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What Will Keep Me Safe This Day?
A king is not saved by his great army;
    a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
The war horse is a vain hope for victory,
    and by its great might it cannot save.
Truly the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
    on those who hope in his steadfast love,
to deliver their soul from death,
    and to keep them alive in famine.
Psalm 33:16-19

During my sabbatical this fall, I had the great privilege of spending a few weeks at my undergraduate college, Wycliffe Hall, in Oxford. My husband, Stephen, and I had a great time walking the old streets and seeing the beautiful, old university buildings. One morning in Chapel, I was struck by the images we find in Psalm 33, a few words of which are above. This psalm describes two very different worlds.

The first is the world of the Lord God Himself, the One who created with a word and who holds everything in the palm of His hands. He has power and sovereignty over all things. He loves to see justice done and people do the right thing. His love is unyielding. He made us and all our desires, and He sees each and everything we do. He calls on anyone who calls Him God to actively trust in Him for the outcome of their lives, whether it is final destiny or the challenges and needs of this day. He will deliver us from death and provide us with our daily bread, as we dare to risk doing the thing(s) He is asking us to do.

The second world is the world of us human beings, we who are made in God’s image, whose desires were made by Him, yet are deeply corrupt. Our world says we should trust in that which is strong and powerful and seems to guarantee our futures. We want kings and horses—strength, success and forcible power. We reach for all kinds of things to shore up confidence, from the words we wield as keyboard warriors to the weapons we use to hurt and harm. We clothe ourselves in words and actions that worship anything but God Himself and instead reveal our vanities.

These two worlds are incompatible. I cannot trust in human strength for my salvation and say I hope in God. It is one or the other, surrendered trust in God’s love or selfish trust in human strength. One looks a sure bet, but will leave me hollow and hard-hearted. The other can strike me as foolishness, but is the sure path. And each day asks me afresh: which will I choose?
The Rev. Dr. Suse E. McBay, Ph.D.
Associate for Adult Christian Education, Prayer Ministries and the Riverway
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