I hope this day finds you and your family well. I invite you to take a few moments with me to read and reflect upon today’s scripture selection — and to carry these thoughts with you into your day.
Today’s Scripture: Psalm 107:4-9 (Common English Bible)
4 Some of the redeemed had wandered into the desert, into the wasteland.
They couldn’t find their way to a city or town.
5 They were hungry and thirsty;
their lives were slipping away.
6 So they cried out to the Lord in their distress,
and God delivered them from their desperate circumstances.
7 God led them straight to human habitation.
8 Let them thank the Lord for his faithful love
and his wondrous works for all people,
9 because God satisfied the one who was parched with thirst,
and he filled up the hungry with good things!
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
S. Elliot, in his classic poem “The Wasteland,” has a memorable description of the wasteland:
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water.
Elliot’s poem spoke to the sense of spiritual dryness many experienced in the early days of modernity and in aftermath of World War I.
That kind of spiritual dryness wasn’t new, of course. The words of Psalm 107 have been quoted countless times as an expression of that same kind of dryness: “Some of the redeemed had wandered into the desert, into the wasteland. They couldn’t find their way to a city or town. They were hungry and thirsty; their lives were slipping away.”
Scripture employs the metaphor of being hungry or thirsty to describe a kind of emptiness that needs filling or a kind of yearning for God. It speaks to us in our times of spiritual dryness:
- “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)
- “God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Psalm 63:1)
- “I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. (Psalm 143:6)
This hunger and thirst is satisfied by God. This, too, can speak to us in our times of need:
- “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” (Psalm 42:11)
- “My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.” (Psalm 63:5-8)
- “So they cried out to the LORD in their distress, and God delivered them from their desperate circumstances. God led them straight to human habitation. Let them thank the LORD for his faithful love and his wondrous works for all people, because God satisfied the one who was parched with thirst, and he filled up the hungry with good things!” (Psalm 107:6-9)
Psalms are hymns—poetic expressions of faith. The hymns of the church also pick up on these same images. One of those hymns is “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” It is in the form of a prayer, and I invite you to pray it today:
Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but thou art mighty; hold me with thy powerful hand. Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more. Amen.
Hymn: “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” by William Williams (1745); translated from the Welsh by Peter Williams and the author (1771)
Guide me, O my great Redeemer,
pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but you are mighty;
hold me with your powerful hand.
Bread of heaven, bread of heaven,
feed me now and evermore,
feed me now and evermore.
Open now the crystal fountain,
where the healing waters flow.
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
ever be my strength and shield,
ever be my strength and shield.
When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death, and hell’s Destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever sing to you,
I will ever sing to you.
Thank you for sharing this moment of your day with me, with God, and with these reflections on a portion of scripture. I hope you will carry these with you throughout your day and night.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster