Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church March 20th, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
Psalm 130 The Voice (VOICE)
1 From the depths of disaster I appeal to You, O Eternal One: 2 Lord, hear my cry! Attune Your ears to my humble prayer!
3 If You, Eternal One, recorded each offense, Lord, who on earth could stand innocent? 4 But with You forgiveness exists; that’s why true respect of You might flow.
5 So I wait for the Eternal—my soul awaits rescue — and I put my hope in His transforming word. 6 My soul waits for the Lord to break into the world more than night watchmen expect the break of day, even more than night watchmen expect the break of day.
7 O Israel, ground your hope in the Eternal. For in the Eternal lives the most loyal love, and with Him comes the most abundant redemption. 8 He will ransom Israel from all the sinful acts that stole you away.
I hesitate to admit this, but for much of my life as a Christian, I overlooked the Psalms. I mean, like almost everyone else I know the 23rd Psalm and maybe snippets of a few others, but not much else.
Once I stated the practice of going through the Daily Lectionary, I found myself surprised over and over again by the wisdom, comfort and challenge found in these scriptures. One of the most powerful aspects of the Psalms is their diversity.
We saw that in today’s lectionary passages, as the morning Psalm, Psalm 22, is a song of lament and begins with the words, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’. Those are words that, of course, were echoed by Jesus on the cross, but they are also a lament that all of us – if we are being honest – have felt at one moment or another in our lives.
Then we have the evening Psalm, shared above, which is a word of comfort and praise. Thanking God for his faithfulness by saying: From the depths of disaster I appeal to You, O Eternal One: Lord, hear my cry! Attune Your ears to my humble prayer!
What I want us to know and remember today is that these Psalms are not in conflict with each other. We often make the mistake of thinking that God doesn’t want anything but our happy bits – praise and singing and the kind of worship we have at Easter. But the depth and variety of the emotions expressed in the Psalms reminds us that God wants all of us.
Not only does God want all of us, but God is big enough to handle our questions. God is big enough to handle our doubts; God is big enough to handle our fears. There is no emotion that we can hide from God and there is no reason we should seek to hide any part of who we are from him.
Rather, it is when we open ourselves fully to God and share who we are, what we are thinking and feeling and where we are in our hearts and lives that we begin to experience the fullness of God’s gracious and life-giving presence in our lives.
So, let us join with the psalmist and say: So I wait for the Eternal—my soul awaits rescue — and I put my hope in His transforming word. My soul waits for the Lord to break into the world more than night watchmen expect the break of day, even more than night watchmen expect the break of day.
Prayer: Holy God, help us turn to you this and every day. Lead us to trust in you and come to you in our moments of joy and thanks as well as in the midst of our doubts, fears and laments. Be gracious unto us and give us peace. Amen.