The Relationship

10 Mar

Psalm 71 has the sound of a song written by King David or Jeremiah.  Men who are famous in their life long relationship with God.  As you read through the psalm, notice all the words of relationship.  i.e., God you will get me out of trouble and I will sing your praises.  We have heard this kind of language in other psalms, but what stood out to me in this psalm was the sense of a life long relationship.

1-3 I run for dear life to God,
I’ll never live to regret it.
Do what you do so well:
get me out of this mess and up on my feet.
Put your ear to the ground and listen,
give me space for salvation.
Be a guest room where I can retreat;
you said your door was always open!
You’re my salvation—my vast, granite fortress.

I love the imagine of God as a guest room where I can retreat.  Wouldn’t that be a great to think about that the next time you are overwhelmed or feeling under attack. . God as a guest room where you can retreat. . .as salvation in the midst of trouble.

4-7 My God, free me from the grip of Wicked,
from the clutch of Bad and Bully.
You keep me going when times are tough—
my bedrock, God, since my childhood.
I’ve hung on you from the day of my birth,
the day you took me from the cradle;
I’ll never run out of praise.
Many gasp in alarm when they see me,
but you take me in stride.

8-11 Just as each day brims with your beauty,
my mouth brims with praise.
But don’t turn me out to pasture when I’m old
or put me on the shelf when I can’t pull my weight.
My enemies are talking behind my back,
watching for their chance to knife me.
The gossip is: “God has abandoned him.
Pounce on him now; no one will help him.”

For someone who is caring for people in their late 80s, I know of this worry of ‘being put out to pasture’.  I think this is one of the hardest things for my parents; the feeling of being useless.  They have been such productive and capable human beings that it is unimaginable to them that can to so little.  I know it is hard for them to live this kind of reality, however, they never cease to be grateful for the blessings in their lives.

12-16 God, don’t just watch from the sidelines.
Come on! Run to my side!
My accusers—make them lose face.
Those out to get me—make them look
Like idiots, while I stretch out, reaching for you,
and daily add praise to praise.
I’ll write the book on your righteousness,
talk up your salvation the livelong day,
never run out of good things to write or say.
I come in the power of the Lord God,
I post signs marking his right-of-way.

I know how this writer feels; I’ll never run out of good things to write or say about God’s grace.  It is a gift to live with a God who marks the signs post as to God’s way.  I like the next line, “you got me when I was an unformed youth”.  I know the lines in the book of Jeremiah about feeling God’s call when he was just a child.

I can remember when I made a commitment to God at the age of 16, I thought I would be so mature in my faith when I had journeyed for 5 years like a friend of mine.  Well, it amazes me that this summer, it will be 40 years!   Again, I identify with the writer; God has taught me everything I know.

17-24 You got me when I was an unformed youth,
God, and taught me everything I know.
Now I’m telling the world your wonders;
I’ll keep at it until I’m old and gray.
God, don’t walk off and leave me
until I get out the news
Of your strong right arm to this world,
news of your power to the world yet to come,
Your famous and righteous
ways, O God.
God, you’ve done it all!
Who is quite like you?
You, who made me stare trouble in the face,
Turn me around;
Now let me look life in the face.
I’ve been to the bottom;
Bring me up, streaming with honors;
turn to me, be tender to me,
And I’ll take up the lute and thank you
to the tune of your faithfulness, God.
I’ll make music for you on a harp,
Holy One of Israel.

When I open up in song to you,
I let out lungsful of praise,
my rescued life a song.
All day long I’m chanting
about you and your righteous ways,
While those who tried to do me in
slink off looking ashamed.

So, it is about relationship; a life long relationship with the Divine Presence that guides our lives and gives them meaning.


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