Day 37 of 40: Trapped

Read Psalm 142:1-7.


It’s a religion in the West. We’re the customers and we demand lots of choices. In the supermarket we can choose between several different brands of coffee, cat food, shampoo, and paper towels. The luxury of choice is one that the poor do not have. They have to take what they can get. That’s life for someone in survival mode.

In this passage, the psalmist feels like he has run out of choices. He is trapped, imprisoned, hunted. “I am completely helpless,” he cries (verse 5). Well, not quite. There is one choice left, one choice for everyone: the choice to follow God. “You are my place of safety and you are my choice,” writes the psalmist (verse 5).

So think of this the next time you stand in front of the stacks of cat food at your supermarket. For many people in the world, God is the only choice they have.


When have you felt like the psalmist—starved for choice? How do you usually make choices? Why is reflecting on God’s protection helpful?

How do your actions show that God is your choice? With whom will you share that choice this week? You can reflect the notion of God as a refuge by making your home a refuge. Invite someone in need to share a meal with you.


Help, Lord! Rescue those who are imprisoned or trapped so they can praise your name. May they truly know you as a place of safety.




Next: Day 38 of 40.

Day 36 of 40: Abuse

Read Genesis 38:1-30.

Tamar is a Canaanite who marries into Judah’s family. When her husband dies, she marries the brother, as custom dictates, to “carry on the line.” This was known as a levirate marriage. Children born into this union are considered part of the dead brother’s family line. But Onan’s selfishness netted him a death sentence.

Tamar was trapped: an isolated, childless widow far from her own clan. Technically betrothed to Shelah, she cannot marry anyone else. She has been used and is now useless. So, disguised as a prostitute, she gained children through her father-in-law Judah. His seal and staff, the username and password of the ancient world, were proof as his identity as the father of her children.

This is the tale of a woman trapped into subservience and slavery. Lied to and betrayed by the men around her, the only option opened for Tamar was prostitution. The morality of this tale may be murky, but Tamar’s courage and ingenuity were praised in the story. Tamar knows her duty and does it.

Tamar is the forerunner of so many women and girls who are the victims of lies and broken promises. Yet she triumphs. This lonely, desperate woman became part of the family line of the Messiah (Matthew 1.2–6a).


How does Tamar’s situation help you understand the plight of many women in other countries? Have you ever been tempted to judge someone in Tamar’s situation without understanding her side of the story? Why or why not? Consider how Judah finally owned up to his part.

Live it

Be a good role model and advocate for healthy relationships, demonstrating your value of human life and respect for others. Consider donating to a home for abused women or a ministry that works to rescue women caught in the sex trade in other countries.


Lord, people who abuse others behave as if you wear a blindfold. They rely on fear to prevent their victims from crying out for justice. Give your people boldness to expose the wickedness of abusers, and compassion to defend and support the helpless. Use your powerful arm, Lord God, to help those in need.





Next: Day 37 of 40.