Friday, February 24, 2012

150 Days of Psalms - Psalm 55

Psalm 55
1 Give ear to my prayer, O God ; And do not hide Yourself from my supplication. 2 Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted, 3 Because of the voice of the enemy, Because of the pressure of the wicked ; For they bring down trouble upon me And in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4 My heart is in anguish within me, And the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, And horror has overwhelmed me.

I realized yesterday why there are so many psalms where the psalmist is asking God for help, deliverance, to destroy enemies, etc. No, it wasn't because I suddenly had some bad guys coming after me. In fact, my rather uneventful life is part of the reason I wondered why David and the others complained so much to God about their lives.

Then, as I was scrolling through FaceBook I saw several who posted about a pastor in Iran. Iran pastor facing execution The pastor, Yousef (also spelled Youcef) Nadarkhani, was sentenced to death in 2010 for converting from Islam to Christian in a case that began in 2009.

Suddenly my worries about high gas prices don't seem to be very important. So I decided today that from now on, when I read one of the psalms where the psalmist is complaining about the wicked who pursue him, rather than just casually reading it and thinking about David being pursued by Paul, yet again, I will instead, spend a moment thanking God for a country where I am free to follow Christ without fear and then I will pray for pastor Nadarkhani and our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Muslim countries, communist countries and other such places where they risk their lives to follow Christ.

"Oh, that I had wings like a dove ! I would fly away and be at rest." v.6 What a beautiful picture and it is my prayer that they will find rest.
When I was young - like in High School - our adult choir sang a beautiful song based on v.22. It was written by Dr. C. L. Bass, one of my Dad's friends. In fact they worked together at FBC, Borger, TX in the mid 1960s. They were friends in college at Oklahoma Baptist University. Dr. Bass taught music theory at OBU for many years and then taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Maybe he still does.
So I found the song on YouTube recorded in 2010. It's a beautiful setting of a beautiful verse.

1 comment:

Phyllis Hobson said...

I loved your comment and insight into the troubles the pastor in Iran is facing. I heard that on the news and had a similar thought of how easy I have it, when it comes to practicing my faith, and how minor my problems really are.

These are the thoughts I drafted about Psalm 55:

This is a Psalm I can relate to during my times when I just want to hide from the world : "Who will give me wings," I ask— "wings like a dove?" Get me out of here on dove wings; I want some peace and quiet. I want a walk in the country, I want a cabin in the woods. I'm desperate for a change from rage and stormy weather. " I am definitely a "fair weather" person - I love the spring and fall, the days when I can just walk outside without a coat or umbrella, the sun stays up late. When I was young my dad bought a cabin in the Santa Cruz (California) mountains, and I loved wandering the trails and area around it. I still love to walk through Dunbar Cave park. I would love to just pitch a tent away from the problems of the world and commune with God and not worry about all the hassles.... But that's not what God expects of us. He wants us to engage our culture, not run from it.

I also can relate to verses 12 and following: For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend; We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the throng." I can excuse or discount what strangers or people who I don't care about say to me. But when it's someone who I am close to, who I feel I have a good relationship with. That cuts me to the bone. I try to balance those times with the knowledge that none of us is perfect. And I try to glean some instruction from any criticism. And sometimes I just put a wall up around myself when I'm dealing with that person again, so that I can protect myself. And I know that God will protect me, even if what I'm going through doesn't seem like that!

And, like David, at times I pray that they are destroyed, that they "get what's coming to them!" (though I don't want what I really deserve, if you look at it through God's eyes!)