Thursday, 22 July 2010

An honest, desperate and faithful cry

I often wonder what the original author of a written piece intended to convey and how necessary it is for the intended meaning to be the one that remains 'meaningful' as successive generations read the words. In many ways this can take us onto thin ice in terms of interpretation, but sometimes thin ice may be the only thing we have to walk on as we continue an exploration into new areas. I don't go for the whole postmodern thing which can so easily disassociate words and context from an attachment to reality but nor am I big on the 'thin end of the wedge' arguments often put forward by insecure people intent on preventing any exploration at all.

I often struggle to find a way to relate to certain Psalms where, usually David, is bemoaning his 'enemies' and which usually ends up with him asking God to do something fairly fatal to them. I have no doubt that David had in mind real people who were real enemies - presumably the same 'enemies' that Jesus commands us to love and bless rather than hate and curse?
I simply cannot relate to many of David's words if I have a 'real' person in mind whenever I read 'enemies' However, as I read the psalm this morning it struck me that I have 'real' enemies - and they all reside within me. As I re- read the psalm, thinking of all those enemies within (the worst type of enemy), it struck home with a new power and uncomfortable relevance. Verses 3 & 4 in particular have a resonance that stops me in my tracks - and verse 8 is a lifeline of grace. There is many a morning when I seek that 'word of unfailing love' The word that is alive and lifts me from guilt and despair to freedom and hope. The word that recognises and defeats the enemy within.

Psalm 143:1-12
O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. [2] Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. [3] The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. [4] So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. [5] I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. [6] I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah [7] Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. [8] Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. [9] Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you. [10] Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. [11] For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. [12] In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.

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