Made fast by a band,
or by chains or fetters;
obliged by moral ties;
About; on all sides; encircling; encompassing; as, a lambent flame around his brows.
~Webster's 1828 Dictionary~
Miss Beth's lesson one of two on Psalm 122 alludes me but I am drawn to a phrase in verse 3 of the NLT translation~
The Amplified translation, which happens to be my favorite one to read, uses the phrase~
Thinking about the parallels between the physical ancient city vs the body of believers in Christ Jesus being compacted and knit together, brings goose bumps.
Jerusalem means city of peace ~ Jesus is the Prince of Peace
Oh how I pray you know His peace and experience the knitting of soul to your brothers and sisters in Christ!
My Psalm 121~ I look out at the vast waters does my help come from there? My help comes from the LORD who made the heavens and earth. He will not let me stumble and fall, He who watches over me will not sleep and does not tire. He does not outsource my care to someone else. He stands beside me as a protective shade. Where my fears and evil threaten my life, my King preserves me. He is committed to me forever more!
My Steppin'up journey today focused on verse 5...aka God's protection. I enjoyed learning that many scholars believe this psalm to have been sung by the dispersed Jews as they make long journey home. This picture helped me come back to viewing a bigger picture.
Dreaded little details can be trouble for me in day to day life...they stress me out. I feel pressure to train myself to notice and keep track of details or I will miss something or mess something up. I think that is why I like studying scripture so much. Oddly in this area my head enjoys finding dreaded little details; heres how I think it works for me. When reading along I may get intrigued by something small. I don't feel pressure to understand it, but rather, freedom to just dig and see what I can find out about it. I am not always satisfied with my dig, nor do all my questions get answered...my bible is full of question marks in the margins, but the rabbit-trails toward details equal fun for me!
This morning I became interested in the construction of the psalm, apparently there are 58 syllables preceding the Hebrew phrase in verse 5 translated "Yahweh is your keeper", and 58 syllables following it. OH the questions this brings up....
Since the author of this psalm can not be confirmed, was this person really into math?
I wonder if a woman penned it as she awaited her husband to return from business or perhaps war. Maybe she slipped it to her husband after a great night of pleasure. (can you tell I watched soap operas as a kid)
Was the number 58 significant?
Do Old Testament believers laugh out loud in heaven because we botch-up their beautiful song's melody? This thought then spins me to pondering what the choirs of heaven really sound like.
You see what I mean?
Where was I? Oh...back to the picture of this song being sung on route toward God, weather toward the homeland after exile or in pilgrimage to the Temple for the yearly feasts. I told myself to focus on that picture and let the little questions pandering my brain go. I chose to imagine the massive crowd walking together and singing in faith about God's character in spite of possible insecurities or circumstances... like the scorching sun.
Personal application for me: as I march toward my Keeper... protection rules! no matter how much my eyes or insecurities doubt. And -- sometimes singing a song really loudly in a large crowd is exactly what will aid me re-grip my faith when my heart longs to doubt.
…which for lack of a better word translates-- whining!The focus here is on the act of going to God verbally, which to me means out loud, with my people/place/thing beefs.
Interestingly, a few months ago I was invited to share at a MOPS meeting at my church.The topic God helped me scratch out for them dealt with the passion I feel toward learning how to freely do what I call a thrown whine.Don’t worry; I am not going to share the speech…not today anyway. lol
I shared with them that I believe the earlier this practice is ingrained in the life of a Christ following mom, the less deconstruction she will partake in.Oh that I had I learned much earlier than I have, the thrown whine!
My Psalm 120~
*at the end of each two day stint on each psalm, Miss Beth asks me to write out my own rendition of that psalm
In my emotional places I throw a Hissie Fit before God,
waiting to breath in His answer:
“Deliver me from everything that hinders truth
in my life, expose the sweet smiles that lie
even if they are my own.”
You promise to punish liars...keep me from forgetting this!!
I am doomed to live in a world that despises you
having no longing for peace...it keeps on warring.
