day 21 – put a psalm in my heart

Psalm 56-58 is where we’re at today.

Morning. Psalm 56. While the one who penned this psalm did so while their lot in life was exceedingly dark (vs. 1-2,5-6), they did not lose sight of two things, namely (1) God’s mindfulness of, and tenderness toward, them (vs. 8) and (2) the worst they can experience at the hands of hateful others will not change who they are or change their mind about the Lord (vs. 4b,11). And so, verse 3 is an especially good Scripture for us to memorize and use every day in our life. God is worthy of our faith, not our fears (vs. 3-4,11).

Mid-day. Psalm 57. Though this is certainly a psalm of personal grief and lament, two matters stand out: (1) how the writer constantly keeps God in view no matter what they’re writing about and how difficult their experience (vs. 4) and (2) their trust in God and praise of him. It is one thing to have faith in a time of peace/prosperity. It is quite another thing to believe when blessings are exceedingly hard to come by and mere existence each day hangs by a very slim and frazzled thread. Again, God is trustworthy.

Tonight. Psalm 58 is a community lament. Two matters jump out at you when you read this psalm. First, who exactly is the subject in vs. 1? Are they humans or spirit beings? Compare English renderings. Good question; the Hebrew reads “gods.” The way of the translator is hard; by no means are all matters black and white and interpretation is a necessary part of all translation work. (2) Is the imprecatory prayer of vs.6-9 disturbing? I’ve commented on imprecatory prayers before and this prayer is by no means the last one we’ll encounter in the psalms. It is an unquestionably tough text. One thing is certain – the Lord’s “vengeance” (vs. 10) is not the same thing as human “vengeance” (a passion-based quest to get even). Think more along the lines of justice restored. God is just; he will do the right thing at the right time.