Yesterday's Psalm began: Vindicate me, O LORD,
for I have led a blameless life
and I thought, 'No.' The whole Psalm went on in this vein - God, I'm such a good chap that you ought to treat me well.
That's not what I have learned about God. He loves me with all my faults and failures, past and present. No extra brownie points for self-righteousness.
So it was great to read today's Psalm, 27. It's not evil men who are devouring my flesh, but cancer cells, but apart from that the whole Psalm fits me like a glove. Here it is.
The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.
4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.
6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.
7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Saviour.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.
13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
I remember as a little boy in Dublin reciting this Psalm beside my mother in church, and thinking, at verse 10, that my parents would never forsake me - and they never did. Loving and loyal to the end. And God even more loving and loyal. Whoopee! Or Alleluia, if you prefer.