Thursday 29 April 2010

Bible Book:

"How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself for ever?" (v.46)

Psalm 89 Thursday 29 April 2010


Psalm 89 begins as a psalm of praise which sees the greatness ofGod in creation. It affirms God's support for those "who walk the light of your countenance", and then it speaks of David andhow special this king was to God. The tone of the psalm then shiftsand speaks of God rejecting this chosen king, renouncing theCovenant with Israel, and allowing its cities to be destroyed andplundered. This suggests that the psalm may have been written whenthe Israelites were exiled to Babylon during the 6th centuryBC.

As well as lamenting the devastation of his country the psalmist isalso feeling sorry for himself. He feels God is hiding from him andthat in his misery he has come close to death.

During the psalm the author meanders from one thought to another,and from one emotion to another. While it is difficult to saywhether this is a psalm of praise or of lament, the mixture ofemotions seems an accurate reflection of our own prayers. It is tooeasy, when life is hard, to begin our prayers with thanksgivingbecause this is felt to be the right way to begin. Then, as ourthoughts turn to what life is throwing at us, it can be easy for usto wallow in what is wrong - as the psalmist does. The positivethings that are said at the beginning get lost because, apart froma brief, final, positive sentence, the psalm ends on a negativenote.

Controversial words of advice once given said - "Don't rehearseyour troubles before God. God knows what they are and doesn't needto be told. Also, all you do is remind yourself of the predicamentthat you are in. Instead practise the presence of God and learn todraw on the peace of the love of God and you will rise from prayerrefreshed rather than still carrying the problems with you."

To Ponder

How helpful do you find the psalms that expressanger and frustration to God?

How would you respond to the advice not torehearse your problems before God, but instead practise thepresence of God?

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