How the Psalms work more like Orange Juice Concentrate than Simply Orange. . .

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March 6, 2014

Psalm 90

Lord, You have been our dwelling place, through generations all;
From age to age, our hiding place; our refuge whom we call.

Before the mountains came to be, or earth sprang from Your word;
From everlasting to the same, You, only You, are God.

You turn men back to dust and say, “Return, O sons of men;”
For dust we are, to dust return; we go to dust again.

A thousand years are merely like a day within Your sight;
A day soon gone, or like a watch that passes in the night.

We’re swept away as in death’s sleep; like new grass in the morn;
Though it sprouts new with morning light, by dusk it’s withered, worn.

For by Your anger we’re consumed; in terror at Your wrath;
You’ve set our sins before You, and Your light reveals their path.

Our days pass quickly in Your wrath; years like a sigh are past;
Our length of days are seventy, or eighty if strength last.

And yet their span’s with trouble filled, and sorrow marks our way;
They quickly pass and soon are gone; and we just fly away.

Who knows the power of Your wrath? ‘Tis great as fear due You!
Teach us to number right our days, to gain Your wisdom true.

Relent, O Lord! How long till then? Have mercy on Your saints;
And satisfy us in the morn with love that never faints.

Then we will sing for joy, and will be glad for all our days;
O make us glad as many days as we’ve known troubled ways.

May Your deeds and Your works be shown unto Your servants all;
Your splendor to their children, Lord, to those who on You call.

And may God’s favor rest on us; our work before Him stand.
Yes, Lord our God, establish firm the work of our own hands.

CONSIDER THIS. . .

In case you missed the ashes Wednesday, here’s another opportunity. “For dust we are, to dust return; we go to dust again.”

Growing up we didn’t have the present day luxury of juice like “Simply Orange.” We actually got these little cans out of the freezer, thawed them overnight and  mixed the contents with water to make our orange juice. The little cans contained a substance known as “concentrate.” It was a thick, syrupy, profoundly orange substance. I used to love prying the lid off early before breakfast and sneaking a small spoonful of the stuff into my mouth. It produced a bit of a mouth explosion effect of goodness. But who could take more than a spoonful? The taste remains vividly with me.

That’s what the Psalms are like and how they work. They gather up from scripture all of the glorious detail of the character of God and all of the dastardly depths of the human condition and combine them  into a powerful concentrate. We can only take about a spoonful at at time. And that’s ok, because over time they mingle with the water that is our lives and result in something unexpectedly good . At times the concentrate is so strong as to be bitter. At other times it tastes pleasantly sweet.

Song #90 gives us a massively concentrated contrast between the incomprehensible infinite-ness of God and the frail finiteness of human beings:

Before the mountains came to be, or earth sprang from Your word;
From everlasting to the same, You, only You, are God.

You turn men back to dust and say, “Return, O sons of men;”
For dust we are, to dust return; we go to dust again.

We need this concentrated reminder. As for me: Dust, dust, dust, dust. You, only You, are God.

Something about actually singing these songs brings out the fullness of their taste. And yes, it is a bit of an acquired taste. It will take time. Just sing this one today. We will provide the music.   CLICK HERE

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