God Listens and Responds

“God listens and responds” (Psalm 5)
Reflection by Pastor Scott Arnold.  9/8/2020
First Baptist Church of Los Angeles.
1 Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament.
2 Hear my cry for help, my King and my God,
for to you I pray.  3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly
. (Psalm 5:1-3)

     Fires surround us in the worst dry season of California’s history.  Global warming is not a looming concern of the future, it is a present reality that is impacting us now. We cry out to God for help. We pray for relief. A pandemic of the Corona Virus has spread throughout the world, and we lament the loss of hundreds of thousands of people and the loss of jobs and economic means and security. We cry out to God for help. We wait expectantly for God’s help and answer. Racial injustice and the brutality of people abusing power has wrought disparity. Black lives have been targeted through racial profiling, and cry of people is upon streets and public places. Mass incarceration has devastated entire households and communities, and the need for rehabilitation has been replaced by a prison industrial complex that perpetuates a system that is not restorative. The prayers and requests of people in lament go up to God, we cry for help and wait expectantly. The words of Psalm 5 take on contemporary application and meaning.
    David had learned throughout his life, from being a shepherd boy to being a king; from being a victorious warrior to being a prisoner of war; from being a man of God’s own heart, to being a man who had fallen to sin and fleshly temptation, that God is both just and merciful.  God does not give up on us, but will hear our cry for help and will answer our requests in time.
    In our time, the convergence of global, national, state, and personal issues has escalated to a frightening crescendo. If not to God our creator/redeemer will we turn, then to who? While it is true that we must be responsible stewards of this earth and recognize our responsibilities to address all the issues that we are facing, it is also true that God has a redemptive plan that involves our acceptance, response, and action. The actions that we take in these times and our near future must arise out of our prayers. We pray for God’s help as we seek to help others. We pray for God’s wisdom and discernment as we show compassion and provide relief for others. What will this mean? We will be stretched in both prayer and service.
    In Psalm 5, David ends the prayer with hope.  May our hope be both internally received and externally evident through our compassionate actions.                  -  Pastor Scott T. Arnold
11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. 12 Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.       (Psalm 5:11-12)

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