Reflections On Psalm 6

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The violins are playing a dirge…

And it’s not for a funeral. It’s for a man who is pining away. The music he hears in his head is mournful. And the words he hears in his heart are sorrowful. The two go together like tears and grief.

David wrote Psalm 6 for the eight stringed lyre. He wrote words to mock and composed music to taunt. Music to express sorrow. A sorrow that’s almost too hard to express because it comes from someplace deep.

Like the pit of the soul.

The place where sometimes there just aren’t any words. Only sounds.

Yet, somehow, David–this man whom God called “a man after His own heart”–always seemed to find the words. Somehow, he always managed to give God the raw emotions that threatened to eat him alive if he didn’t bring them to the surface.

I don’t know about any of you, but I can recall a season when I, too, was pining away. Far from God. Weak. Feeble. Head hanging down and heart drooping low. Bones disturbed and soul dismayed.

Sin does that. It affects the entire body, soul, and spirit.

This is what David is trying to tell us. He knows he’s messed up. He knows he’s done wrong. He knows he deserves God’s wrath.

But, David also knows his God. So he appeals to His Father’s mercy.

“O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger, Nor chasten me in Your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed. And my soul is greatly dismayed; But You, O Lord–how long? Return, O Lord, rescue my soul; Save me because of Your loving kindness.” Psalm 6:1-4

Even though it sounds like David feels abandoned by God, he still believes God is there. He still cries out to God. He still talks to God. He still believes God will listen. God will forgive. God will restore.

Because this he knows…

“The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished…” Exodus 34:6

For all of David’s messes, he still knew what it would take to get right with God.

I can’t help but wonder…the way David felt…for all his pining, all his sighing, all his groaning…I wonder…was it God Himself that he missed the most? Is that what made his heart so sick? Is that what made his soul so dismayed? His bones so disturbed?

“A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Sometimes God’s silence can be so frustrating. So disturbing. So depressing.

I don’t like it when God is silent. I, too, have found it very disturbing. I, too, have cried out in frustration, “How long, O Lord–how long?!?” 

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, Nor faint when you are reproved by Him; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines…

He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”  Hebrews 12: 5, 6, 10, 11

David was a man of great passion. But so is God. His lovingkindness is all about His zeal for His children. All about His goodness. His kindness. His faithfulness.

It’s also all about His holiness. His righteousness. His salvation.

When I mess up–and I do–I appeal to God’s mercy. I appeal to His lovingkindness.

But, I also have to understand that sometimes there are consequences. If I believe that God truly loves me, then I have to believe He will discipline me in His love. Not His anger. He will always be merciful. He will always be kind. He will always be faithful.

Even in consequences, God’s grace is sufficient.

And how long does it take? Until I learn. Until God knows I’m ready. Until He feels I’m equipped.

I may get weary with my sighing. My bed may swim and my couch may dissolve with tears. My eyes may waste away with grief, but this I know…

“The Lord hears my voice of weeping….He hears my supplication…He receives my prayers.” 

I wouldn’t ask God to rescue me if I didn’t think He could deliver me. 

I wouldn’t ask God to save me if I didn’t think He could liberate me.

I wouldn’t ask God to return to me if I didn’t think He could strengthen me.

I wouldn’t ask God to heal me if I didn’t think He could restore me.

And so…I’ll never stop asking. I’ll never stop making my appeals.

No matter how many times I mess up, I know God will never abandon me. He loves me too much.

I may hear the violins play a dirge in my head every now and then…I may feel like I’m pining away…I may sigh and groan and dissolve my bed with tears, but it’s not because I’m forgotten by God.

It’s because I feel something deep in the pit of my soul.

Even when I hurt over my sin, I’m always comforted in my salvation. And because of that, I will always find the words. While the violins play a soulful tune, I will pour out my heart, trusting God will always hear and God will always pardon.

I will always trust in His love.

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Next Sunday is Easter. My favorite holiday of the year. Yes, I love it more than Christmas. Because I’m so thankful for the Cross.

I don’t know when it hit me exactly…but one day…many years ago it dawned on me…before I could see the Risen Savior I had to see the Crucified Christ. Because the Cross is at the root of it all.

No, the Cross isn’t pretty. It’s ugly, but it leads to something beautiful. This is why I lead a reflective life. I reflect to connect with Jesus. All the ugly in my life He has turned into something beautiful. He took my whole heart and held it gently in the palms of His hands and healed it…with all His tenderness and all His love and He bound my heart to His.

And I can only hope my heart now reflects less of me and more of Him.

Easter Joy!

 

God is Jealous For Me

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God’s jealousy for me makes me weep.

Because sometimes it’s just so hard for me to understand why He would care enough about me to be jealous at all.

Because He’s faithful. Even when I am not.

Because He’s merciful. Even when I am not.

Because He’s God. And I am not.

“Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14

God is jealous, not in the angry, malicious, violent sense, but in the burning, holy, righteous sense. He is zealous for His good Name. And I am His child. I wear His Name.

HIS Name. A Name that makes some people curse and others praise. A Name that makes some shake their fists and others lift their hands. A Name that makes some kick and scream and others bow low. A Name that makes some cringe and others hope.

But no matter how people react, He’s still God and there’s just something about His Name.

My Sunday School class at church is studying, Praying The Names Of God, by Ann Spangler. I love it. I really love it. I love focusing on a different name for God each week. Every day, pondering, reflecting, chewing on the significance of the names, understanding the meaning of the names, and trying to wrap my mind around the character of God.

This morning I’ve been reflecting on El Kanna (EL kan-NAH), Jealous God.

And it’s in my reflecting that I weep.

Because I want to be zealous for the God who is zealous for me. I want to praise, even when my heart is sad. I want to lift my hands, even when my arms are heavy. I want to bow, even when my legs are weak. I want to hope, even when my soul is downcast.

When I’m too focused on my humanity or too distracted by the world, my heart tends to stray and God wants my heart. All of it. That’s why He never lets me stray too far. That’s why He never leaves me where I am. That’s why He never gives up on me. He is mindful in His pursuit of me and I can’t tell you how I rejoice in this knowledge. It’s just a little too wonderful for me.

That’s why I can trust in His Name, El Kanna, and all it represents and all it stirs inside of me.

Because wearing God’s Name reminds me of Whose I am. Bearing His Name reminds me of Who I serve. Calling on His Name reminds me of Who has my heart.

When all I need is found in Christ, why would I want to praise, lift my hands, bow down or hope in anyone or anything else? Ever? Why would I want to let my heart stray when I have a God who loves me so? And, yet, God knows that sometimes I do. That’s why He’s jealous for me.

“I am the Lord; that is My name! I will not give my glory to another, or my praise to idols.” Isaiah 42:8

Yes, God is Jealous God. And rightfully so. His love is perfect and holy, fiercely protective and intensely powerful. His love propels Him to want what’s best for me and guard the part of me that’s most precious to Him.

So, today this is how I pray:

Yes, Father. I will let You be jealous for me. I will let You be zealous in Your love for me. I will let You guide me, grace me, and guard me. 

Because I love You, too. And I want to honor You. Because You are faithful. And merciful.   

Because I want to give You the glory that is rightfully Yours.

Because You are worthy.

Because You are God. And I am not.