Devotion - April 24

If you are following this practice of 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb a day, then today you ran right into Psalm 119 – the marathon reflection on God’s law (word). True confession – most months I leap frog over 119 and figure I’ll come back to it. I feel guilty admitting it. At 176 verses it is 10x as long as Psalm 120. And it is repetitive. And I weary of the repeated “I keep your commandments therefore …” formula. And … and … and. These are all excuses that I suspect a pastor isn’t supposed to make about a magisterial prayer praising God’s word …

Today I read it through – maybe out of guilt that it’s been months since I turned into this driveway on my way up the block of psalms – and run into this verse:

You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word.

(Psalm 119:114)

The simple praise tune we sang in a round in college on the boat as we made our way up the coast of British Columbia to Young Life’s Malibu camp returns to mind:

You are my Hiding Place
You always fill my heart
with songs of deliverance
whenever I am afraid
I will trust in You …
I will trust in You
let the weak say I am strong
in the strength of the Lord,
I will trust in You.

I so clearly remember Eric Carlson, standing head and shoulders above everyone else, goofy as the day is long but when singing praise all that play directed into joyful devotion – leading us with his clear singing voice.

How about singing today? Music, in my experience, moves prayers from the head (knowing about ...) to the heart – knowing God as hiding place, trustworthy shield, keeper of every promises made in His word, giving strength in our weakness.

I’m reminded of the poem “I Worried” by Mary Oliver:

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing,
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

What if we give up our worries today and sing these psalms – even the very long ones …

[Psalms 116-120 and Proverbs 24 – Mt. 6:25-34]
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