“Is there a way to let your readers inside your head?” asked My Love this week. “Uh, no way!” was my initial response. “It’s messed up in there!” But then I let him explain. He liked hearing what thoughts were bouncing around in my brain while writing this meditation on Psalm 6. So below is an attempt to let a few of my behind-the-scene-thoughts leak out.
In the left column is the original Psalm verse by verse. I look at a variety of translations when I’m writing, so “original” is a melding of the NIV, ESV, NLT, and NAS. In the right column is my “official” mediation. Then I put down a few thoughts.
Peace to all of you!
Psalm of David
My Meditative REFLECTION
v1a O LORD,
O Lord Jehovah, I have screwed up;
we have screwed up.
The whole lot of us –
individually, collectively –
have messed up your desire for justice, freedom, peace on earth
and goodwill for all.
Here we sit in the fallout of our
impatience, searing impulses,
idols, and idiotic choices.
Psalm 6 is one of seven Psalms designated as “penitential” or as Eugene Peterson describes them: “prayers prayed out of a sense of sin and guilt, failure and trouble…need and inadequacy…prayed by those who don’t ‘have it all together.'” Well, that’s pretty much me!
v1b rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
An angry rebuke from you
is not without warrant;
like unrelenting hornets
our actions rightly trigger
your hot displeasure.
God says “x” yet I do “y”, so I wanted to recognize that His anger and displeasure are entirely appropriate.
v2 Have mercy on me, LORD,
for I am faint;
heal me, O LORD,
for my bones are in agony.
But it is your mercy
I am requesting instead.
As a fiery wind across the desert will not bring flourishing,
so your anger exhaled
will not bring me any relief.
I can fully taste the dry dust of my own haughty actions.
Your wrath will only evaporate
the whiff of hope
left in my agonizing bones.
Dust in a dry desert is what it feels like to me to be faint right now. I also wanted a bit of a word play between God’s hot displeasure and my haughty actions.
v3 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?
O Lord it is mercy that I need;
long, long threads of mercy.
Bind me back together;
secure my feet to your path.
When I thought about the “heal me” request in verse 2 and “how long” in verse 3, the thought that came to mind was the length of thread that would be required to bind together my broken parts on the desert floor.
v4 Turn, O LORD, and deliver me;
save me because of your
Turn, O Lord, like you did
in unfailing love to
imperfect Father Abraham,
weary Prophet Elijah,
earnest Pharisee Nicodemus,
heartbroken Mother Mary.
If your love and mercy
was free flowing for them,
let it cascade over me now.
How did David know that God’s love was unfailing? The same reason I can know that God’s love is unfailing: look at how He faithfully loved those with faults and weary hearts who walked ahead of me.
v5 For the dead
do not remember you.
Who can praise you
from the grave?
What is there for you to gain
by snuffing me out?
Peace and quiet? Sure.
But praise? No.
You will have to rely on the unanimated rocks and dirt
that cover my body to speak of your faithfulness.
But heal me, a part of creation you’ve already formed with lips,
and I can proclaim your wonders and acts of compassion.
This was the last section I wrote because the thought of talking to God like this feels completely off kilter to me. Yet David doesn’t seem uncomfortable giving this rationale to God. Wild!
v6 I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed
I drench my couch
with my weeping.
I am worn out from the brokenness
that seeps through everything.
The sheer mass of trouble
in the world
is unrelentingly heavy.
v7 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
they fail because of all my foes.
How did I get here?
How did we get here?
Oh I know how:
we listened to our foes.
We thought they were our friends,
telling us how to measure happiness, success, security, and fulfillment.
But under the shiny promises they were liars and tempters.
“Did God really say?”
“What’s the payoff for exhibiting love, joy, peace, and self-control today?”
“Don’t you have rights?“
I don’t have foes like David did, but I feel “weak with sorrow” because of the worldly lies I let slip into my head. I know better, but the assault seems relentless at times.
v8 Away from me,
all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard
Go away from me, Accuser!
v9 The LORD has heard
my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
The Lord has heard
my cry for mercy.
He really did say that He is the Good Shepherd;
To the weary, lost, stray, and humble, He is rest.
The payoff is God’s own love, joy, peace, and kindness.
I have tasted, even in the most
bitter of bites,
sweet morsels of His relieving goodness and faithfulness.
And yes, I have rights,
really wonderful rights and privileges.
As a Daughter of the King,
I can collapse at the entrance to the throne room of God
and know He will lean down to cradle me there.
When I can be confident that God accepts my prayer, then I can begin to respond to the Liar with what I know to be Truth.
v10 All my enemies
will be ashamed and dismayed;
they will turn back
in sudden disgrace.
To all my enemies,
you will one day want mercy,
but none will be given.
You rules, authorities, and spiritual forces of evil who only desire to
steal, kill, and destroy:
It will be you, not I, who is
turned away at the gates of heaven
by His anger and wrath.
What a shameful disgrace for you.
What sweet amazing grace for me.
Amen. Go in peace, my soul.
This is simply a reminder to my soul of the long game. Keep running the race and there will be sufficient, overflowing grace.
The quote from Eugene Peterson comes from his book “The Jesus Way.”
All text is Copyright © Nicole Clark and all photographs and videos are Copyright © Mike & Nicole Clark (full usage terms), unless otherwise stated. All Rights Reserved.