Don’t Skip The Tough Stuff

June 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hey, how is it going? Are you reading the Psalms? I really hope so.  There is something that happens in my life when I make this journey, and I can only assume I’m not the only one to experience that.  When we set to work falling into rhythm of God’s Word, that’s when that whole “living, breathing” character of Scripture becomes really, really obvious.

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Anyway, Psalm 13 was the other day.  It’s a tough one.  It begins by implying that God has forgotten, has intentionally turned his face from the author!  That’s a pretty bold accusation.  But then something changes, transforms.  The last verse says, ” I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”  But what about those violent verses?  Psalm 12 asks God to “cut off all flattering lips.”  Ew.  And Psalm 11: “Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.”  Burning flesh?  Are we really supposed to pray this stuff??

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Ellen F. Davis has something really helpful to say in her book, Getting Involved With God: Rediscovering the Old Testament:

The Psalms model ways of talking to God that are honest, yet not obvious — at least, they are not obvious to modern Christians.  They may guide our first steps toward deeper involvement with God, because the Psalms give us a new possibility for prayer; they invite us into full disclosure.  They enable us to bring into our conversation with God feelings and thoughts that most of us think we need to get rid of before God will be interested in hearing from us.  The point of the shocking psalms is not to sanctify what is shameful (for example, the desire for sweet revenge) or to make us feel better about parts of ourselves that stand in need of change.  Rather, the Psalms teach us that profound change happens always in the presence of God. Over and over they attest to the reality that when we open our minds and hearts fully to the God who made them, then we open ourselves, whether we know it or not, to the possibility of being transformed beyond our imagining.

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So, don’t skip the tough stuff.

-Chels

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