One who spoke for God

4 Mar

This is another long psalm and tells the saga of a prophet called by God to speak to God’s people.  Some Biblical scholars believe that the psalm refers to Jeremiah who was the prophet in Israel at the beginning of the Babylonian exile.  So, here is the challenge of the day; imagine that are called by God to tell God’s people terrible news and can not be at peace in your life unless you tell the news God have given you to share.  And, imagine that you get everybody angry with you by doing it.  This is how Jeremiah felt and is the point of view of this psalm.

God, God, save me!
I’m in over my head,

Quicksand under me, swamp water over me;
I’m going down for the third time.

I’m hoarse from calling for help,
Bleary-eyed from searching the sky for God.

I’ve got more enemies than hairs on my head;
Sneaks and liars are out to knife me in the back.

What I never stole
Must I now give back?

God, you know every sin I’ve committed;
My life’s a wide-open book before you.

Don’t let those who look to you in hope
Be discouraged by what happens to me,
Dear Lord! God of the armies!

Don’t let those out looking for you
Come to a dead end by following me—
Please, dear God of Israel!

Because of you I look like an idiot,
I walk around ashamed to show my face.

This is the verse that points to the difficulty of being God’s prophet.  I know I am not a prophet, but I have felt I have often looked like an idiot and, on occasion, it was God’s fault.  It was very difficult in the early ’80s to be a women who felt called into ministry.  It was amazing how angry people got at me because I wanted to go to seminary and move towards ordination.    In the midst of the difficulties and doubt, I just believed in my love of God.  To me it really has always been as simple as loving God and trying to please God.

My brothers shun me like a bum off the street;
My family treats me like an unwanted guest.

I love you more than I can say.
Because I’m madly in love with you,
They blame me for everything they dislike about you.

10 When I poured myself out in prayer and fasting,
All it got me was more contempt.

11 When I put on a sad face,
They treated me like a clown.

12 Now drunks and gluttons
Make up drinking songs about me.

13 And me? I pray.
God, it’s time for a break!

God, answer in love!
Answer with your sure salvation!

God’s rescue has always been there for me, even in my darkest days.  Thinking about all the blessings God has given me helps me to center on what is most important in my life and not worry so much about what others think about me.

14 Rescue me from the swamp,
Don’t let me go under for good,

Pull me out of the clutch of the enemy;
This whirlpool is sucking me down.

15 Don’t let the swamp be my grave, the Black Hole
Swallow me, its jaws clenched around me.

16 Now answer me, God, because you love me;
Let me see your great mercy full-face.

17 Don’t look the other way; your servant can’t take it.
I’m in trouble. Answer right now!

18 Come close, God; get me out of here.
Rescue me from this deathtrap.

19 You know how they kick me around—
Pin on me the donkey’s ears, the dunce’s cap.

20 I’m broken by their taunts,
Flat on my face, reduced to a nothing.

I looked in vain for one friendly face. Not one.
I couldn’t find one shoulder to cry on.

21 They put poison in my soup,
Vinegar in my drink.

22 Let their supper be bait in a trap that snaps shut;
May their best friends be trappers who’ll skin them alive.

23 Make them become blind as bats,
Give them the shakes from morning to night.

24 Let them know what you think of them,
Blast them with your red-hot anger.

25 Burn down their houses,
Leave them desolate with nobody at home.

26 They gossiped about the one you disciplined,
Made up stories about anyone wounded by God.

27 Pile on the guilt,
Don’t let them off the hook.

28 Strike their names from the list of the living;
No rock-carved honor for them among the righteous.

Of course, I have not been through anything like a real prophet, but I never wanted God to punish them (OK, maybe once or twice.)  But I have always believe that people who wanted to make trouble for me, or others who were honestly just trying to share God’s love, were their own worst enemy.  Their anger, hatred, negative thoughts and words rebounded on themselves.

29 I’m hurt and in pain;
Give me space for healing, and mountain air.

30 Let me shout God’s name with a praising song,
Let me tell his greatness in a prayer of thanks.

31 For God, this is better than oxen on the altar,
Far better than blue-ribbon bulls.

32 The poor in spirit see and are glad—
Oh, you God-seekers, take heart!

33 For God listens to the poor,
He doesn’t walk out on the wretched.

34 You heavens, praise him; praise him, earth;
Also ocean and all things that swim in it.

35 For God is out to help Zion,
Rebuilding the wrecked towns of Judah.

Guess who will live there—
The proud owners of the land?

36 No, the children of his servants will get it,
The lovers of his name will live in it.

I hope you are a ‘lover of God’s name’.  It is a wonderful kind of person to be.  As you continue to enjoy your Lenten journey, I hope you can hear God’s voice and it will help you to grow in faith.

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One Response to “One who spoke for God”

  1. Phyllis Terwilliger March 6, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Mary,

    I am grateful you heeded God’s call into seminary and ordination!

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