Leviticus 14:1-57; Mark 6:30-56; Psalm 40:1-10; Proverbs 10:11-12
This psalm leaves me undone and amazed before the Lord. It’s such a song of rescue and deliverance; the psalmist is pulled out of desperate situations into security and safety. His relief is palpable.
Because of his great salvation, he cannot help but praise God. He knows where true help can be found (not the proud, not false gods [see Ps. 40:4]), and he cannot fathom the great mystery of God’s love and goodness. “The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare” (vs. 5).
But praise isn’t enough, wonderful as it is. The psalmist understands that God’s incredible deliverance prompts a response. A willing heart, a committed heart, an obedient heart – this is the natural byproduct of such rescue. The writer is available and eager to do, and knowledgable about, God’s law. “Here I am, I have come….I desire to do your will…your law is within my heart” (vs. 7-8). This man has been loved much, so he loves much. And his love is demonstrated by praise and obedience.
I’m moved by this psalm in a personal way, too. My mom posted last month about the life of Jacob, as he moved back to the land of his fathers, and how that paralleled a prompting my father heard to move them back to California. She didn’t go into tremendous detail about it, but I clearly remember those months. She was distraught over the idea of moving away from Texas – from her grown sons, from her dream home, from the community of friends. Day after day, she worked to align herself to God’s will. Many days she was less than successful.
In the midst of that painful time, my mother decided to get her ears pierced. As a slave indicated his desire to remain permanently with his master (see Ex. 21:6) by having his ears pierced, so my mother – whose children were all nearing or past college age – chose to declare her allegiance to God Almighty in the same way. Where he led, she would follow. (Kicking and screaming, if need be, but following nonetheless.)
When I read this psalm each year – twice each year, in fact – I’m reminded of this great mark of obedience. The psalmist and my mom are fully committed to the Lord. It’s a permanent mark, too; their ears remain pierced. It’s a symbol, a witness to their devotion, a reminder of their decision to live faithfully and obediently.
And the lives of these brothers and sisters – these saints before me – encourage me also to “proclaim righteousness in the great assembly…[to] speak of [God’s] love and salvation” (Ps. 9-10).
- Sarah Marsh
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