Thursday, July 31, 2014
Be merciful to me, God; be merciful to me
because I come to you for protection.
Let me hide under the shadow of your wings
until the trouble has passed.
I cry out to God Most High,
to the God who does everything for me.
He sends help from heaven and saves me.
He punishes those who chase me. Selah
God sends me his love and truth.
Enemies, like lions, are all around me;
I must lie down among them.
Their teeth are like spears and arrows,
their tongues as sharp as swords.
God is supreme over the skies;
his majesty covers the earth.
They set a trap for me.
I am very worried.
They dug a pit in my path,
but they fell into it themselves.
My heart is steady, God; my heart is steady.
I will sing and praise you.
Wake up, my soul.
Wake up, harp and lyre!
I will wake up the dawn.
Lord, I will praise you among the nations;
I will sing songs of praise about you to all the nations.
Your great love reaches to the skies,
your truth to the clouds.
God, you are supreme above the skies.
Let your glory be over all the earth.
Life is just one challenge, one test, one anxiety after another. We've had some heavy stuff lately and I unloaded to my friend, Judy, the other day. Like the good friend she is, she listened. Then she said, "You need to read Psalm 57." I sure did!
These eleven verses give us some key lessons for walking this Christian life. The first thing I noticed is that David wrote this when he was in a cave, on the run for his life. It pushed me to read once more the story of his difficult relationship with King Saul. For no good reason - except his own pride and jealousy - Saul had come to hate David and vowed to kill him. More than once, when Saul and David were in a room together, Saul hurled his spear at the young man hoping to pin him to the wall. David always managed to elude the danger and eventually went on the run to escape with his life. In short, when David wrote these words, he was in a hot mess, to use a popular term.
I'm so glad that David was a writer and was willing to bare his soul in his words so that we might take comfort and encouragement from them. This psalm in particular gives us an example of what we are to do when trouble lurks.
First of all, we are to go to God and state our case. Make our concerns and difficulties known to him. Yes, he knows them already, but when we bring them before his throne of grace it helps us to get on the same page with him. We can then ask for his help and protection. "Let me hide in the shadow of your wings until the trouble has passed." We're like the helpless baby duckling covered by the mother's wing.
Most importantly, we are to follow David's example and give God our praises in the midst of all the troubles ... fears ... dangers ... threats ... aggravations ... angers ...all the things of life that swirl around us. Our God inhabits the praises of his people and we are to let him know that we appreciate and affirm his sovereignty and power over all the earth...even over all the difficulties that plague us. Verse 2 says, "I cry out to the God who does everything for me." Another translation I read says, "I cry out to God who is fulfilling his purpose in my life." It's only through his Holy Spirit that I can know his purpose for my life and work together with him to fulfill it.
David closes by saying, "My heart is steady." Isn't that a blessing to bring to God...a steady heart? Keeping a steady heart is not easy because we're pulled in so many directions by our lives - by all our responsibilities and commitments, needs of others, needs of our own. We all know that keeping ourselves in the Word and staying in an attitude of prayer are the things that create a steady heart. When we pull ourselves back from the ledge of frustration and all the other emotions that run rampant in our souls in trying times and pick up that Book...well, it's just the only path to finding that peace that passes understanding.
In the words of writer/speaker Anne Voskamp:
Lord, all that matters is that it is well with my soul. It may not be well with our bodies, the sink, the laundry, the work, the wallet or the world, but it is well with our soul because Your grace touch is salve enough for our wounds, Your certain hope is water enough for our parched places, Your unfailing arms are more than welcome enough for our rest, so it is well with my soul and that is why all is well -- why even now, even we are well.
Can I get an Amen?