This psalm is not for the faint hearted. It has resonances for me with the start of the story of Noah and the 40 day flood which violently birthed a new world. Genesis 6:11 “Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence…”Like God in the story of Noah, the Psalmist is frustrated with the magnitude of humanity’s corruption and ignorance to not do good, to not act wisely seeking God. Yet at the same time the Psalmist has hope, seated in a deep trust that God is the refuge for the most vulnerable to humanity’s corruption (the poor) and that God is with those still trying to do good in the midst of the corruption. The psalmist wants God to send help, deliverance.
These feelings and perceptions are real for us today. Frustration at the magnitude of humanity’s corruption as we see communities in Bangladesh flood due to global warming, or patterns of violence or prejudice passed on from parent to child. Frustration that we passively and actively collude with humanity’s corruption often in wilful ignorance, living as part of the wealthy western world.
But the Psalmist shows that alongside frustration, hope can also exist. Hope in the trust that God is with the most vulnerable and with those who work for good / justice even in situations where they seem to be working against the prevailing current. Hope that God will bring deliverance, even if that means the flooding and washing away of what are familiar but corrupt systems, practices and perceptions, in order to birth a new world.
Not for the faint hearted but deeply hopeful for all who struggle.