Friday, February 22, 2008

My Daily Summit with the Living God: peaks and valleys

In my daily summit with the living, triune God, I am reading through and meditating on the Psalms. I am seeing, among many things, the peaks and valleys that David seems to go through as he pours out His heart to God.

Today I came to Psalm 65. As Always, I have to ask the question, where and how does this apply to my life as I continue in my journey upward toward the summit of God's holy mountain?

Here's what I came up with:

Psalm 65

For the choir director: A song. A psalm of David.
1 What mighty praise, O God,

belongs to you in Zion.
We will fulfill our vows to you,
2 for you answer our prayers.
All of us must come to you.
3 Though we are overwhelmed by our sins,
you forgive them all.
4 What joy for those you choose to bring near,
those who live in your holy courts.
What festivities await us
inside your holy Temple.
5 You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds,

O God our savior.
You are the hope of everyone on earth,
even those who sail on distant seas.
6 You formed the mountains by your power
and armed yourself with mighty strength.
7 You quieted the raging oceans
with their pounding waves
and silenced the shouting of the nations.
8 Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy.
9 You take care of the earth and water it,

making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water;
it provides a bountiful harvest of grain,
for you have ordered it so.
10 You drench the plowed ground with rain,
melting the clods and leveling the ridges.
You soften the earth with showers
and bless its abundant crops.
11 You crown the year with a bountiful harvest;
even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the wilderness become a lush pasture,
and the hillsides blossom with joy.
13 The meadows are clothed with flocks of sheep,
and the valleys are carpeted with grain.
They all shout and sing for joy!

This is a Psalm of praise to God for hearing and answering prayers and for acting mighily on behalf of David and his people Israel.

I realize that, as the Psalms appear in numerical order, this does not mean that David wrote them in that sequence. However, there seems to be a natural flow between the Psalms. There are also two major (among many) themes in the Psalms; prayer in the midst of warfare against enemies and praise to God for hearing and answering prayer and for acting mightily on behalf of David and of His people Israel. Granted, these are not the only themes that appear in the Psalms, but they seem to be, at least from my own study of the Psalms, two of the more prevalent ones.

I see a connection between the "attacks of my enemies" Psalms and the "Praise God for answering" Psalms. For example, as I read through Psalms 60-64, I see a common thread of the attack of the enemy, both on a national level (Psalm 60) and on a personal level (Psalms 61-64). In these Psalms David prays for God's intervention and deliverance.

Then we come to Psalm 65, where David is praising God for hearing and answering his prayers and those of his people. He praises and thanks God for giving the people hope and strength, as well as for His might acts and His abundant, bountiful blessing and provision on behalf of Israel and everyone on the earth.

David is recognizing God's sovereignty over all people everywhere; that God is big enough and powerful to handle all problems, both large and small, on an individual level and on a national and global level.

As we go through the peaks and valleys of our own lives we can identify with David. He experiences conflict and struggle both on a physical level and on a spiritual level. Sometimes these battles are personal, other times they involve others, as on a national level. In our own lives we are attacked by enemies personally and nationally, as well as in our families, our marriages, and all of our circles of community. We often find ourselves praying for strength and deliverance when we are going throuh the battles and struggles of life. But, how often do we praise and thank God when He hears and answers our prayers and acts mightily on our behalf and those we pray for?

Like David, we should take time to recognize God in the peaks of life, as well as in the valleys. When we do, we will have a greater sense of peace and hope in our Sovereign Creator, as well as a deeper connection to Him and to other people; especially those who are of the household of God.