Today’s reading is Psalm 35.
The first few verses of Psalm 35 seem odd to us. They picture God as lawyer and warrior. Someone is contending against me (and that is actually a legal term), contend against them for me. Someone is fighting against me, rise up and fight them for me. He really digs into the warrior metaphor in vss. 2-3, asking God to take up shields and weapons, and saying to David, “I will be your salvation!”
Then there are vss. 5-6 asking the Lord to have His angel chase the enemies away like chaff before the wind (yes, you should remember Psalm 1:4 here). What is going on here?
Let’s not read this in a vacuum. Look in Exodus 23:20-33. I’ll provide some excerpts.
Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared for you…But if you carefully obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries…I will send my terror before you and will throw into confusion all the people against whom you shall come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you…
David didn’t just make up his prayer on the spot. He wasn’t just thinking of all the things he could say and created these ideas. David knew the Torah.
What is he doing in these prayers? He is asking God to be God. He is asking God to be for him, what He promised to be for Israel. He is asking God to be what God has already said He would be for His people.
Do you want to pray more effectively? Take a page out of David’s book and ask God to be in your life what God has declared He is.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 35.
Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!
Continue reading “Asking God to Be God”
Today’s reading is Psalm 22.
When David wrote this, it wasn’t because he had a vision of how someone else was going to feel centuries later. It was because it was how he felt. Yes, later in the week, we’ll see Jesus in this psalm. But if we jump too quickly to the prophetic nature of this psalm, we will miss the worship nature of this psalm. The suffering in this psalm is extreme. It is impossible to find a record of a time in David’s life that literally matches. To me it fits Joseph in prison or even Daniel in the lion’s den better than any of the stories of David. However, it is clearly not beyond the sweet psalmist of Israel to express his mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish in such intense physical terms to drive home his point. Instead of being encircled by God, he is surrounded by mockers and scorners, by strong bulls, wild lions, and rabid dogs. Like vultures they circle, awaiting his death. And he is on the brink. He is dehydrated and emaciated. His heart can barely pump. His lungs are full of dust. His strength is gone. And David has no idea why God is doing nothing. BUT!!!! But notice what David is still doing. He is still crying out. He is still praying. He knows God’s nature is not defined by what is happening in the present moment. He hasn’t become a different God in this moment than He was in the past when the fathers cried out to Him and He rescued. He is the same God who provided for him as an infant by giving him a mother to nurse him. Of course, it is remembering all of this that makes it even harder to understand the way God is behaving at the moment. But David never entertains the notion that somehow God isn’t there or doesn’t care. He’s confused, even scared. But his faith is an amazing contrast to his declaration of feeling forsaken. What faith!!! Is it one we can mirror? When we feel God is not listening, will we still worship? That is faith.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 22.
Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier that expands on this post!
Continue reading “Forsaken!”