Sunday, November 23, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

PSALM MONDAY - #2

Today's Psalm is #7

"Lord my  God, in you I find refuge; rescue me from all my pursuers and save me
before they tear at my throat like a lion and drag me off beyond hope of rescue.
Lord my God, if I have done any of these things -- if I have stained my hands with guilt,
if I have repaid a friend evil for good or wantonly despoiled an adversary --
let an enemy come in pursuit and overtake me, let him trample my life to the ground
and lay my honour in the dust!

Arise Lord, in your anger, rouse yourself in wrath against my adversaries.
My God who ordered justice to be done, awake. 
Let the peoples assemble around you; take your seat on high above them. 
The Lord passes sentence on the nations.
Uphold my cause, Lord, as my righteousness deserves, for I am clearly innocent.
Let the wicked do no more harm, but grant support to the righteous, 
you searcher of heart and mind, you righteous God.

I rely on God to shield me; he saves the honest of heart.
God is a just judge, constant in his righteous anger. 

The enemy sharpens his sword again, strings his bow and makes it ready. 
It is against himself he has prepared his deadly shafts and tipped his arrows with fire.
He is in labour with iniquity; he has conceived mischief and given birth to lies.
He has made a pit and dug it deep, but he himself will fall into the hole he was making.
His mischief will recoil upon him, and his violence fall on his own head.

I shall praise the Lord for his righteousness and sing to the name of the Lord Most High."

(from the Oxford Study Bible)

This is a long one. I'll just highlight a couple impressions I have from this today. David is praying for deliverance, protesting his innocence, asking for justice, confident God will be righteous in judgement, outlining what is wicked and then offering praise. All I could think of while reading this was what if the author had been Uriah? And he was asking God to avenge him for David's plot to kill him and keep Bathsheba? David seems self righteous himself in this Psalm. I also kept thinking "Be careful what you ask for there, dog, you might just get it!!" 

I read that David was very beloved of God, even though he was a hound dog in his behavior. It seems to me God overlooked all that nasty business of the flesh in regarding the bigger picture.  

It also seems to me that Jesus also minimized the business of the flesh in regarding the bigger picture and gave love precedence over all in the business of salvation and eternal life. 

I find that oddly comforting today. Especially after David asks for help before his enemies drag him off "beyond hope of rescue". It gives me pause to think that this is even possible. I know, I know, Jesus is the rescuer. But still. David was a favorite and it was possible for him. Still, oddly comforted. 

Monday, November 10, 2008

PSALM MONDAY

I am inspired by Lindy. A Psalm a day sounds like a good dose of day start-age. Today is the first day, so the first Psalm it is. Every Monday I'll post where I'm at. 

PSALM 1

Happy is the one who does not take the counsel of the wicked for a guide,
or follow the path that sinners tread, 
or take his seat in the company of scoffers.
His delight is in the law of the Lord;
it is his meditation day and night.
He is like a tree planted beside water channels;
it yields its fruit in season and its foliage never fades.
So he too prospers in all he does.

The wicked are not like this;
rather they are like chaff driven by the wind.
When judgement comes, therefore, they will not stand firm,
nor will sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

The Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked is doomed.

(Oxford Study Bible)


There are different categories of person in this psalm. I'd like to think I was righteous, though I know it's not always so. There are two definitions for righteous, which helps. One is "morally upright, justifiable and virtuous," and the other is "perfectly wonderful, fine and genuine". Sometimes I am those things in various combination. But not always. Sometimes I have been the other things in this psalm: wicked, scoffer and a sinner. And honestly I do not always delight in the law. It's not my meditation day and night. There are chores here! Lots of them.

Does that mean that when I am not righteous God is not watching over me any more, or that I'm just not really happy? Maybe it's similar to when I watch my son for the umpteenth time walk away from the bathroom without flushing. After throwing up my hands in frustration, I just charge him 50 cents. That actually worked. He was not at all happy about paying 50 cents a non-flush. Maybe when we stray from the path, God just backs off, lets us suffer the consequences till we figure it out and get back on track.  "The way of the wicked is doomed". (For some reason  that makes me think of Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes")

Then again there are many times I do my best to stay the course and do not feel at all "watched over" during the major "crappity" (thanks Cheesehead) whatsoever. That one I cannot figure out. It's on my list of "What was THAT about?" when I meet up with the Lord. 

I don't think I'm supposed to go through my day pointing at people, deciding they're wicked and giggling over their doom. That would be far too simplistic and inaccurate a take on this Psalm. I think instead, I will try to be a tree today. With  great looking foliage. Righteous foliage.