day 19 (trek 2): put a psalm in my heart

Reading and sketching Psalm 50-52 today, this is what I find my eyes fixed on, and so, I draw:

Birds this morning, in Psalm 50.

“I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” (50.11)

Snowflakes at mid-day, in Psalm 51.

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (51.7)

A razor this evening, in Psalm 52.

“Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.” (52.2)

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.

ThisĀ 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. šŸ˜‰

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)

AtĀ 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)

ThisĀ 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,Ā  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)

day 19 – put a psalm in my heart

Put Psalm 50-52 there today.

Morning. Psalm 50. All about God when around God’s people and assembled to worship, but not given to God’s ways the rest of the time? Trusting that as long as you just show up for church and be nice you’ve got your spiritual house in order? God has a problem with that. That’s what this psalm, a psalm of prophetic warning, is all about. If what you put on the altar doesn’t include all that you are (vs. 16-23), then all your sacrifices mean nothing (vs. 7-15). For what God wants is you, not crumbs.

Mid-day. Psalm 51. Does unrepented sin in your life truly bother and burden you? May it do just that. How does real repentance happen, what does it look like, and what all is involved? Owning up to it to yourself and God – confession – is the first step. Your heart has to be broken and you must be broken enough to admit your faults. This is not a one-time thing, must come from the heart, and result in a resolve and change in life. Conviction brings confession which leads to change and commitment. You can’t just grit this out on your own; you partner with the grace-giving God for it all. That’s what this psalm, a psalm of personal lament over person sin, is all about. What God wants is you, not crumbs.

Tonight. Psalm 52. Does it look like those who don’t bow to God are actually the big-time operators in life? Does it trouble you that men or women with wicked designs and ways perpetually have their foot on people’s throat, perhaps including your own? Reflect on this: God sees it all (vs. 1-3). Reflect on this: God will act on it all (vs. 4-5). Reflect on this: you need to, and can, stay planted in God’s steadfast love, waiting on him, placing your hope in him, and making him your refuge (vs. 6-9). This psalm of personal lament reminds us that what God wants is you, not crumbs, even/especially in the most difficult of times.