Week 7, Holy Week –Lead us not into Temptation and Deliver Us from Evil
Psalms of Deliverance
7, 10, 12, 13, 17, 22, 26, 31, 35, 39, 44, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 69, 70, 71, 74, 77, 79, 80, 82, 83, 85, 88, 90, 94, 108, 109, 120, 126, 137, 140, 141, 142
I have long had a love/hate relationship with Holy Week. I love the liturgies and the Scripture readings; they are so rich in meaning. However I hate what they entail if you seriously undertake these celebrations. They require that you go through the gates of death, walk with Jesus during his final hours, endure all that he endured.
Holy Week tests us and I don’t enjoy being tested. Jesus taught us to pray, put us not to the test. He knew that the spirit was willing but the flesh weak. The apostles are put to the test during the final day of Jesus’ life and failed miserably. None were able to stay awake with Jesus; Peter denied he knew Jesus and all fled out of fear.
It is appropriate that our psalms for this final week of our Bible study are psalms of deliverance.
They fit well with the events of Holy Week. In these psalms God’s people cry out to him to save them, rescue, redeem, deliver and have pity on them. “These psalms are the prayers of the ‘Anawim’ – the lowly ones among God’s people, who, like the Apostles, have learned to depend totally on the Lord for their safety, well-being and their success,” Fr. Murphy tells us.
They make up the largest category of psalms we have considered. It would appear that there were a great many reasons for the Hebrew people to seek deliverance. These psalms recount tales of being unjustly accused, of innocent suffering and the need to rely on God in the face of evil. Deliver us from the evil that surrounds us are the prayers of the people.
As Fr. Murphy tells us, “the seventh phrase deals with remaining in and/or being restored to that union with God as we, in our human frailty, encounter the obstacles and trials which inevitably await us along the path of our lives.” And so we pray, lead us not into temptation, and where that is not possible, keep us safe from evil; keep us close to you, Lord.
If overwhelmed by the number of psalms in this category, then pick a few to reflect on rather than trying to cover all of them. Of importance during Holy Week are Psalm 22 and 31, both of which are part of the traditional readings of this week. Jesus quotes from them while on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (22:1a) and, “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” (31:6a)
Others you might want to focus on are 12, 13, 17, 56, 80, 85, 90, 94, 126 and 142, or chose randomly from the selection above. Psalm 85 is traditionally used during Advent, a national lament where the people beg for God’s forgiveness, including the beautiful passage: “Love and truth will meet; justice and peace will kiss.” (11) 126 is a lament after the Israelites returned from exile, remembering how God restored their fortunes and asking God to restore their fortunes again. It ends with the promise that “those who sow in tears will reap with cries of joy.” (5)
They remind us that our God does save us if we put our trust in him. As you progress through Holy Week, reflect on how you are being tested this week. Put your trust in God, following the example of Jesus on the cross.
Copyright 3/13 Robertson