Sunday, September 7, 2008

Psalm 37.

Days like this - when my head is full and my heart even more full, and I can't seem to find a starting point, I turn to my Bible. It brings peace, it brings promise. It brings correction and reproof. It brings clarity. Come with me, through Psalm 37. It's an old favorite, one that's been comforting for me for so many years.

Verses 1-2
Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

This one spoke to me specifically at a time when I was truly afraid of certain people. I was afraid of what they could do, what they could say. Afraid of the pain they could inflict, not just on me, but on themselves and on others. It changed the way I looked at them. I stopped being afraid of them, and started praying that God would intervene in them. If they will soon die away, they don't have much time. And no matter what a person does, hell is not something I could ever want for them.

Verses 3-6
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

Trust in the Lord. We say it all the time. It's a phrase we toss around like so many empty platitudes. But what does it really say?
I looked up the word trust. Here's what I found:
1. reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of someone or something; confidence
2. confident expectation of something; hope
3. someone or something on which one relies

Of course, there were several more paragraphs, but those three stood out to me. Trust in the Lord. Rely on His integrity, strength, ability, and surety. Confidently expect... what? Expect HIM to make your righteousness shine like the dawn. Have you ever been awake at dawn? I have. It starts with the horizon looking just a little lighter. If there are clouds, the bottoms glow orange or golden, sometimes red. Then, suddenly, light floods the earth as a sliver of light, blindingly brilliant for eyes adjusted to the dark cracks the horizon. That is how He'll make your righteousness shine. Dawn gets brighter, more beautiful. So will your righteousness. Not because of you or your own strength or ability. Because of Him and His ability and strength and perfection.

There's so much more just in these few verses. I'll leave it at this, for now - I'm sure I'll be back to this Psalm before long.

Verse 7
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

My focus, my interest, the part that really speaks to me in this verse? The first portion. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him. I'm learning this. I'm working on this. I'm doing my best in this. I've got the waiting patiently part - not totally or completely, but it's something I've gotten better at. I am far more patient than I used to be. It's the "Be still" part. When you go before the Lord, do you do what I do? Do you start talking and talking and talking? Do you feel compelled to fill the silence? I do. I'm learning not to. In the past year, I've been learning to just... be. Just quietly wait for Him to speak to my heart.

I like to be outside. The times when I feel closest to God, when I most often hear Him speak to my heart, are when I am outside. Alone. Somewhere quiet and peaceful. I like to find a rock or a fallen tree and sit. I like to soak in the sunlight, smell the flowers and the grass, let the songs of birds fill my mind and quiet my thoughts. It is then, in the stillness, when I feel Him the strongest. It is in times like that when He's whispered reassurance, gently comforted. It is in those times when He's pointed out ways that I'm wrong, things I need to do differently. I love those times. And if I'm not still, they don't happen.

Verses 8-17
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret - it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming.

The wicked draw their sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken.

Do you get the impression that wickedness is definitely not the way to go? This particular section has never really gotten to me, so that's all I'm going to write about it.

Verses 18-19
The days of the blameless are known to the Lord, and their inheritance will endure forever. In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

That's a steep promise. One that seems particularly applicable of late. Not that our world is really that disaster or famine ridden - but we do seem to be leaning that general direction. This promise says that I won't wither. It says that I'll enjoy plenty. It says my inheritance will endure forever.

It says my days are known to the Lord. Remember last time I wrote? The Lord. Almighty. Omnipotent. Creator of the universe. Indescribable. Unfathomable. Perfect. And my days are known to Him. Wow.

Why? Because I'm blameless. Not because I'm perfect or have done nothing to be blamed for. But because My GOD has preserved me blameless. He paid the price for me. He ransomed me. He loved me first. Wow.

Verses 20-22
But the wicked will perish: the Lord's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish - vanish like smoke. The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those He curses will be cut off.

Verses 23-24
If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes His steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds Him with His hand.

I like this one. And I'm going to close here - a little more than halfway through this particular Psalm.

I stumble. A lot. I try my best, but overall, I tend to fail. I don't do the things I know I should. I do things I shouldn't. I get irrational, angry, jealous. I lie. I hold grudges. All those things that we like to pretend don't apply to us. But. Even though I stumble, I will not fall.

Because God, Almighty Himself, holds me up with His hand. His powerful, perfect, loving hand.

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1 comment:

boltefamily said...

WOW! thank you! What a great blog! I really needed this today!