God’s Word for Times Like These is a series of 10 inspirational Bible reading notes produced by Scripture Union International as the world tries to cope with the immediacy and the urgency of Covid-19. Part 1 was Keep on Asking where we studied Moses and his constant pleas with God in Gen 18:22-33.
Part 2: Run for Refuge
Our God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal Home.
As most of us are experiencing a ‘lockdown’, and/or working from home, we probably think on times when we could enjoy wide open spaces! Moses and the people of Israel were in the wilderness – open space! But it seemed as though their heads were still inside Egypt. This must have been a very difficult time for Moses and we can feel the anguish within this Psalm – which is possibly the only Psalm he wrote. However, Moses points us to a God who listens, who answers and who has compassion. This is a God who has been, is and will always be – our dwelling place. In him there is safety, security, shelter, protection and refuge.
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Samoa is still coronavirus free and we Praise God. The state of emergency lockdown however has shrunk Samoa’s economy that has been so reliant on tourism and visitors through sports, conferences and visiting families and friends. Today talk about some of those trickle down effects with your family, and choose a specific group of people in Samoa that have lost their livelihoods and are in a desperate situation as the COVID-19 lockdown creates a new norm for us all. Pray for God’s protection and provision for them.
Then choose an overseas nation that is battling COVID-19. Read and find out more about what is facing them and the decisions their leaders have to make. Pray for God’s guidance, protection and safety over them.
And then everyday, we commit our national leaders to God. Our Prime Minister and his Cabinet; and all the CEOs and ACEOs who serve them. Our Members of Parliament; the Districts and all the Village Councils across Samoa that they represent. Our Judiciary; the Acting Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court and Judges of the District Court; and the President and Samoa Judges of the Lands and Titles Court.
With your family
As it was in Moses’ day, so it is with us now. We live in challenging times. But in the middle of Moses’ words he writes that we can “…celebrate… be glad … be happy” (verses 14,15).
Find something in your home that you can make into a smiley face e.g. a paper plate, cut out some pieces of paper/ cardboard, a frisbee, etc. Everyone can create one or two (or more) and write or stick on some things happening in your community that make you happy (and makes God happy as well!) Display them around your home as reminders in these hard and sad times, that there is hope and happiness in positive things happening.
If you have young children, try to get all the family to Sing “If you’re happy and you know it…” – and try adding some new verses that requires standing up and moving around 😊
Lord, thank You for reminding us that in the shifting sands of time, You are our dwelling place eternally. Amen.