Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Psalm 28

Psalm 28 (NET) reads:

By David.

To you, O LORD, I cry out!
My protector, do not ignore me!
If you do not respond to me,
I will join those who are descending into the grave.

2 Hear my plea for mercy when I cry out to you for help,
when I lift my hands toward your holy temple!

3 Do not drag me away with evil men,
with those who behave wickedly,
who talk so friendly to their neighbors,
while they plan to harm them!

4 Pay them back for their evil deeds!
Pay them back for what they do!
Punish them!

5 For they do not understand the LORD's actions,
or the way he carries out justice.
The LORD will permanently demolish them.

6 The LORD deserves praise,
for he has heard my plea for mercy!

7 The LORD strengthens and protects me;
I trust in him with all my heart.
I am rescued and my heart is full of joy;
I will sing to him in gratitude.

8 The LORD strengthens his people;
he protects and delivers his chosen king.

9 Deliver your people!
Empower the nation that belongs to you!
Care for them like a shepherd and carry them in your arms at all times!

Reading this psalm makes me wonder how dangerous David's life was. Just about every one of his psalms has a line in it that says something like verse 1, "If you do not respond to me, I will join those who are descending into the grave." On the one hand, the psalms are poetry, so David could be using some poetic license here. Maybe he was in some danger, but used some hyperbole to get God's attention.

But on the other hand, David was a man of war (some would even call him a "warlord"), so he was not unfamiliar with violence. Perhaps one of the drawbacks of being an ancient near eastern monarch was that there were always people waiting in the wings to take you out. Perhaps it wasn't always "good to be the king."

I don't know which to think, but I am leaning toward the latter. Maybe in David's day, the best warrior was king. He gained his throne by the sword--perhaps he had to keep it by the sword.

Can you imagine what that life must have been like for David? Sure, you live in a palace and you can have anything you want, but you also have some serious anxiety. Everyone around you has thoughts of what it would be like to take you out and sit on your throne, and the only thing keeping them from trying to stab you in your sleep is the thought that by the power of YHWH you were able to kill this 9 foot tall dude. That might do something to your faith. It might affect your prayer life. It might give new meaning to your worship. Imagine what David meant by "I am rescued and my heart is full of joy; I will sing to him in gratitude."

"Father, I thank you for Your strength and for Your protection. May my songs be songs of gratitude as I remember your acts of kindness and faithfulness toward me and my tribe. You are rigtheous and merciful. Amen."

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