A Lenten Journey: Climbing to Calvary – Day ELEVEN

Psalm 57, Today’s New International Version
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave.
Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me,
   for in you I take refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings
   until the disaster has passed.
I cry out to God Most High,
   to God, who vindicates me. 
He sends from heaven and saves me,
   rebuking those who hotly pursue me—
   God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.
I am in the midst of lions;
   I am forced to dwell among man-eating beasts,
whose teeth are spears and arrows,
   whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
   let your glory be over all the earth.
They spread a net for my feet—
   I was bowed down in distress.
They dug a pit in my path—
   but they have fallen into it themselves.
My heart, O God, is steadfast,
   my heart is steadfast;
   I will sing and make music. 
Awake, my soul!
   Awake, harp and lyre!
   I will awaken the dawn.
I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
   I will sing of you among the peoples. 
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
   your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
   let your glory be over all the earth.
David is a singer – first, last and always.
It seems singing is what he was made to do.
No matter what life throws in his path,
the man sings.
He sings of joy.
He sings of fear.
He sings of sorrow.
He sings of sin.
He sings.
Sometimes he sings about himself – how frazzled he feels, how surrounded, even buried by the difficulties of his life.
Sometimes he bluntly sings of his own good character, his stalwart loyalty, his fearsome warrior skills.

Sometimes he sings about the physical enemies who frighten, pursue and threaten him.

But all the time, he sings about God.
He cries out to God for mercy.
He declares the outrageous saving grace 
of the God he communes with, 
     the God he calls to, 
     the God he worships.
And this particular song swings from high to low and back again, containing little bits of all of the above.
And it is beautiful, isn’t it? Filled with sharp juxtapositions of his own fears and the faithfulness of the God who saves him.

But the transition that just lifts my heart today, that offers encouragement and hope and challenge is this one:
I am in the midst of lions;
   I am forced to dwell among man-eating beasts,
whose teeth are spears and arrows,
   whose tongues are sharp swords.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
   let your glory be over all the earth.
Because I’ve been there, haven’t you?
     In the midst of strange beasts, with sharp teeth and sharper tongues. 
     Feeling as though I’m being eaten alive by 
          the demands of others, 
          the demands of my over-busy life, 
          the demands of life-in-general.
     Feeling surrounded, 
                    in defensive mode, 
                         crouching in the corner,
too terrified to peek out and see if those snarling creatures are still there, 
     ready to pounce. 
But when I find myself there, 
     facing the hot breath and growling gutturals of life –
I want to do what David does.
I want to sing a song of remembrance,
     a song of exaltation,
          a song of exuberant praise,
acknowledging that GOD is God – 
     bigger than my fears,
     bigger than any beasts that may choose to come and lurk in my parlor,
     bigger than life-in-general.
Can I hear an ‘amen?’
Good and Great God, Maker of the Universe and Savior of the World – help me to sing with your servant, David. To sing honestly when I’m feeling afraid. To sing expectantly when I’m facing an uncertain future, to sing resoundingly when I remember Who You are. O, Praise your name forever!

Click here for day one of this series and an explanation of what it’s all about.

As has happened many times in our long relationship, my husband came through the bedroom where I was busily writing or reading and said, “You need to come outside and take a look at this – right now!” And there was this enormous rainbow, just shimmering out there. I grabbed my camera quickly, not looking at the lens first and snapped about a dozen pictures. By the time I finished snapping, the bow was gone. Too bad I didn’t wipe that filter off first! So, I’m sorry about the spots here and there – but I think  you get the size and brightness of this beautiful reminder of beauty in the midst of stormy weather. Somehow fitting for this psalm.

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  1. Amen! My pastor has been preaching a series on the life of David, particularly how is life images Christ. As the mother of a very right-brained musician, I’ve been thinking a lot about David being both a poet and a musician. I used to think those were just sort of window dressing–little extras tacked on to suggest that he was a very talented, complex, deep biblical character. Now I’m starting to think that, as a type of Christ, it’s essential that David embodies things like poetry and music, things that speak a deeper truth than what can be captured with reason and prose.

    But I’m thinking about a lot of weird things these days.

  2. pastordt says

    I had friends about 25 years ago who were artists by trade – they had a mission organization that searched for artistic avenues into different cultures, ways to share the gospel in poetry/music/dance/drama/fine and graphic arts. So I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the fact that not only David, but also JESUS were poets. Look at those stories Jesus told – they are so artistic, so visual, so amazing (and sometimes confusing to those of us who lean more on our left brains!) Your right-brained boy may struggle with the structure and stricture of formal education and life as your husband (and maybe even you?) have chosen to lead it – but his artistic gifts are exactly that: gifts. GREAT gifts and God will use them to nourish and encourage others. Count on it.

    Thanks for stopping by, Nancy, and for commenting. Comments are so encouraging!

  3. I never get over the thrill of a rainbow!

    And I never get over the fact that David–human David who failed so often and so miserably–was a man after God’s heart. That He could sing about the good and the bad and the ugly and offer it all in a song.

  4. Diana Trautwein says

    I never get over any of that, either! Let’s keep singing – even when we slip off-key!