Psalm 118

This is a pretty repetitive Psalm, which depending on your church tradition, you’ll probably either love or hate. Over the years I’ve heard so many arguments for and against songs that are repeated over and over again, leading me to think that maybe we love controlling what’s going on at the front of church a little bit too much. We all know many people are helped and many people aren’t helped by endless repetition. Although I think God comes down on the side of repeating songs over and over again, we are very silly forgetful creatures after all. Anyway, I digress.

This is a pretty repetitive Psalm. I think that’s a Good Thing. Because it’s repetitive about some pretty big fat truths. As, thankfully, these are more reflections and less sermons I’m not going to go through every detail of this Psalm (just setting myself up for the next Psalm, clever eh…?) Lets instead pull out the stuff that gets repeated, because it might just be the important bits…

His love endures forever.
The LORD is with me.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD.
All the nations surrounded me, but in the name of the LORD I cut them down.
The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things.
The LORD has done this.
You are my God.

It’s a bit slimmed down but those are the basics. The Psalmist is back to recounting the work of the LORD in his life and calling anyone who cares to listen to hear that His love endures forever. The LORD has rescued him and proved to him that once more it is better to take refuge in him. His enemies surrounded him but were cut down by the name of the LORD and it’s the LORD that has saved him. The psalmists life is lived in reference to the LORD.  He sees and knows that it is better to trust in him rather than in humans. He’s demonstrated that by crying out to the LORD for help and acting in the name of the LORD.

A while ago a friend asked me: ‘how do our lives demonstrate that we trust in God?’ It was a question that stopped me in my tracks. Outwardly it seems like I can live life without God, or with a nod in God’s direction, I have little real appreciation that God is deeply involved in the day to day existence of my life. I go to work and earn money that pays the mortgage (well that adds to husbandface’s money and pays the mortgage), that money buys us food and nice fun times, we’ve been gifted with brains which think of new schemes and plans for our lives, we see fun friends, we bumble along and it’s all to easy to suddenly become atheists or deists at best.

We are faced with the challenge of believing in a God who is deeply involved with our decisions, with our jobs, with how we treat the people around us, with what we do with our brains, with how we view our money and time. Do I trust him? Do I seek his help? Can I join in with the praise and shout from the rooftops for all to hear that His love endures forever? If I haven’t battled for belief in this God who is still involved in our world despite it’s insistence that material things are the only things, then I fear I will not know the joy, the wonder, the exuberance that real faith seems to bring at times. I fear I will not know the joy of a God who has come through for us. Do I cry out to the Lord or does the pain, the questions, the fear of silence from heaven silence my own tongue and shut me away from relationship with the LORD of the universe?

Do I know the joy found in the Psalm amidst the reality of life? Do I know the joy found in knowing that I am saved, I am part of a people who belong to God, a people who have our sins forgiven and our battles fought for us? Where do I really know that it is better to take refuge in the LORD than trust in humans? What does taking refuge in the LORD even mean in my life?

It’s a repetitive Psalm but it’s also one that leaves me with more questions than answers. Do I know this kind of God? Do you? What are we trusting God for in this life? Does the praise and exuberance of this psalm leave us cold because it seems so far from our experience?

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