This picture may seem like a bit odd for the Psalm for today, but I read this Psalm as an already but not yet type of message. An already in that the Psalmist acknowledges that God is his shield, his protector, and offers up his praises as the Psalm concludes. But its a not yet because there is still a great deal of fear, pursuit by enemies, and concern on the part of the Psalmist.
This is a picture of an already but not yet. Underneath the snow on the branch is a nest that gave shelter and protection to a mother bird and her eggs last summer. We had the privilege of watching this wonder happen before our eyes. The nest, however, is empty now and is covered with the cold snow of winter. But what might it be again come next year? Might it once again be a source of protection, shelter, and life once again?
O Lord my God, in you I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers, and deliver me,
or like a lion they will tear me apart;
they will drag me away, with no one to rescue.
O Lord my God, if I have done this,
if there is wrong in my hands,
if I have repaid my ally with harm
or plundered my foe without cause,
then let the enemy pursue and overtake me,
trample my life to the ground,
and lay my soul in the dust.
Rise up, O Lord, in your anger;
lift yourself up against the fury of my enemies;
awake, O my God; you have appointed a judgment.
Let the assembly of the peoples be gathered around you,
and over it take your seat on high.
The Lord judges the peoples;
judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness
and according to the integrity that is in me.
O let the evil of the wicked come to an end,
but establish the righteous,
you who test the minds and hearts,
O righteous God.
God is my shield,
who saves the upright in heart.
God is a righteous judge,
and a God who has indignation every day.
If one does not repent, God will whet his sword;
he has bent and strung his bow;
he has prepared his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil,
and are pregnant with mischief,
and bring forth lies.
They make a pit, digging it out,
and fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads,
and on their own heads their violence descends.
I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness,
and sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.