day 16 – put a psalm in my heart

Three psalms are before us today. Er, make that two. Psalm 41-43.

This morning. In Ps. 41 someone who has been through the ringer of severe illness and personal betrayal has been delivered from it all, and so, thanks God (vs. 1-3, 13). Note that wonderful word of praise (doxology) in the last verse. It works well as a closer for this particular psalm of personal thanksgiving. And, it is a fitting summation of praise arising from all of the preceding psalms thus far (the first “book,” collection, of psalms).

Question. As you read vs. 9, did your mind hyper-link to the words and experience of Jesus regarding Judas (John 13.18)? As you read John 13.18, let it instruct you as to how the Bible often uses the word “fulfilled.” That is, not so much as a fulfillment of prophetic words that related only to the Messiah, but a word as to the Messiah being filled up in the experience of identifying with the words and ways of humankind. Jesus thought of, and identified with, Ps. 41.9 when he experienced what he did with Judas. It was not as though Ps. 41.9 was void of meaning until Jesus came, but that Jesus came into the meaning of our experiences. The incarnate Son of God “became” the Son of Man every day he got up.

Tonight. Though these two psalms (Ps. 42-43) appear as separate psalms today, they were originally one (cf. the recurring refrain – 42.5, 11; 43.5), and so, they should be read as one today. Think of it all as the words of one walking through the valley of the shadow of depression, talking with themselves and God about what it is like. God seems distant to them (42.1) – as distant a trek as a deer might make to drink from a creek or pool – but the author determines to keep on walking and searching and not give up.

While this psalm could be the words of anyone, it sounds like the psalmist was one who led, or used to lead, others in worship (42.4). In fact, now it is probably hard to read the opening verse (42.1) and not have your mind snap to a popular song based upon it: As the Deer. And so from now on, at least on occasion, do this: as you have opportunity to sing As the Deer, call to mind the original context of the verse (i.e. – a worship leader and their own personal struggles) and pray for those who lead you in worship as you sing. Similarly, remember the struggling discouraged and those who have long grappled with depression, and then lift them up to God in your prayers.