Monday, January 25, 2010

Psalm 13

How long, O LORD ? Will You forget me forever ? How long will You hide Your face from me?
How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day ? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O LORD my God ; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,
And my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken.
But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness ; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD, Because He has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13 seems to express many of my own feelings at this time in my life. The past three and a half years have been very different than I expected, and at many times I have felt forgotten as David expresses here. Many days have gone by and are here now that it seems God has forgotten my dreams and desires. Many months have gone by that I feel I do not have a close connection with Him, though I seek Him.

The phrase “take counsel in my soul” reminds me of the many hours of thinking and analyzing the situation I find myself in. How long will I sit and analyze all aspects of this situation I don’t like, turning it over and over in my mind and driving myself crazy! This analysis causes sorrow in my heart all day long, as David expresses.

In the Psalms when I read “my enemies,” I often think of my personal enemies as the devil and his demons. I don’t have an army surrounding me or a king and his soldiers hunting me as David did, but I know that because of my relationship with Christ, Satan is hunting me and trying to snare me. How long will it seem that he has victory in my life? How long will he be able to celebrate because of my misery?

Verse 5 and 6 of this psalm are both soothing and challenging to me. Like David, I have trusted God’s lovingkindness and been the recipient of God’s great grace. In my sorrow, I don’t always return to these facts, but David reminds me that this is what I need to do. I need to remember God’s great lovingkindness towards me, remember the meaning of my salvation and the price God paid for it, and praise my God! Life may not be what I expected, but I have received a gift I do not deserve. “He has dealt bountifully with me.” There are things on this earth I may not have, but eternally and spiritually, I have Yahweh- I have everything.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Psalm 1

Psalm 1
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.

This psalm is one of the most familiar and most dear to me. When I was in the sixth grade and my mom started homeschooling my siblings and I, one of the first things we did was to learn Psalm 1 together. I do not remember every verse I have ever memorized, but Psalm 1 has never left my memory.

I remember loving how this Psalm flows and rolls off the tongue. I love the picture of the righteous man as the strong tree. I also enjoyed saying emphatically “Not so, the wicked!” and picturing the chaff blowing away on the breeze.

Psalm 1 is wonderful encouragement to the young Christian to turn away from evil and walk in the path of righteousness. It starts out with “how blessed,” so right away you see that the man who chooses righteousness will benefit. And how does he become blessed? By delighting in God’s word, and meditating on it. I know this was encouragement for me when I was young to take God’s word seriously. And then comes the memorable word picture of a beautiful tree. Who would not want to be like this tree? It is strong, fruitful, and prosperous. It is well-established and does not wither in time of drought. “In whatever he does, he prospers.” Because of a love for God’s word and choosing to walk in God’s ways, the righteous man prospers.

The contrast between the well-established tree and the chaff is so distinct, but perhaps the best part of this psalm is the statement “the Lord knows the way of the righteous.” Because I have been declared righteous, God knows me and my ways! God knows my ways, and watches over me. What a wonderful God.