If like me you are safe and comfortable in your home and nobody is threatening your life or the life of the people you love, you may wonder if Psalm 28 has any relevance today. However, this morning I received a message from someone I know who is seeking asylum in the UK and the opening sentence was, ‘For the past three years we have witnessed and had to cope and deal with death, destruction of property, looting, kidnappings, massive arrests, chaos and fear in my country.’* The setting is a country where the ethnic groups in power are trying to impose their will upon minority groups through the armed forces. Oppression on the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, political persuasion and organised crime are widespread. A 2019 UK government report found that approximately 1 in 3 people suffer from religious persecution and that in parts of the world persecution of Christians is at near genocidal levels. The latest UNHCR report (2018) shows world record levels of displaced persons at 70.8 million worldwide. There are 37,000 new displacements every day.
In Psalm 28 David pleads with God to, ‘Save your people and bless your heritage!’ v9 In verses 1 to 7 David speaks as an individual threatened by the wicked and evil doers but he does so as the King and therefore is speaking on behalf of all his people. He goes on to assert that the Lord is the people’s saving refuge. ‘The Lord is the strength of his people, he is the saving refuge of his anointed.’ v8
I am repeatedly impressed at the readiness of people who have experienced extreme suffering at the hands of oppressors, political, religious and criminal to turn to God rather than reject faith in disillusionment. They echo David, ‘To you, O Lord, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me.’ v1 Verse 3 speaks of powers that pretend peace whilst practising such things as human rights violations. ‘Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbours while evil is in their hearts.’
David looks forward to God’s righteous judgement, ‘Because they do not regard the works of the Lord or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.’ v5
In the mean time when we see God’s hand in protecting and saving people it is good to join the celebration of his mercy. ‘The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.’ v7
Build your kingdom here – Rend Collective