Journal Ps 56-58 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody! Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!!” Ps 57:7-11
Observation: Do I think that the Psalmist is exuberant here, or do I think he is preaching to himself? Maybe a little of both.
There is a lesson for me in this passage.
Analysis: When I compare Ps 56 to Ps 57, why do I think God placed them in this order?
Ps 56 seems a little plaintive: lamenting, complaining, pitiful about himself. He does speak many truths, and that probably is not accidental. My take is that the Psalmist has taken time to fortify himself with foundational facts:
- “When I am afraid, I PUT my trust in You. In God (whose word I praise); In God I trust.
- I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?” Ps 56:3-4
- “You have kept count of my tossings, put my tears in Your bottle.
- This I know, that God is for me…In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, in God I trust—what can man do to me?” Ps 56:8-11
I remember in my complaints, that God is so near, and so fully concerned and jealous for my heart, that He collects all my tears—not a one falls without God gathering it and saving it.
My response? I WILL sing, I WILL praise, I WILL remember God, the Lord whose care for me is beyond imagination.
Except…I forget. Man can trample on me…I can turn to self-pity and forget. Man can beat me, physically but especially verbally…and I ask “why me?” My spouse, whom I have committed my life to…can ignore me, freeze me out, and even abandon me, and I despair.
Nevertheless: God is my portion, my strength, my treasure forever. No matter what befalls me.
Confession: I have experienced all of the above paragraph, and I must remember that God is to be glorified in all the heavens—by my voice, by my exuberance (even if that exuberance is forced from my throat through my tears streaming down my face).
Prayer: Father, you know I subscribe to the “grit my teeth, set my face” towards You principle. There are too many times where I succumb to the pity party life; knowing this inspires me to seek You when I am not distracted with fear.
It’s like the ant and the grasshopper parable: Gather and strengthen my heart when it is not stressed so that, when it does become stressed, in You, I can prevail.