Our Psalms and Luke readings today link together encouraging us to think and live positively, helping us to counteract false values more effectively. There are times when these greatly affect us and threaten to overwhelm us. When the ways of the world start to buffet us Psalm 130 has much encouragement: “Out of the depths I cry to you O LORD … be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared” (verses 1-4).

Then the question arises, what counts as iniquities? In the days of Moses the people would look to the 10 commandments; but Jesus, as we read in Luke 6 today, describes Christ-like behaviour as being much more than avoiding bad behaviour, such stealing and committing adultery.

Jesus taught, “But I say unto you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you …” (verses 27,28). Then Jesus sets out the ‘golden rule’ saying, “as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (verse 31). It has always been the greatest challenge to live as God requires. David knew this.

Jesus set it out in plain language – and lived it to set us an example. With gratitude we remember David’s words – and see his life as an example, if we stumble off the narrow pathway that Jesus described (Matthew 7:14).

Therefore we need to remember David’s words that God is “feared” because with him “there is forgiveness”. He is not feared because He is an angry God, rather He is feared (‘held in the deepest reverence’) because He is a loving God. Tomorrow’s Psalm 131 is by David. He writes, “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up … I have calmed and quieted my soul like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me” (verses 1,2). Can we do the same? In one sense Christ is our mother; let us make sure we have a real and growing relationship with him.