Encouragement and Hope

24 Oct

Psalm 31 bring another song of encouragement.  The writer is leaning on God, in hopes that God will continue to find a path of life and hope for the psalmist.  I like all of the psalm so I will include all of it here and write commentary in between the paragraphs.

” I run to you, God; I run for dear life.
Don’t let me down!
Take me seriously this time!
Get down on my level and listen,
and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place,
your high cliff aerie a place of safety.

3-5 You’re my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
You won’t drop me,
you’ll never let me down.”

I like that the write is so straight forward with God.  There is complete trust in God’s faithful to care for the writer’s needs and protect and guide them.  I think this intimate relationship with God is what brings hope even in difficult circumstances.

“I hate all this silly religion,
but you, God, I trust.
I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love;
you saw my pain,
you disarmed my tormentors,
You didn’t leave me in their clutches
but gave me room to breathe.
Be kind to me, God—
I’m in deep, deep trouble again.
I’ve cried my eyes out;
I feel hollow inside.
My life leaks away, groan by groan;
my years fade out in sighs.
My troubles have worn me out,
turned my bones to powder.
To my enemies I’m a monster;
I’m ridiculed by the neighbors.
My friends are horrified;
they cross the street to avoid me.
They want to blot me from memory,
forget me like a corpse in a grave,
discard me like a broken dish in the trash.
The street-talk gossip has me
“criminally insane”!
Behind locked doors they plot
how to ruin me for good.

14-18 Desperate, I throw myself on you:
you are my God!
Hour by hour I place my days in your hand,
safe from the hands out to get me.
Warm me, your servant, with a smile;
save me because you love me.
Don’t embarrass me by not showing up;
I’ve given you plenty of notice.
Embarrass the wicked, stand them up,
leave them stupidly shaking their heads
as they drift down to hell.
Gag those loudmouthed liars
who heckle me, your follower, with jeers and catcalls.”

I love the reference to silly religions.  When I was a teen I had a book called, “How to be a Christian without being religious.  The emphasis was on a personal relationship with the living God, rather than focusing on all the human rules created in most religions.  Of course, it was also the ’70s and the ‘Jesus Movement’ was in full swing.  Yet, the idea of finding “The Way” has always appealed to me more than following the institutional church.  I know this will be no surprise to those who know me.

I also like this psalm because the writer talks about getting themselves into trouble one more time.  I always identify with someone who finds themselves in the midst of problems and seeks God to find peace and relief from those ‘heckle’ the followers of God.

“What a stack of blessing you have piled up
for those who worship you,
Ready and waiting for all who run to you
to escape an unkind world.
You hide them safely away
from the opposition.
As you slam the door on those oily, mocking faces,
you silence the poisonous gossip.
Blessed God!
His love is the wonder of the world.
Trapped by a siege, I panicked.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” I said.
But you heard me say it,
you heard and listened.

23 Love God, all you saints;
God takes care of all who stay close to him,
But he pays back in full
those arrogant enough to go it alone.

24 Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.
Expect God to get here soon.

As I have been reading through and writing on the psalms, I have enjoyed the deep emotion of the psalmist.  I feel the writer has striped bare and opened themselves to God and each time they have found blessings.  I was listening to songs on the radio that conveyed this kind of passion as well.  For the first audience of the psalms, were these songs/psalms the ‘soundtrack of their lives’?  Just wondering.

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