Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday devo: Psalm 37 as a picture of the Christian life

I feel like I've written on this before, but if so, well, it's worth writing about again. I was doing my daily "read through the Bible" plan this morning and it included Psalm 37. This morning, I was struck by the different imperative commands sprinkled throughout the text. As I began jotting them down on my kitchen whiteboard, it occurred to me that they form a sort of pathway through the Christian life. Of course, we rarely go straight down this pathway. Often, we end up circling back around to early stops along the way and picking up the trail where we left off. But I like the picture of these being stations along the pathway of the Christian life.

The psalmist starts by exhorting us to do the most basic of things required of a Christian: trust. We so often talk about the starting point of our journey with God as being the time when we put our trust in Christ, so this seems like an apt place to start. But the psalmist does not let us get off so easily. He includes the phrase "and do good." It is not enough to merely have faith without deeds, as James would say. The two go hand in hand.

Next, the psalmist commands us to delight in the Lord. It has been one of the special joys of my own Christian life to watch those who are new to faith. Their exuberance and enthusiasm is contagious and convicting. This is one station I need to circle back to more often.

The psalmist then goes on to tell us that we should commit our way to the Lord. Having trusted and delighted, we need to wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves to following him. We need to commit, a word that seems to have lost some of its meaning in our transient world.

Having done so, we are commanded to be still. This may be the hardest one of all. If we've just committed, shouldn't we be moving forward, taking action, doing great things for God? But he calls us to simply be still.  Why? I think the answer comes in the final command: wait.

Twice the psalmist exhorts us to wait. The first time is paired with "be still," as he tells us to "be still and wait patiently." Later, he again says, "wait for the Lord." Having come so far, we can be tempted to forge ahead on our own, to do the thing that seems wise and right to us. But having trusted and delighted and committed and been still, surely we know enough by now to know that our way is not the best way, that God has a better plan than we could ever imagine, and that he will do his thing, in his own time, and that it will be the perfect thing. Wait for him, and see what he does. still...wait. This sounds like a perfect roadmap to peace, if you ask me.


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