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!

 

Reflections On Psalm 2

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I got a traffic ticket. Once. Nearly broke my heart. Felt seriously like a criminal. My pride was crushed. Never could I ever say, “I’ve never had a speeding ticket in my entire life.”

I remember it like it was yesterday.

My younger son got glasses when he was in the second grade. It never occurred to me that he would have trouble keeping up with them, much less keeping them on his face!! Any 7-year old should be able to keep up with glasses, right?

Of course not. What was I thinking? Don’t answer that.

Those first couple of weeks with new eye-ware were an adjustment period for us all. Brandon would take them off and forget where he put them and I would search for them. We made several trips back to the school at the end of the day so he could retrieve them.

One particular day when he got off the bus without them, we really, really needed to be somewhere right after school so upon leaving the school parking lot I pulled out and hit the gas. Within 3 seconds my rearview mirror lit up with bright, flashing lights and my heart flipped out. With a quick glance at the speedometer I let out a groan and pulled over…

45 in a 35 mile per hour zone–a zone complete with subdivisions on either side of the street and a school in the midst. Families, children, pets everywhere. And I wasn’t thinking of any of them.

The policeman who pulled me over was actually very nice. Kind, even. I even think he was a little tenderhearted. I don’t think he really wanted to give me that ticket. He hesitated as if he hoped I’d offer an explanation. He definitely didn’t throw his weight around.

Maybe because I said something like, “I’m so sorry. Just give me the ticket.” I even hung my head. Tears actually fell off my cheeks onto that yellow piece of paper as I signed on the dotted line.

Because I deserved that ticket.

That was over 20 years ago and I’m proud to say I’ve never had another one since.

But maybe I shouldn’t be so proud. Because in all honesty, I don’t always go the speed limit.

You know that 5-miles-per-hour-over-rule? Well, that’s me. Yep, most of the time I give myself 5 miles over. And, guess what? I’m still breaking the law. If I ever get a ticket for going 5-miles over, I’d deserve it. If  a policeman pulled me over with a blue-light-special, I’d still accept the consequences. That’s the law and a policeman wears the badge to show he has the authority to enforce the law.

Psalm 2 is one of those psalms you have to dig deep to find gold. It’s not one of those psalms we turn to over and over again, but I kept focusing on verse 4. It’s the only place in Scripture where we’re actually told that God laughs…and it’s not the fun-loving kind of laugh that makes us feel good.

God laughs because even though the pride of man, especially earthly kings and rulers, makes it look like human power prevails over God’s power at times…haha…it just can’t be done.

In fact, the patience and lovingkindness of God to wait until the appointed time to act shows great restraint and power on His part! Some tend to think that God doesn’t see or God doesn’t care or God can’t perform mighty acts anymore or maybe…heaven, forbid…He just isn’t more powerful than the enemy.

That’s what the scoffers say, anyway. That’s what the mockers think. But, those who know who God really is…those who trust that He is The Omnipotent One…they know better.

Those who believe that God is mighty and powerful and able to save will find rest in His omnipotence.

Psalm 2 is a warning (verse 10). A warning to the kings and rulers of this earth that God has glorified His Son (verses 7 & 8). It should be a great comfort to us that He has, too.

Though Jesus was, and still is, mocked, ridiculed, and blasphemed by men, God will not allow His Son to be stripped of His crown. Though nations rebel and earthly kings rage against Him…though they show Him irreverence and openly defy Him…God has still raised Him up, exalted Him, glorified Him, and set Him upon The Holy Mountain (verse 6). In spite of anything that mere mortal man may do, there will come a day when those rulers will be forever sorry (verse 12).

Forever. Sorry.

The nations may be in an uproar. They may grumble and complain and express themselves with rage against one another and against God. The peoples of the earth may devise vain things. The kings and rulers of this earth may take counsel together against the Lord (verses 1-3), but God is still on the throne and Jesus is still King of kings.

The Father has given His Son the right to be King. The right to rule. The right to conquer. Those who will not willingly bend now under the prodding of His golden scepter will one day be shattered by His iron rod (verse 9).

That’s a fact, Jack.

Oh, my goodness…I’m so glad I trust in the power of Jesus to save.

I know at times my trust has been small, but you know? Trust grows over time. If my trust is real when it’s small then it can surely grow. It’s like a seed that needs to be watered and nourished. When first planted that seed is very real. Without the proper soil and the right amount of water and fertilizer it may never amount to much, but when it’s loved and cared for it will grow into something beautiful.

Yes, I’m so glad I’ve learned the joy of finding refuge in Jesus. I don’t want to ‘misplace’ Him or ‘leave Him behind’ like a pair of glasses I toss here and there. I don’t want to ‘rebel’ against what’s good and right for me, charging full speed ahead into dangerous territory. But when I do, I’m so glad He will pull me over and ‘slow me down’.

I can trust Jesus to be my Ultimate Authority.

I know a lot of people don’t get this, but I want Jesus to rule in my heart. I would rather learn to willingly bend now so that I won’t be shattered later.

I want my trust to grow and flourish and produce fruit. Because even though I deserve the wrath of God (verse 12), in His mercy, He doesn’t treat me as my sins deserve. Instead of me signing my name on a dotted line, Jesus has paid my debt in full. That’s why tears of gratitude fall down my cheeks.

That’s the beauty of my inheritance in The Son (verse 8), an inheritance zoned-out with spiritual riches on every side and Jesus in the midst.

Forever. Blessed.

That’s me.

“…How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” Psalm 2:12c