16 No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
19 to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
I visited the Richard III Centre in Leicester not so long ago, a fantastic museum, well worth a visit. As well as the historic displays and the information about the discovery of Richard’s body in the council car-park, it has a gallery dedicated to his portrayal in the theatre and the impact of Shakespeare’s somewhat one-sided presentation of him as the twisted, evil, deformed tyrant. ‘My horse, my horse, my kingdom for a horse’, or so the Bard has him call from the battlefield as he is about to meet his end. As the Psalmist reminds us, the best place to turn to in trouble is to our God who is always able to save. The final line of this passage has a horrible resonance today as I type having just seen news footage of the growing famines in Africa. Perhaps today our prayers should not be focused on our deliverance, but on those suffering there for theirs.
Lord, forgive us that our turning a blind eye to our sisters and brothers in Africa has allowed the human disaster to get to this crisis point. Give us wisdom to know how best to intervene, the generosity to do so, and above all, Lord, we call on you for your deliverance.