Wednesday, March 20, 2013

David's Conversation

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.
Psalm 42: 8

How to begin...  I suppose it would be best to keep it simple.  So here goes:

My mind doesn't rest.  Incessant thoughts, myriad images, music, conversations, what if's, and maybes - it is in constant motion.  When I read, I see connections to previous reading, to current events, to people and places.  When I hear music, I smell and taste memories of past events;  I feel, my heart sings or weeps with the notes and mood of the song.  I find it difficult to be in single conversation without testing alternative scenarios, alternative dialogues.  Word to phrase, phrase to thought, thought to idea -  testing against prior experience, selecting the right path, the socially acceptable, politically correct path. Inner turmoil - weighing actions against deeds, working through decisions and choices.  My thoughts invade my sleep with dreams of interminable traffic - I can't pull out onto the road because of the unending lineup of vehicles moving by.

Enter daily scripture.  I prefer to read the Bible in chronological order - especially the Old Testament.  Seeing the stories in context helps me to consider their application in context.  I have found a website that suits my curiosity and study.  Not only does it provide different translations, it also provides several other tools for study - concordance, dictionary, and my favorite - commentaries.  You can link to it here.

So, today I was reading Psalm 42.  As the deer panteth for the water... (King James Version)  I recognized the hymn - one of the melodies that reminds me of a lullaby.  But the words didn't sound very lullaby-ish.  It's a craving - calling out for God.  Lullabies settle us, cover us and tuck us in; this song pulls us out.  Images of David's struggles - both external and internal passed through my mind.  I understand him; this is Old-Testament-asking-for-forgiveness-separated-from-God stuff.  David misses God, misses the good times, yearns to have them back.  I get it.

Deep calls to deep...  I love the poetry.  I so appreciate David as a master of metaphor.  The phrase intrigues me.  I feel the pull - away from lullaby - away from sleep - away from comfort and security.  I feel David's downcast soul.  

But the psalm itself doesn't feel downcast.  It feels hopeful.  Why?  Calvin's commentary gives me the best answer (and the most fun, believe it or not...)  He considers the psalm to be a conversation - "But David here represents himself as if he formed two opposing parties..."  The idea!   Now I can look at the psalm in a new light - Watch!

David:  As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?  My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”  These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Holy Spirit:  Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

David:  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan,the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.  Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

Holy Spirit:  By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.

David:  I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”  My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long,  “Where is your God?”

Holy Spirit:  Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. 

Don't you love it!  David, in the midst of his misery and all of his feeling sorry for himself... David is being comforted by the Holy Spirit.  Reminded.  It IS a lullaby!  Here are the things that really make me think...  I am intrigued by ...why so disturbed within me?  It makes me think of us being inside of God, instead of the Holy Spirit being inside of us.  It's no wonder He never leaves us - we are part of Him!  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him....  Oh my goodness!  Yet means still - no matter what - always and forever - like in heaven.  What a vision - what a God - unending, enduring, everlasting - ever hopeful, ever faithful - always praising, God of life.

End with this.  Music.  I found two versions that I liked - and I couldn't choose between the two.  So, here they are, guitar and piano.  Maybe they're having a conversation of their own...

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I know we probably haven't met in person, but I believe that the sharing of our ideas and thoughts, sometimes our hearts and souls, makes us more than strangers. I would like to say friends. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to my little space - I appreciate you.