Meditations on the Psalms (Part 3)

When I was a kid I got into trouble a bit more than my fair share, to say the least. Often times when I was caught, I would employ innovative and previously unexplored ways of trying to argue, debate, and justify whatever it was that I had done. Because I was a better debater than my poor mother, our conversations often ended with her handing down the punishment without an explanation for it that I (in all my arrogant youthful wisdom) considered adequate. On some occasions, however, the guilt would be so obvious that I would sigh and stop my mouth, realizing that there was no way out; there was nothing I could possibly say to justify, excuse, or explain away what I had done.

This latter feeling resembles how I usually feel when I come to my Father in the morning. I mentioned previously that I have been feeling the weight of my sin with particular gravity of late. I feel it the heaviest in the morning. It seems to please the Adversary to launch attacks and accusations against me first thing in the morning, before I’ve had the opportunity to fill myself with the grace and peace of God through His word. But as I approach the throne of the Judge of all the world in the morning, I desperately feel the need to say something, but little that I can think of seems adequate. Often times I can do nothing but repeat again and again, “I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry… Please forgive me.”

As I have read through the Psalms this time through the Scriptures, I have spent a lot of time thinking deeply about the laments – a form of prayer that we tend to neglect, by and large, because we focus so much on petition. I have found, in particular, Psalm 38 to be a great blessing to me because it has given me words to express the depth of the pain of my recognition of my offense against my King. David feels, in a sense, crushed by the weight of his sin:

“For my iniquities have gone over my head, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning. …I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.”

And then, filled with hope, words are given me to help me plead for mercy – a plea He always answers:

“But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. …For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me. I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin. …Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”

Oh hasten, hasten to help us, God of our salvation.

NB: Today’s photo was taken by my good friends Pete and Jess Johnson, during their time serving as missionaries in Cameroon, West Africa. You can read about their faithful service here.

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