Disturbed and Downcast

Psalm 42

Disturbed

Twice the Psalmist asks, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?”

Can you identify? Something’s wrong, deep within. Perhaps, like the psalmist, we can’t figure out what’s wrong. The psalmist asks his soul for answers, but gets none.

Maybe we all have these experiences. Life comes at us hard and fast dragging us down to the depths of despair. When we come up for air we realize, something isn’t quite right.

Continue reading “Disturbed and Downcast”

Living Shadows: Reflection on Psalm 39

NOTE: This is part of my Psalm Reflection Series. See the whole series here (or Click “Reflecctions” Llnk).
Psalm 39:1-13

Mom’s Advice

I remember my mom telling me, “If can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” If she told me that once, she told me a million times (she also told me not to exaggerate, but some lessons are hard to learn). I can’t remember the events triggering her bit of wisdom, but I remember I wanted to say something to someone, and it wasn’t very nice.
Continue reading “Living Shadows: Reflection on Psalm 39”

Morning Reflection 3/13/12 – Psalm 22

Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility

To the leader: according to The Deer of the Dawn. A Psalm of David.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4 In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

6 But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads;
8 “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver—let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

9 Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast.
10 On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;
15 my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

16 For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled;
17 I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.

19 But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!
20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my life from the power of the dog!
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

From the horns of the wild oxen you have rescued me.
22 I will tell of your name to my brothers and sisters; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him; stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24 For he did not despise or abhor the affliction of the afflicted; he did not hide his face from me, but heard when I cried to him.

25 From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will pay before those who fear him.
26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the Lord. May your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nationsshall worship before him.
28 For dominion belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations.

29 To him, indeed, shall all who sleep in the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and I shall live for him.
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord,
31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.

Disappointment can come at any time. We believed that God was with us. We knew of his love. Yet, amid the trouble surround us, God is silent. We pray and we pray, but no answers come. Darkness surrounds us. Is God going to answer? Will God come through?  Has God abandoned us? Continue reading “Morning Reflection 3/13/12 – Psalm 22”

Morning Reflection 2/24/12 – Psalm 10

Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies

1 Why, O Lord, do you stand far off?

Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

2 In arrogance the wicked persecute the poor—

let them be caught in the schemes they have devised.

3 For the wicked boast of the desires of their heart,

those greedy for gain curse and renounce the Lord.

4 In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, “God will not seek it out”;

all their thoughts are, “There is no God.”

5 Their ways prosper at all times;

your judgments are on high, out of their sight;

as for their foes, they scoff at them.

6 They think in their heart, “We shall not be moved;

throughout all generations we shall not meet adversity.”

7 Their mouths are filled with cursing and deceit and oppression;

under their tongues are mischief and iniquity.

8 They sit in ambush in the villages;

in hiding places they murder the innocent.

Their eyes stealthily watch for the helpless;

9 they lurk in secret like a lion in its covert;

they lurk that they may seize the poor;

they seize the poor and drag them off in their net.

10 They stoop, they crouch,

and the helpless fall by their might.

11 They think in their heart, “God has forgotten,

he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”

12 Rise up, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;

do not forget the oppressed.

13 Why do the wicked renounce God,

and say in their hearts, “You will not call us to account”?

14 But you do see! Indeed you note trouble and grief,

that you may take it into your hands;

the helpless commit themselves to you;

you have been the helper of the orphan.

15 Break the arm of the wicked and evildoers;

seek out their wickedness until you find none.

16 The Lord is king forever and ever;

the nations shall perish from his land.

17 O Lord, you will hear the desire of the meek;

you will strengthen their heart, you will incline your ear

18 to do justice for the orphan and the oppressed,

so that those from earth may strike terror no more.

via Psalm 10:14 (NRSV) – Biblia.com.

Take some time to read this Psalm through a few times. Get a sense of the picture David is painting. How much do you agree? Does it seem like God is far off? Does it seem like those who are bent on evil and destruction are having their way? Do you believe that they live believing that God will not hold them to account and that doesn’t even see what they are doing? Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/24/12 – Psalm 10”

Morning Reflection 2/20/12 – Psalm 6

http://biblia.com/bible/nrsv/Ps6

Prayer for Recovery from Grave Illness
To the leader: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David.

1 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger,
or discipline me in your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are shaking with terror.
3 My soul also is struck with terror,
while you, O Lord—how long?

4 Turn, O Lord, save my life;
deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love.
5 For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who can give you praise?

6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
7 My eyes waste away because of grief;
they grow weak because of all my foes.

8 Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my supplication;
the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and struck with terror;
they shall turn back, and in a moment be put to shame.

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There are times when we have bad days. This Psalm reflects more than a bad day. It is a gut wrenching prayer that strikes at the core of David’s pain, fear, and sadness. Some of us have had seasons of life like this. We know what it is like to soak our pillows with tears. We know what it is like to want the pain to stop. Continue reading “Morning Reflection 2/20/12 – Psalm 6”