Shawna, eight years old now, is my third youngest grandkid. I met her at the bus stop last week on Thursday. Whew—what a bundle of energy and joy and enthusiasm! From my view I couldn’t see her step off the bus, but I imagine she jumped high and long. She did run across the street, laughing, and hopped into my arms. It was Thursday’s finest moment.
By now regular readers have noticed this column is currently slow walking through the Psalms. John Calvin said they are “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” Amen. I am drawn to the rhythm of them, as they ebb and flow in and out of our moods and times. As we approach Psalm 40 this week, recall Psalms 37-39 reflect tough times, even dark times—“a waiting that is long and excruciating,” Tim Keller has said. Is that your home right now?
“I waited,” verse one notes. Behind the scenes it actually says in intensity and concentration, “I waited waited.” And then…the curtain unfolds and God, the Director, gives the cue and directs the choir. “He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit…out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.” Such great music!
Psalm 40 is Shawna jumping off the school bus, laughing, and running into my arms. School is out; freedom has come—and it is exhilarating. Read it with joy.
And what do Christ followers do but go to church and worship: “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” Next Sunday, glimpse at the person near you who has a smile or raised hands, or upward glance while they sing. They may be part of the Psalm 40 choir. Would you join the choir this week?
David instructs us within the musical he has composed. From the men singers we hear, “Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” From the ladies chimes a robust view of Yahweh and what pleases Him: “None can compare with you!...you will not restrain your mercy from me…your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!...You are my help and my deliverer.”
In a way only the Holy Spirit can do, Psalm 40 weaves the voices of God’s steadfast love and faithfulness at work in and for us into notes we get to sing. All sing, we “trust.” We “tell” of His “wondrous deeds.” We “delight” to do His will. His law [Scripture] is “within our heart.” We keep our own tendency to sin before us and guard our “heart.” We stay faithful in prayer and trust in God alone. We “rejoice” and “are glad” in Him, singing “Great is the LORD…You are my help and deliverer.”
After school and the bus comes the joy of playtime and home.