Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience. 

Our devotion writers are Luther Seminary alumni. Their reflections are a gift to you and to the church.


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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

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These verses from Psalm 31 exemplify the classic structure of a lament psalm. First we hear the distress and cry for help (Psalm 31:9) and the depth of the psalmist's extensive sorrow and misery with strength failing and bones wasting away (Psalm 31:10). Evidence of the psalmist's plight is seen by adversaries, neighbors, acquaintances and even those on the street (Psalm 31:11). The psalmist is like a broken vessel and the object of whispering, scheming and even plotting "to take my life" (Psalm 31:12-13).

From whom is there hope? At the depth of the psalmist's lament comes the word of trust "in you, O Lord." The confession, "You are my God," brings the assurance and hope we need in this life, as the psalmist acknowledges, "My times are in your hand" (Psalm 31:14-15). In this faith, the psalmist's words conclude with a benediction for us, who are also called to be servants of the Lord: "Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love" (Psalm 31:16).

The contention with my adversaries continues every day, and you, O Lord, hear my cries and you deliver me. With the psalmist, I too confess, “You are my God,” and in these words I receive your vindication and assurance in my life. Amen.

Paul Berge
Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Luther Seminary
Master of Divinity , 1963

Psalm 31:9-16 (NRSV)

9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye wastes away from grief, my soul and body also.

10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away.

11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me.

12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.

13 For I hear the whispering of many-- terror all around!-- as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life.

14 But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my 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.

This God Pause daily devotion is brought to you by the alumni of Luther Seminary.