The psalmist’s advice for the soul in crisis.
Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)
The sayings of my mouth.
Expressions that expose what is in my heart, revealing what I perceive to be truth and wisdom.
The meditation of my heart.
To earnestly, deeply think and to murmur with tenderness, evoking a strong emotional response.
As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, while they say to me continually, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 42:1-5 – ESV)
My salvation. My God.
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
How could David be so confident?
How could David be so confident that he would again praise the Lord God though his soul was cast down and in turmoil, his life turned upside down, his body failing him, as he experienced the pain and helplessness of his vessel of wrath being exposed and destroyed?
Luke 2:34-35 – Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child [Christ Jesus] marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted — the pain of a sword-thrust through you — But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are. (MSG)
Falling and rising. Failure and recovery. Dying and resurrection.
As God reveals who they really are…
For decades I questioned who God really is. I compared what I saw and experienced with what I thought the Bible said about God, and I often found God lacking. His promises didn’t appear to me to be true.
Isa 32:6 – For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink. (ESV)
The fool speaks folly.
The sayings of my mouth didn’t please me or the Lord God, but I gave them little attention. I didn’t know that the sayings of my mouth are a tool that bares my heart. I didn’t know the powerfully healing work of comparing the sayings of my mouth with the sayings of the Lord God’s mouth.
My heart was ignorantly busy with iniquity, bending and deviating from the ways of God. While wanting and trying to be and do good, I was practicing ungodliness because all I had was the external appearance, a formula, of godliness. I didn’t know God. I was not acquainted with Love or the steadfast faithfulness and perseverance that comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hearing the words of the Lord God and agreeing mentally with them is much different from experiencing them as living, cutting, piercing, life-altering, and life-giving sword thrusts.
The fool speaks folly…to utter error concerning the Lord…
I uttered error by blaming and criticizing the Lord God for not caring for the hungry and thirsty, the abused, the neglected, the sick and dying, by rescuing us from all these painful experiences.
It wasn’t the Lord God but me, my sin, my iniquity, my foolishness that left me, the craving of the (spiritually) hungry, unsatisfied. It wasn’t the Lord God but me, my sin, my iniquity, my foolishness that deprived me, the (spiritually) thirsty, of drink. The problem; identity. I didn’t know who I really am.
And it wasn’t the Lord God but me (us), my (our) sin, my (our) iniquity, my (our) foolishness that left others physically hungry and thirsty. I (we) have not yet understood and lived in God’s ways, becoming perfectly one.
Prov 10:21 – The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools [to be perverse, silly] die for lack of sense. (ESV)
Have you ever doubted or criticized the Lord God? Do you have any basis for doing so?
Who is the righteous?
Ps 143:1-2 – Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you. (ESV)
Ps 145:17 – The Lord is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. (ESV)
1 John 2:29 – If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. (ESV)
The lips of the righteous feed many.
Feed: to tend a flock; pasture it; to graze; to rule; to associate with as a friend.1
Lips. Words. Feed. Tend. Rule. Associate with as a friend.
Fools die for lack of sense.
Sense/wisdom: the heart; the feelings, the will, the intellect; the center of anything.2
Fools die for lack of food, tending, authoritative guidance and regulation, association with a friend.
Read the Lord God’s words. Slowly. Reflectively. Let his words sink in. Ruminate upon his words. Take from them what he wants to give to you.
Respond by setting your thoughts aside and let your heart speak to God without words.
Now simply rest in God’s words. Listen to God at the deepest level of your being. Listen as he speaks with a still small voice that moves you to silence and an ever-deepening listening in which the Word becomes active and alive in you, gradually transforming you from within.3
How we miss the mark when we don’t know what or how to feed our soul by associating with our friend!
My way of life characterized those who are without God, even though I tried hard to be good and acceptable to him. I didn’t associate with the Lord God as a friend. I did not yield heart, feelings, will, intellect, the very center of my being to the Lord God so he would be the good in me. My heart and soul had not yet been uncovered and revealed. I had no idea how silly and perverse I was, thinking that the vessel of wrath prepared for destruction is who I am, and that I desperately needed to fix it to make it worthy of love and acceptance. How foolish I was in thinking that life was something I might experience sometime in the future, after my death here on earth, if I made myself pleasing to the Lord God.
I can testify that the Lord God has truly endured with much patience this particular vessel of wrath!
How I longed for meaning, purpose, to belong to something bigger and better than me, to contribute something worthwhile. But all I knew was this ordinary, weak human body stuck in pursuing things that only temporarily covered the emptiness and dissatisfaction deep within. Even though church attendance was a regular part of my life, what I heard and experienced there didn’t nourish my soul or give me tools to help me experience the living Word or know God intimately.
