Reading: Psalm 55:9-15
Lord, confuse the wicked; confound their words,
for I see violence and strife in the city.
Day and night they prowl about on its walls;
malice and abuse are within it.
Destructive forces are at work in the city;
threats and lies never leave its streets.
If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me, I could hide.
But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about among the worshipers.
Let death take my enemies by surprise;
let them go down alive to the realm of the dead,
for evil finds lodging among them (NIV).*
My wife and I are currently on a road trip through western Canada. Today I am in Edmonton, a growing, prosperous city of more than a million. Last evening after a passing thunderstorm, I went by myself for a walk in the Mill Creek Ravine. There in the cool of the evening I was surrounded by the beauty of God’s creation. After the heat of the day, it was a quiet place of refreshing.
Sad to say, my wife would not dare go for a walk by herself in Mill Creek Ravine. You see, last week in broad daylight, a woman was attacked there by a sexual predator. Earlier in the day I had gone to a nearby bank branch to use an ATM. At the bank, a repairman was replacing a shattered window pane and the front door had been kicked in—presumably an attempted robbery.
In cities today the words of Psalm 55 ring true. I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it. Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.
Edmonton is no more dangerous than any large city. In fact, it is far safer than most North American cities of comparable size, nevertheless, evil finds lodging here. Evil leaps across geographic boundaries and crosses cultural and racial barriers. Evil finds lodging wherever a human heart entertains hatred, greed or lust. Jesus said that all manner of wickedness flows out from the heart. See Matthew 15:19.
The question I need to ask myself is what finds lodging in my heart. Do I open the door to the evil one, to resentment and bitterness? Or do I turn those thoughts away and invite Jesus in?
Response: LORD God, I want you to find lodging in my heart through Jesus Christ your Son. By your mercy grant me a pure heart. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you live in a safe city or neighborhood? Take a moment to pray for your city or community.
* NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 BY BIBLICA
Volume I of Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer has won the 2021 Best Book of the Year Award. For those who love God’s word, it is an ideal devotional to start you off in the New Year. For a closer look at Volumes II and III click here.