Sunday, September 26, 2010

Psalm 17-18: Celebration

Sometimes we forget to celebrate when God answers prayers.  On Thursday, I got an email with a job offer, and instead of thanking God, instead of responding in amazement, I'm wondering if this is really something I want to do.

For the record, I got a job rating college assessment tests, the kind that determine which writing class you get into when you start school.  I don't know much about the job.  I applied online, I got "approved" online, and I send all my documents to New Jersey.  At that point, I'll get training online and work online.  It's all very weird, and I'm a little cautious, wondering what if it doesn't work out, and do I really want to read timed essays for four-hour blocks?

Apparently I'm sort of a pessimist, and this kind of attitude completely sucks the joy out of living.  Faced with difficulty, I first go into problem-solving mode.  And then, if I can't figure out a solution, I sort of wither.  Or go into denial--everything will work out.

I think I want to be more like David.  I want to commit myself to prayer and worship with thanksgiving and praise.

Take a look at Psalm 17.  I don't know what's going on exactly, but David's under attack again, and he goes straight to God.  "Hear my righteous plea," he says, "listen to my cry."

He builds a case for deliverance:  I'm committed to you and you alone.  I know you'll answer me and show me the wonder of your love.  Protect me.  Save me.  Rescue me.

David's confidence in God's ultimate answer doesn't lead to complacency.  He doesn't sit back and say, well, everything's going to work out fine because God's got my back.  No, pleads with God--and at the same time he worships him, affirming God's greatness.  "You still the hunger of those you cherish," he prays.  You meet the needs of those you love, those who love you.

And then, in Psalm 18, when God has answered his prayer, he practically dances.  Who knows?  David was definitely known for his dancing, and this is music.

"I love you, O Lord, my strength.  You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my refuge, my shield, my salvation."  (18:1-2)

I can trust you.  You never change.  You are the source of my strength.  You always come through.

And then he tells the story of God's deliverance.  In detail.  He doesn't hold back just in case the enemy returns.  Enemies return.  That's a fact of life.  But David celebrates God's victory now, trusting God to deliver him again.  And again.  And again.

And so he declares God's faithfulness.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield . . .
For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my perfect. 
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle . . .
God was faithful then.  He will be faithful in the future.
No withering here.  No complacency.  No pessimism.

Not that David doesn't go there from time to time, and he knows that, but knowing his own weakness doesn't stop him from rejoicing in God's strength.

Right now he clearly sees who God is, his power and might, and right now he declares God's holiness.

Give us eyes to see, Lord, and hearts to worship you for who you are.
Give us the courage to pray for everything.
Thank you for your answers.

And thank you for the job.  I'm not jumping up and down, but I'm thankful.

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