Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Week Twenty-Four - When a Worm Speaks

Beside The Well             
            One of my favorite ways to read Scripture is aloud as if I were reading a letter from a friend.  That way, I hear distinctive messages and find intonations that escape me with silent reading.  As I read Psalm 39 aloud, I found some warnings and real encouragement.
            Verse 1 – remember that tongue?  Keep it shut when you are in the company of your enemy.  “I will keep my mouth with a bridle, while the wicked is before me.”
            Verse 2 – Holding your tongue is very hard to do.  It is troublesome. “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace…and my sorrow was stirred.”
            Verse 3 – It will burst forth as it burns to speak. “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned…”
            I was surprised to read what words came out as the psalmist continued. They weren’t words to defame the enemy; they were words speaking of his personal vanity.  Look at this!
            Verse 4 – Lord, I am frail.  Help me to remember I am but human. “Make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days…that I may know how frail I am.”
            Verse 5 – I may be an adult, but my age is not a trump card.  In my best state, I am still empty.  I cannot use seniority to beat down others. “Mine age is as nothing before thee; verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.”
            Verse 6 – My wealth and riches are nothing when compared to you, Lord. “Surely every man walketh in a vain shew…he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.”
            Verse 11 – No matter how good looking I am, or confident, it all pales when you correct me.  You see right through me. “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth…”
            Verse 7 – My hope must lie in the Lord.  “My hope is in thee.”
            Verse 13 – My cry or plea must rise to You alone.  You are the only one who can give me strength and mercy.  “O spare me…” me, who am nothing, me who is unable to secure anything—“that I may recover strength”—humbled by my inadequacies, only You can breathe encouragement and strength—Your strength into my guilty, deflated heart.
            It reminded me of David’s plea in Psalm 22:6, “I am a worm, and no man.”  And, of Isaiah 6:5 where the prophet said, “Woe is me! For I am undone”as they saw the vanity of their humanity. “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.” (Psalm 39:5)
            Verse 8 – Deliver me, Lord from my sinfulness. “Deliver me from all my transgressions.”
            Verse 12 – Hear my prayer and see my tears. “Hear my prayer…give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears…”
Only God’s word has the power to expose the vanity (emptiness) of our humanity and reach deep enough to reveal the pride and deceitfulness of our crafty hearts.
            When we are tempted to open our mouths and annihilate others, we are best to turn those words back toward ourselves and see that we, too, are only human. 
            “Lord, I am nothing.  You are everything. Secure my heart and my tongue that I might remember whose I am.  Help me to humbly stay in my place. Amen.”

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