Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Psalm 69:1-5, 30-36
Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
More in number than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause;
many are those who would destroy me,
my enemies who accuse me falsely.
What I did not steal
must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly;
the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you. ...
I will praise the name of God with a song;
I will magnify him with thanksgiving.
This will please the Lord more than an ox
or a bull with horns and hoofs.
Let the oppressed see it and be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
For the Lord hears the needy,
and does not despise his own that are in bonds.
Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah;
and his servants shall live there and possess it;
the children of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall live in it.
-Comments: I do love this hymn. All too often I have gotten into ‘deep waters’ in my life and I am thankful for the Psalmist’s words. These are the words of a poor man who cannot afford the contributions of the wealthy. He offers his song even in his dire straights, not pleading but with thanksgiving. This portion of the psalm does not have the vengence that the psalmist asks God to deliver to his enemies.
All too often we sanitize the words of the Bible, never understanding the lives of the writers. The alternative is to hear the vengence as God's will. Neither is a an appropriate way of understanding how God acts in the lives of people then or now. Life in Biblical times was much more brutal than it is today. To attribute evil befalling enemies as divine action would be one way of understanding the power of God.
All Hebrew laments end in thanksgiving. Hardship is always viewd through the lens of God's generosity. I need to keep this in mind.