There is also a body controlled by the Spirit
1 Cor 15:44 – When sown, it is an ordinary human body; when raised, it will be a body controlled by the Spirit. If there is an ordinary human body, there is also a body controlled by the Spirit. (CJB)
I had no idea that what I longed for was a body controlled by the Spirit, in union with Christ Jesus. I had no idea that I could experience this here and now!
John 17:23 – I [the Lord Jesus Christ] in them and you [Father God] in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. (ESV)
Do you know, deeply, intimately, with absolute assurance through your everyday experience that the Lord God loves you even as he loved Jesus? Or do your words, thoughts and experiences reveal a different picture?
John 3:19-21 – “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” (MSG)
Do you live, think, speak, and act from your ordinary human body with its human frailties and passions? Or is it your essential being, your spirit in open communion with the Spirit of God from which your words, thoughts and actions flow?
Evil: addiction to denial and illusion
Are you working and living in truth and reality? Or do you continue to run for the darkness?
Are you addicted to denial and illusion?
Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil fears painful exposure.
Evil: hurtful in effect or influence; bringing deep trouble or misery, great loss and sorrow, disaster; ill, diseased; remiss, negligent, without home or regular work; characterized by vice, corrupt, harmful, unwholesome, ruined by defects, flaws, or errors; mischief, active ill will; deserving blame; the state of having done a wrong or committed an offense. Evil here does not refer to essential character, nor does it indicate degeneracy from original virtue.4
Do you see a relationship between evil, and the tent that is our earthly home in which we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling? And yet we seem to cling to our earthly home, afraid to let go.
Evil. Unwholesome. Ruined by defects, flaws, and errors. Hurtful in effect or influence. I used to judge other people, thinking that my desire and effort to be and do good somehow put me in a different category. Now I realize that a part of me is unwholesome, flawed, hurtful in effect or influence, generally unintentionally, unconsciously, but evil just the same. I now realize that I am the one I need to focus on to reduce evil in my community. Yet, I am not equipped with knowledge or power to make myself whole, free of defects, free from the control of flaws and errors that are hurtful in effect or influence.
Evil. Unwholesome. This is the condition of every human being. This is the crisis we’re in. And our natural tendency is to run for the darkness. We fear painful exposure, so we’re stuck. Our defects, flaws and errors keep us thinking and doing the same unwholesome things, maybe even while longing and hoping for different results. We’re addicted to denial and illusion and generally don’t know it. Our warped logic that makes us run for the darkness makes perfect sense to us.
How desperately we need to discover who we really are!
2 Cor 5:1-2 – For we know that if the tent, which is our earthly home, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling (ESV)
Do you recognize yourself as being in this crisis? Are you aware of what/who you are truly longing for?
What did the psalmist advise his soul to do when in crisis?
Ps 42:6 – My soul, why are you so downcast? Why are you groaning inside me? Hope in God, since I will praise him again for the salvation that comes from his presence. (CJB)
Why are you so downcast, so depressed?
Why are you groaning inside me?
Wait. Be patient. Stay. Tarry. Trust.5
Hope in God
Since I will
I will praise him again for the salvation, help, deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity
That comes from his presence.
Ps 37:7 – Be still before [in] the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! (ESV)
Fret not. Do not let anger, zeal or jealousy blaze up.
Be still before the Lord. Rest. Be dumb. Dumbfounded. Silent. To fail or perish. To thrust away. Cleanse.6
Rest in the Lord.
Wait patiently till he comes. To twist or whirl in a circular or spiral manner, i.e. specifically to dance, to writhe in pain (especially of childbirth) or fear.7
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.
Do you notice that even hope, resting and waiting patiently, embraces the mystery of paradox?
We can’t experience healing without experiencing wounding. We can’t experience the peace of silence without also experiencing the noise of confusion, unrest, fear or anger. Be still or silent/fail or perish. Die.
Dance/writhe in pain. Thrust away/cleanse. Die/resurrection. Can we tenderly and affectionately hold and keep both experiences in our mind and mouth? Can we tenderly, affectionately embrace both the vessel of wrath, the ordinary, unwholesome human body with its frailties and passions, and the vessel of mercy, the body controlled by the Spirit, as we hope in God, confident of aid, victory and prosperity in his presence?
Hope in God, my soul, since I will praise him again for the salvation that comes from his presence.
Interact with the words of Scripture through deep, careful study.
Then move beyond logic and reason; move from head to heart to spirit.
