This week I’ve been working really hard on my memorization. As I lay in bed at night (after I write in my gratitude journal), I use my little flashlight to see the words of this Psalm that I’ve written in my little notebook. I read each verse over and over and try to “picture” the verse’s message in an attempt to get it firmly planted in my brain.
The first few verses really puzzle me. Well, not the first one, it’s pretty self-explanatory.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?
A great statement of faith, isn’t it? And in a generic sense, I am so with it. Who should we fear if the LORD is our strength? But then David gets a little more specific. And I, with my little brain, get confused.
2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
Now, The Bull has been reading through the books of I Kings and II Kings at dinner time and let me tell you, the people of Israel went through some really bad, scary things during these years. Wars. . . Solomon was the only king who did not fight at least one war. Lots of people died in the wars, and not just the fighting men as entire cities had been destroyed.
Seiges. . . wow! Several times a city was surrounded by the enemy’s army and the people were literally starving to death, doing horrible things because they were truly hungry and there was no food.
Even in David’s lifetime, people were dying and there were horrible things that happened. “Devour my flesh” could also be translated “slander me,” and as we know this was something with which David was quite familiar. As I’m memorizing this passage I am wondering how can he be confident and not fearful??
I am not a fan of the theology that says “if we have faith in God we will never have bad things happen in our life.” It does not seem to be reality, as bad things happen in everybody’s life, even the LORD’s! Indeed, these passages seem to be saying something entirely different. “Even though we have bad things happen in our lives, we can still have faith in God.”
Maybe faith, then, isn’t a solution to the problems of our lives, but a way to endure them? It’s not the way to a happy, good-times life, but . . . ? (I don’t know what.)
I still do not understand this confidence that David has. Is he saying that he’s confident he will win the war because he is on the LORD’s side? Is he saying that he’s confident that the outcome will be “good,” even if he dies in battle or seige?
4 One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
I absolutely love this verse. I, too, would love to “gaze upon the beauty of the LORD.” But I’m not sure that I can agree with asking only “one thing.” Is this “one thing” enough for our lives? I can think of dozens of things that I am and have been asking the LORD. Maybe this “one thing” is the most important thing.
The next verse is wonderful too:
5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
That “day of trouble,” I’m guessing, could be the wars and seiges that David already talked about. Or any one of the difficulties that he endured. I’m not sure how one could be hidden “in the shelter of his tabernacle” AND “set . . . high upon a rock” both at the same time. Under and on? Maybe it’s a really big tabernacle? Maybe David meant the foundation or mountain on which the tabernacle was built?
6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Despite the bad things in life, David chose to praise the LORD. This is so hard to do, although I want to.
Today I am thankful for David’s example of how to handle the difficult parts of life.
One last thing. Can you help out my friend, Debi? She is donating $1 to pediatric cancer research for every comment left on this post. It has almost been a year since Tuesday died from neuroblastoma . . . I imagine that this week is going to be hard(er than usual) for her family and friends.
(Join Lynn this month to share Thankful Thursday postings.)
Oh, almost forgot!! Be sure to enter my give away and you might just get a box of purples.