Often in morning prayer, I will reflect prayerfully on one of the lectionary readings. Here are some thoughts from a morning last year when Psalm 25 came up as one of the readings

“To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul (1).”

Reading this line with my church background, I tend to assume that I “lift up my soul” through prayer or perhaps corporate worship. In corporate worship, I would probably assume that I had lifted up my soul if I felt devotional feelings or some sense of God’s presence with me. But what is my soul and how might I lift it up?

One commenter suggests that the metaphor behind “lift up” is that of water lifting up a floating object (like the flood that caused the ark to be lifted up). So the imagery is that of buoyancy, of floating, of being carried without one’s direct power to lift oneself up. I allow my soul to be lifted up by a power that I can only cooperate with and cannot control.

“O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me. 
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
 let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous (2-3).”

Being “put to shame” sounds like the opposite of “lifting up my soul.” Shame feels like being weighed down, put down, even buried. Enemies exulting over me sounds the same. And, again, there is David acknowledging that he doesn’t have so much power over what his enemies do as God does. David trusts in God to not allow his enemies to have their way, to let those who entrust themselves to God’s care, protection and oversight never be shamed.

I do not want to be put to shame, to be devalued and diminished in the eyes of those who hate me or oppose me. Instead of shame, I am given the gift of glory and honor in the One Who alone is worthy of glory and honor. I have these in God.

“Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long (5).”

“for you I wait all day long.” There is a patience and persistence in David’s attentiveness to God throughout the day. This sounds much like the idea of practicing God’s presence. Here is a king over a nation who lives his life and practices his own leadership role with a deep-rooted attentiveness to God. Someone with profound and wide-ranging responsibilities for countless people sees a long season of waiting on God as good and necessary.

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