Meditate. Experience the word of Scripture bodily by moaning, growling, uttering, speaking aloud each word, syllable by syllable. Experience the words of Scripture expressing the longing and desire and hope in the depth of your own soul. Become acquainted with your longing. Anticipate that your soul’s longing will be satisfied, its hunger will be filled with good things, and it will be healed and made complete again. Let the inspired word of God arouse feelings of awe.
2 Cor 13:14 – the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, [is] with you all! Amen. (YLT)
Contemplate. Sit quietly without thinking, without murmuring. Simply be. Become conscious of your companions.
Stay in this place of rest and fellowship for as long as you can.
When finished, select just one word or phrase and carry it with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Let it soak deep into your soul. Tomorrow meditate on the entire text again. Select the same word or phrase or a different one to carry with you all day, thinking about it, murmuring it, holding it, treasuring it. Do this practice every day. Let God’s Word begin to fill your soul with good things.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life, I won’t forget a word of it. (Ps 119:15-16 MSG)
But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)
I encourage you to find ways to become aware of Holy Spirit and to yield to Holy Spirit’s convicting, enlightening, restorative ministrations.
Hope in God.
Wait. Be patient. Stay. Tarry. Trust.
His help. His deliverance. His aid. His victory. His prosperity,
That comes from his presence.
God with us.
Be still before the Lord.
Rest. Be dumb. Silent. To fail or perish. To thrust away. Cleanse.
Wait patiently till he comes.
Don’t resist the dance, writhing in pain, the fear of exposure
Addicted to denial and illusion.
Don’t resist being born of the will of God as you wait patiently Link to Blog 23 Essential Being
For satisfying answers, reliable help, victory
That comes from his presence.
God with us,
Working and living in truth and reality.
Welcome his work.
Welcome his light.
So, the work can be seen for the God-work it is.
God look you full in the face and make you prosper [give you peace]. (Num 6:26 MSG)
Rest in God’s presence and his words. Let go your own ideas, plans, meditations, holy words, thoughts. Listen to God at the deepest level of your being. Listen as God speaks with a still small voice that moves you to silence and an ever-deepening listening in which the Word becomes active and alive in you, gradually transforming you from within, effecting how you live.
2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)
2 Tim 4:22 – The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. (ESV)
Resources/For deeper study:
1Feed: OT:7462 <START HEBREW>hu*r*<END HEBREW> ra`ah (raw-aw’); a primitive root; to tend a flock; i.e. pasture it; intransitively, to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension, to associate with (as a friend): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
2Sense/wisdom: OT:3820 <START HEBREW>bl@<END HEBREW> leb (labe); a form of OT:3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
3Lectio Divina as described by the 12th century Carthusian monk called Guigo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guigo_II
4Evil: NT:4190 <START GREEK>ponhro/$<END GREEK> poneros (pon-ay-ros’); from a derivative of NT:4192; hurtful, i.e. evil (properly, in effect or influence, and thus differing from NT:2556, which refers rather to essential character, as well as from NT:4550, which indicates degeneracy from original virtue); figuratively, calamitous; also (passively) ill, i.e. diseased; but especially (morally) culpable, i.e. derelict, vicious, facinorous; neuter (singular) mischief, malice, or (plural) guilt; masculine (singular) the devil, or (plural) sinners:
NT:4192 <START GREEK>po/no$<END GREEK> ponos (pon’-os); from the base of NT:3993; toil, i.e. (by implication) anguish: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
5Hope: OT:3176 <START HEBREW>lj^y*<END HEBREW> yachal (yaw-chal’); a primitive root; to wait; by implication, to be patient, hope: KJV – (cause to, have, make to) hope, be pained, stay, tarry, trust, wait. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
6Be still/rest: OT:1826 <START HEBREW><m^D*<END HEBREW> damam (daw-man’); a prim root [compare OT:1724, OT:1820]; to be dumb; by implication, to be astonished, to stop; also to perish:
OT:1724 <START HEBREW><h^D*<END HEBREW> daham (daw-ham’); a primitive root (compare OT:1740); to be dumb, i.e. (figuratively) dumbfounded [to make speechless by shocking].
OT:1740 <START HEBREW>j^WD<END HEBREW> duwach (doo’-akh); a primitive root; to thrust away; figuratively, to cleanse:
OT:1820 <START HEBREW>hm*D*<END HEBREW> damah (daw-mam’); a primitive root; to be dumb or silent; hence, to fail or perish; trans. to destroy: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
7Wait patiently: OT:2342 <START HEBREW>lWj<END HEBREW> chuwl (khool); or chiyl (kheel); a primitive root; properly, to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), i.e. (specifically) to dance, to writhe in pain (especially of parturition) or fear; figuratively, to wait, to pervert: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)