day 49 – put a psalm in my heart

Today, we ponder an excerpt of a careful composition (Psalm 119.33-72) and this preacher’s comments on it are exceedingly random, having only the thought of paying close attention tying the remarks together.

This morning we read Psalm 119.33-48.

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (vs. 37)

Three decades ago, you could commonly find available for sale in a Christian bookstore (remember those?), wooden plaques with verse 37 inscribed on them. More often than not, if you entered a Christian home and found such an item present, it was sitting on top of the television set. 😉

I wonder: if a similar thing existed today, would it be a decal to affix to the top of one’s smartphone screen?

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (vs. 37)

At mid-day today we read Psalm 119.49-56.

“Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.” (vs. 54)

Perhaps it is the effect of a combination of antibiotics and steroids on my brain, but ever since I began battle with a relatively mild illness seventeen days ago I have woke up every day with a song in my head that I cannot remove until I go to sleep again. Each day’s song is different and the songs are quite random, most of them being ones I haven’t heard in many years. Only this do they seem to have in common: they’re all old rock songs and seem to have a reference or two in them to some passage(s) of Scripture.

Yesterday, the song was “Missionary Man” by The Eurhythmics and the line that stood out to me was the opening words: “I was born an original sinner; I was born in original sin.” Which I construe as a nod by Annie Lennox and David Stewart to the influence of Psalm 51.5 on their brains.

Which leads me to ask myself: what songs do I deliberately sing to myself or aloud throughout the day, whenever and wherever, that speak directly to something the Lord has said?

“Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge.” (vs. 54)

This evening we read Psalm 119.57-72.

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (vs. 71)

It is anything but natural or commonplace for us to hear someone say, “I’m glad I suffered,” “I’m happy to have been hurt,” or “My pain now pleases me.” When we hear such a remark we, like a dog, likely cock our head to one side with our ears up, as it were, and then tune in even a bit more closely as to what might, most oddly, be about to be said, or happen, next. Such statements don’t, upon first hearing, seem right at all?

And yet, if we’re reflective, we can likely say this of something(s) quite specific in our own life, can’t we? We found ourselves flattened by something that came our way in life – or that we unwittingly brought upon ourselves – and then, what we had hardly been about before – or at least not in this depth or way – suddenly became our ceaseless craving, our very hunger and thirst: a word from God. Then we perceived what we could not before: the pain was worth it to hear from God.

Which makes me curious: what will it take for me to give more of my attention to God, what is it that I need to be aware of that I am oblivious to at the moment,  and what is it that I currently seek to avoid that would remove my deafness, learning, and appreciation?

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (vs. 71)