral candidates. We were literally sandwiched on all sides by deception. They all had nice smiles, but their positions were pure evil. We have been experiencing the downward spiral of one of our country’s greatest cities because of the chaotic, irrational evil they embrace. I wondered what God would have me do. After watching awhile, I realized their faces and hearts were very hard—their answers were full of error and unrighteousness. I doubted that even my best question or statement could pierce through, but we prayed. Since then I’ve been dwelling on the situation.
The following is the kernel of my thoughts for which I’m still trying to find words. I have gained a better understanding of the Psalms since coming to New York City. King David in particular seemed to be regularly accosted by evil people. Like us, I believe, he was going about his business, and all of a sudden he was sandwiched between hard-hearted or even downright evil people.
This Sabbath take a look at Psalm 36. It begins in verses 1-4 by complaining about the ungodly who “has ceased to be wise and to do good, and he plans wickedness on his bed.” He ends the Psalm with verses 11 and 12 pleading, “Let not the foot of pride come upon me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.” His words are like a sandwich. Yes, there is evil at the beginning and end, but what’s in the middle of the Psalm? Look at verses 5-9: this is the heart of it all—
Your lovingkindness, O LORD, extends to the heavens,
Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like a great deep.
O LORD, You preserve man and beast.
How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God!
And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.
They drink their fill of the abundance of Your house;
And You give them to drink of the river of Your delights.
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.
Those were troubles last week, and there will probably be evil and unpleasant people next week, but today, today, “the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Thy wings.” It is a choice. It is a choice beyond just taking 24 hours off. It is a choice to enter into the “meat” of this Psalm:
- The abundance of Thy House
- The Fountain of Life
Drink your fill, brothers and sisters, as you take refuge this Sabbath. Pick one or all, and ask God to make it real and personal to you. Let’s get rid of the theory and really experience these attributes of a wonderful God. Sometimes we understand an attribute of God more fully by being a conduit of it ourselves. Perhaps there’s someone you can share God’s lovingkindness with, or bring them a gift from His abundance. We may be sandwiched with heartaches, but the meat of the sandwich—like this passage—is always there somewhere. May we say as David does in verse ten, “O continue Thy Lovingkindness to those who know Thee.”
Resting in His truth and comfort,