Scripture: (The Psalmist) “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.
From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him. The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord! May your hearts live forever!” Ps 22:22-26
Observation: There was so much in Ps 22 that the Psalmist was laying out. Remembering that these are prayers and songs and not strict theological studies but what was personally pouring out of his heart, makes a huge difference in reading…I long to be just like that…
Analysis: I could be such a dry theological fellow without much effort. A wanna be scholar, heavenly minded, no earthly good.
I have met a bunch of folks over the years who go the other way: No or minimal theological inclinations, minimal study (just enough to keep a heading or just to confirm that they do study…sort of…) and a bunch of earthly good and not much heavenly mindedness at all.
And yet, that is not what I have learned.
Theology without a desire, a love of God is lifeless. Works without knowing God is lifeless. Good theology deepens and causes action in a soul; multiples actionable love, makes accountable obedience…and growth in personal holiness is evident to those looking.
The Psalmist shows that he takes one action in particular: confesses, praises, etc. his Name in the local congregation, the local church. He declares for the congregation to “stand in awe of him.” He determines to “perform before those who fear him” or, like Paul writes to Timothy, “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.” (1 Tim 4:15)
Ps 22 is personal; most of the Psalms are. They are best read in the 1st person, not clinically as if they do not apply to me except for the good stuff, the eye-candy.
Hammer point: Read the Scriptures as if they were written specifically to me, the Creator’s words of Life.
Prayer: Father, this reading in the 1st person is a difficult practice. Yet, I know that it bears fruit. It also shakes my perception of things. Am I a “worm” like David writes in the beginning of 22? Compared to You, I am. It shames me that I resist that description of myself; that I want to deal with my “self-image” a bit more positively. But it isn’t the Truth.
Guide me in Your Truth. Help me to love your Word until the End. AMEN.