Friday, February 12, 2010

Waiting in Silence

From the Feb 10 class:

Having done my usual lack of preparation and confounded at the fact that I had not come up with anything creative, I found myself indicted by the first line of Psalm 62:

"For God alone my soul waits in silence . . ." (ESV)

I have not done much waiting for God, much less in silence. And, of course, if we want God to reveal anything meaningful to us it is pretty much a requirement than we stop long enough to listen. This is something I have been trying to correct in my life as of late (with marginal success).

The NIV does not use the word silence, opting for the word "rest" instead (I think). I went ahead and read all the different versions on Bible Gateway, and I think the word silence best portrays the intent David had. So, going along with the theme of "waiting in silence" combine with the direction of "Selah" given between stanzas, I thought of alternating periods of silence with the stanzas. I made an mp3 of a reading of Psalm 62, starting with 30 seconds of silence before the first stanza, with two more 30-second periods of silence between each additional stanza. In the periods of silence, if your mind wanders, concentrate on your breathing and relaxing the muscles in your shoulders, your face and jaw, your arms, etc.

Unfortunately, you cannot post an mp3 to Blogger, but you can post a video. So, I made a slide show video with the reading as the background audio. You can watch the slides, or close your eyes, but take 3 minutes to wait before God.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

More Than Words Can Say

This is from the Feb 3 class, and comes from Psalm 40:4-5 (ESV):

Blessed is the man who makes
the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

The last two lines stuck out to me, of David telling of all of God's wondrous deeds and all the thoughts he directs toward us. David details many of these things in other Psalms, yet here he simply says that "they are more than can be told." Then my thoughts went to Job, when God speaks to Job. Instead of just telling Job that he didn't know enough about the world to tell God what decisions should be made, God lists example after example of all the things Job didn't know, letting the sheer weight of all the details that God handles (and Job doesn't understand) convict Job of the foolishness of trying to tell God what he should do. So, I just started listing some of the things God does for us, the wonders and thoughts, and came up with these lyrics:

More Than Words Can Say

In the song we sing,
In the air we breathe,
In a summer's day,
In a cooling breeze,
In a child's laugh,
In a baby's cry,
When we shout for joy,
When we wonder why,
In a vict'ry won,
In a burden shared,
In your loving care
You are everywhere,
More than words can say,
More than words can say.

Teeth of Spears and Arrows

I thought I'd let Psalm 57 speak for itself this week.

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness.

My soul is in the midst of lions;
I lie down amid fiery beasts–
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

They set a net for my steps;
my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way,
but they have fallen into it themselves. selah

My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing an make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth. (ESV)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Psalm 3: I Lie Down and Sleep

What a joy it is to know that no matter what is happening in our world, we can have the comfort and ease of lying down and sleeping peacefully because we know that God is watching over us. That is what this image is about. Sometimes we feel our enemies are too great to count their number, and everywhere we look we see trouble. It is very easy to get discouraged as a human. I was thinking about Elijah and his despair as he was running away from Jezebel (1 Kings 19), Elijah complained to God that he was the only one left who followed Him. God told him that there were still 7000 faithful in Israel who had not bowed their knees to Baal. He had lost heart and had to be reminded that God was still in control. In Psalm 3, David does not fall into that trap.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side. (ESV)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Give Ear– Psalm 40:6

We are studying the Psalms in our Creative Bible Study this semester. Last night I chose to work with Psalm 40. I kept noticing as I read through the Psalm that David continually mentions that God listens to us, is aware of us and cares for us. In verse 6 David states that God isn't interested our giving him sacrifices, he wants us to hear him:

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required. (ESV)