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Daily Devotional • April 4

Chase Benefiel
The Lord's Promise
A Reading from Psalm 12

1 Help, O Lord, for there is no longer anyone who is godly;
    the faithful have disappeared from humankind.
2 They utter lies to each other;
    with flattering lips and a deceitful heart they speak.
3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips,
    the tongue that makes great boasts,
4 those who say, “With our tongues we will prevail;
    our lips are our own — who is our master?”
5 “Because the poor are despoiled, because the needy groan,
    I will now rise up,” says the Lord;
    “I will place them in the safety for which they long.”
6 The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
    silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
    purified seven times.
7 You, O Lord, will protect us;
    you will guard us from this generation forever.
8 On every side the wicked prowl,
    as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Psalm 12 begins with another cry for help. I say “another” because of what week we’re in. We started Sunday crying “help us!”, yesterday we prayed “have mercy on us.” Today the crying continues. Another cry for help. Praying the same tired petition over and over again without much consolation is getting tiring. Our prayers are beginning to sound incredulous. “Are you going to help or not?” “Should I just turn to something else for help?”

But that’s why we keep praying: we’ve already looked elsewhere and everything has failed. So to whom shall we go? The psalmist knows and reminds us that the faithful and loyal have left. The only promise we have — and we know it — is the Lord’s own words. In this psalm the Lord does not stay silent, but arises. He doesn’t say much, but he says what we’re longing for: “I will protect them.” 

A common theme in the Bible begins with a person believing that they have to protect themselves. They know that no one else — especially God — will protect them. But self-reliance is the surest sign that things are headed south. The Bible makes known a truer, better reality: it is the Lord who keeps the needy safe.

Though we rarely believe it and though we wish we believed it much more, the intensity with which we believe the gospel does not change its reality: the Lord will defend the needy, the Lord has defended the needy, and the Lord defends the needy.

Chase Benefiel is a friend, Tennesseean, preacher, and student (in that order) currently finishing his M.Div. at Duke Divinity School.

Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer

Today we pray for:

The Diocese of Sabongidda-Ora – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion)
The Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast
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