March 20, 2014
O hear me, my God, as I cry unto You,
Preserve me from plans which the wicked will do.
O hide me when enemies seek to do wrong,
And shelter me safe from the plots of the strong.
For they do all kinds of insidious things,
They sharpen their tongues to unleash deadly stings.
They shoot from an ambush the innocent one,
They shoot at him quickly, and fear have they none.
They bolster each other in their evil plans,
They hide snares and say, “Who will know our commands?”
They plot great injustice; say, “We won’t be found.”
The cunning of man’s heart and mind knows no bound.
But God will shoot arrows at their hidden place,
And they will be struck down, and found in disgrace.
Their own tongues will witness and make them forlorn,
And all those who see them regard them with scorn.
All people will tell of the works of the Lord;
Take refuge in Him and the might of His sword.
The righteous rejoice and will ponder with fear;
The upright will praise Him and dare to draw near.
CONSIDER THIS . . .
Something in me desperately wants to believe that people have gotten better over the centuries, that the human condition has somehow evolved or improved. If I am honest with myself, I must come to grips with the fact that as we were in the beginning, so are we now. Sin has grown only in its sophistication. Human beings are capable of unfettered wickedness and unimaginable cruelty. The murderous hatred of Cain. The deceptive cunning of Jacob. The vengeful wickedness of the brothers of Joseph. The duplicitous King David. And then there’s Judas Iscariot. These bloodlines run deep in the human race.
Song #64 is a Psalm of Lament. In an age of positive thinking, laments can be unwelcome expressions of pessimism and dismissed as whining. In order to qualify as a lament, it must be framed in the larger context of hope. A lament is human sadness and longing lifted to God. Absent the presence of God and ultimate hope, we cannot lament; we can only despair. In the face of unresolved injustice we lament before God. In the presence of unremitting enemy fire, we lament before God.
There’s a hidden warning within the practice of lament. Singing lament is ultimately a protection from becoming infected with the situation we are lamenting. If we somehow skip God in the equation, taking it straight to the enemy, we will unwittingly and unknowingly become like our enemy. In this fashion, lament is not only protection from our enemy, it is salvation from becoming like our enemy.
These 40 days of Lent open an opportunity for deep self examination and repentance. Have the injustices you’ve endured and the enemies you have or are facing infected you with their hate-venom? As noted, the bloodline of Adam is inherently susceptible to this poison. In other words, we are all bearers of this blood-type. The Gospel is that God has introduced a new bloodline into the human race; the blood of his Son. It is the perfect and only antidote.
The 40 days are leading us to the only place we can receive this life-blood transfusion: the Cross. Let us remember where the journey ends. In the face of his cruel tormenters (a.k.a. us) he takes his words straight to the courts of Heaven, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Do you realize that Jesus was singing a lament Psalm from the cross. To follow him means singing along. CLICK HERE.
J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.