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  • Fr. Tarcisio

Bible study. PSALM 144 (143) LORD, what are human beings that you care for them.


1. TYPE OF PSALM: Hymn of victory

This Psalm arises from the certainty that God will not abandon us in the fight against evil. For this reason, the person praying sings a melody accompanying it with his ten-stringed harp, sure that the Lord "gives victory to the kings and saves David, his servant" (vv. 9-10).

2. READ THE WORD.

. 1 Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle. 2 He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples[a] under me.

3 Lord, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? 4 They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow.

5 Part your heavens, Lord, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke.

6 Send forth lightning and scatter the enemy; shoot your arrows and rout them. 7 Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners 8 whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

9 I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you, 10 to the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David.

From the deadly sword 11 deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.

13 Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; 14 our oxen will draw heavy loads.[b] There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets.

15 Blessed is the people of whom this is true; blessed is the people whose God is the Lord.

What does the text say?

The psalm consists of two different parts: 1) Appeal of a king who is in anguished situation as a result of attacks by enemy peoples that threaten the peace of Israel (vv. 1-11). 2) Exaltation of the prosperity of Israel for its fidelity to God (vv. 12-15).

In vv. 3-4. It is about divine Providence towards the human being, which in his smallness is worthy of the attention: “Lord, what are human beings that you care for them? Mere mortals that you think of them?" Next, the psalmist describes the manifestation of his God in storms, comparing his greatness with the power of thunders and lightning, indicating that even being above the great forces of nature, he is capable of paying attention to the smallness of human beings.

Vv. 7-11. The psalmist's request is a cry for help against the threat of enemies. He makes a promise, because he knows in advance that he will be victorious, he will sing praises to the lord with the ten-string harp, celebrating the victory: because God will not leave him alone.

vv. 12-15. Israel's prosperity will be reflected in the number of its sons, daughters, strong, healthy and happy sons. Also, when their warehouses are full of the fruit of the earth and their cattle multiply. Then the city will be at peace, its inhabitants will feel safe: they will be thrilled for having the help of their God.

3. MEDITATE ON THE WORD. Does this reading say anything special to you?

Only with God's support can we overcome the dangers and difficulties that we encounter daily in our lives. Only with heaven's help will we be able to strive, like the ancient king of Israel, towards liberation and peace.

4. PRAY WITH THE WORD. What do you say to God?

You have revealed to us, Father, what man is, by sending your Son to our world to be a man; You have exalted our fragile existence and have wanted to dialogue with our poverty; incline your sky and never forget the work of your hands.

5. CONTEMPLATE THE WORD. How does your look change?

With this prayer, we face the struggles of each day, confident that God will train our hands for combat, our fingers for combat.

What are human beings? (v. 3). If God has noticed man, if he looks so much at him and puts his heart in him, it cannot be a dream. Although his life is short and fragile, he shares with his creator the hope of eternity.

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