Saturday, July 8, 2017

July 8

1 Chronicles 5:18-6:81; Acts 26:1-32; Psalm 6:1-10; Proverbs 18:20-21

The helplessness of Psalm 6 bleeds out of the page.  Pleading and agony mark the psalmist's existence; his physical pain is an outward manifestation of his inner distress.  It's unclear if his enemy is the foes and evil-doers of verses 7, 8, and 10, or if he is also suffering from sin.  Possibly it is both: the psalmist is definitely under some sort of judgment (he seeks relief from God's discipline [Ps. 6:1] and pleads for mercy [vs. 2, 9], which is a reprieve from consequence), and the enemies around him may be hoping to take advantage of his weakness.

Regardless, the plea is the same.  "Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love" (Ps. 6:4).  The psalmist doesn't just want relief from suffering for the sake of himself, though.  He reminds God that he cannot praise when silent in the grave (vs. 5).  What a poignant statement!  "Act God, for your sake in addition to mine," he essentially prays. "My salvation will glorify your name."

Nearly ten years ago, a friend of mine was diagnosed with brain cancer; she still had two preschool-aged children.  I prayed this psalm over and over for her and for her family.  Though extreme medical measures beat the cancer for over five years, she eventually succumbed.  It was a long, slow, debilitating death.  We echoed the psalmist: "How long, O Lord, how long?" Many times, I asked, "Who praises you from the grave?"

I'm thinking - at this very moment, and for the first time - that Jesus, because of the resurrection that Paul mentions in his defense (Acts 26:8, 23), has made a way for Amy to praise God from the grave.  Though I cannot hear her voice, she lives with Jesus, continuously praising him.  She was not silenced forever, and her great enemy will one day be fully "ashamed and dismayed; [he] will turn back in sudden disgrace" (Ps. 6:10) and be defeated.  Hallelujah.

Come, Lord Jesus.

- Sarah Marsh

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