Folded into the midst of of the sixty-ninth psalm is a remarkably simple prayer that captures my attention and ought to capture the attention of every pastor, leader and shepherd.
Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me,
O Lord GOD of hosts;
let not those who seek you be brought to dishonor through me,
O God of Israel.
I love the utter other-centeredness of the prayer. The burden for the hearts of those served and led. The desire embedded within the prayer to guide well, not wanting any kind of shame or dishonor to fall upon those being guided.
I am thankful for the bold and poignant “through me” mentioned twice by the one praying. With those simple words an awareness is revealed about the weight of responsibility, and one can almost feel the resolve of the one praying, as if he might say, “Not on my watch will their be shame or dishonor.”
I treasure the attention given to the Master of the Ages, the God of Hosts, the God of Israel. This focus, coupled to the twice-mentioned petition “let not,” sharpens the psalmist’s plea. Clearly the only real help for the shepherd or leader is the Almighty. From whom else might he find help? And the accountability sown into the fabric of this little lyric is unfathomable. People are counting on the one praying to lead them well, and God is watching, and not just watching but resourcing, every step of the way.
For every missionary or pastor or parent or boss, there is in this prayer an invitation to a selflessness and servanthood that ought to define your every step. People need to be led well.
And so do you and I.