Psalm 6

Read through Psalms!
There is a knee-jerk reaction in Christian culture to direct people toward the Psalms.  Depressed?  Read Psalms!  Angry?  Read Psalms!  Sad?  Read Psalms!  Take two and call me in the morning.

Sure, God's word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.  Sure, all Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in all righteousness.  And, sure, the Word of God does not come back void, but will accomplish the work that He sent it out to do.

But Stories Take Time
These are things I understand.  But the Psalms can be really confusing, sometimes.  The tone of the poem can change within a verse or two.  Three verses down the line, the Psalmist may be talking about something different, entirely.  A casual gloss through the Psalms (which is why I don't recommend reading any more than one Psalm a day or combining it with a larger chunk of Bible reading, like many reading plans do) will miss the richness of the story.

Because Psalms are poems.  Poems tell stories.  Good stories point to God.  If you miss the story, you miss God, and you miss the point.

Breaking it down
This Psalm teaches us about God, grace, deliverance, suffering, and faith.  It took me over an hour of re-reading the one Psalm to piece together the story, so instead of sharing response reflections, today I'm going to share more of a summary of things that stuck out to me.
  • David doesn't say that God shouldn't be angry.  Instead, he asks for deliverance from that anger.
  • David asks for grace.  He doesn't deserve it, but he needs it.  He recognizes his need and his brokenness.  The first step is admitting the problem.
  • David does not argue that God is in the wrong, that he doesn't deserve God's anger, or promise to do better in the future.  David is not accusing or bargaining.  He is begging.
  • Instead, David appeals to God's character.  He hangs on to what he knows is true: that God is love and is loving, and that God is worthy of worship.
  •  David's suffering is not only "vertical" between him and God.  Just as he has sinned against God, others are sinning against him.
  • David explains his suffering.  He does not hide his emotions- he voices them.  But he does not let them dictate his actions- he confronts them.
  • David has faith that:
    • The Lord hears him
    • The Lord accepts prayer
    • God will come through for him
    • God acts quickly 
  • David's faith is based on the character of God and the promises of God.  The truth of what he knows about God supersedes his circumstances of being languishing, troubled, weary, moaning, weeping, grieved, and weak.  God is still God.
Story Swapping
Sometimes it will take a few reads to get the story right.  Sometimes you have to sit down with a story, or with a person, to really see who they are.  You have to interact with them.  It's the same when we read the Bible, when we learn about God, or we meet a new friend.

Part of my gripe about Bible reading plans is that it is so easy to value volume over substance.  But just as we can learn how to interact with others and get to know their story, we can also learn how to stop and spend time in the Word to get to know about God.

So what's your story?
One of my goals this year is to focus on words- on Jesus as the Word, on the Word of God, and the words of others.  What's a story that you have learned?  What's a story you have experienced?  Here's the story of my bro in Christ, Dan, who spends time listening to others' stories, building relationships, and teaching others to do the same.