Pardon these few words of declaration…but "this feels weird"…I want the comfort of my pencil and lined paper or journal instead of this oddity I decided to try. Do you ever do that…wonder why you decided to do something? Anyway, here I go!
Worship on the Way~
I see this lesson as the focus of approaching my distress honestly and seeing the Psalms as a mirror to the emotions in my life. This does not happen to be an exercise that I choose to forgo…I am comfortable with my emotions and have gotten much practice at unpeeling them in pursuit of the root culprit. The process does not always happen quickly but deep within me is the desire to investigate the thing and determine if it is worthy of uprooting. Miss Beth offers me a tasty little commentary note on The Psalms by John Calvin that I so very much enjoy.
“The varied and resplendent riches which are contained it this treasury it is no easy matter to express in words; so much so, that I well know that whatever I shall be able to say will be far from approaching the excellence of the subject. But as it is better to give to my readers some taste, however small, of the wonderful advantages they will derive from the study of this book, than to be entirely silent on the point, I may be permitted briefly to advert to a matter, the greatness of which does not admit of being fully unfolded. I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.”
I loved so much his wording “An anatomy of all the parts of the soul”! I think I will pop over to Google…I want to read more of what he has written. Oh gee...the document is full, that is for sure, too full to address here but this next portion I loved:
“The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call, or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particulars in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and of the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed. It is certainly a rare and singular advantage, when all lurking places are discovered, and the heart is brought into the light, purged from that most baneful infection, hypocrisy. In short, as calling upon God is one of the principal means of securing our safety, and as a better and more unerring rule for guiding us in this exercise cannot be found elsewhere than in The Psalms, it follows, that in proportion to the proficiency which a man shall have attained in understanding them, will be his knowledge of the most important part of celestial doctrine”.
“…purged from the most baneful infection, hypocrisy.” Perfectly stated Mr. Calvin…I know very well how that infection impedes.
Abba I long never to tired of the process of examination to the point of discontinuing it’s “advantage”….”securing my safety” within our relationship. Safety from NOT growing permanently passive and resistant or hard hearted and prideful; from these things you have full permission to access my heart and soul in inventory…I trust you fully so ignore my fears and whining by your mercy. Amen
P.S. That was not as bad as it felt like it would be…we’ll see if I can be faithful to this for the entire 30 days…oops, I forgot to mention the time frame yesterday. J
Today was another reminder of how much I gain when I reach outside my Tink centered world for great teaching. The risk being; not always is the teaching all that great, however my heart is overwhelmed by how many times God has given me exactly what I needed for the season I am headed, via other people.
I shall cut it real here...I was not excited about a Monday morning study. Monday's are typical "get centered for the week" days for me. I tackle paper work and phone calls and laundry and books I want to be studying. The day of the week aside, I jumped at the subject matter--Psalms. A study of psalms...oh my heart be still!!
The particular psalms of focus will be 120-134...the fifteen psalms of ascent that were sung in pilgrimage to Mt Zion for particular celebration feasts. I had been curious a few months ago. I wanted to know about these ascent songs when I noticed the wording ascent in notation in my bible. I dug around a bit but then got distracted from my dig...not uncommon with my brain at all. So today when I discovered that God was bringing me back to my digging ground...well you can imagine my delight!
I decided that rather than my regular long hand, journal tradition; during this study of ascent, I will try to journal here. It seems fitting since the focus will be pilgrimage...and you know what that means friends. Pilgrimage means movement...hence the title of this blog.
Oy Vey...how dreaded that word movement can play out in a life that longs for warmth and security and everything tied up in pretty little homey packages. Oh...don't get me wrong, I like adventure... but the kind where I have a warm cozy home to refuge my adventurous soul in, after my adventure is DONE!
I have a feeling the movement I am about to partake in will be the kind where going back "home", in an emotional sense, is not going to feel very cozy. Sometimes going forward means never going back so to speak.
I am excited to learning a few new songs to sing along my ascent up...put in your ear plugs cuz I sing a bit sharp.