Today’s passage: Psalm 3
Today’s chocolate: Endangered Species forest mint
Biblical scholar Walter Brueggemann has a useful three-category schema for understanding the Psalms. First, psalms of orientation describe the status quo, a place where everything makes sense in our lives. Second, psalms of disorientation describe a painful upheaval, a threat to our happiness and well-ordered existence. Finally, psalms of reorientation describe a place of renewed order, where God has rescued us from disorientation and revitalized our world. These broad categories give us a tool for understanding the Psalms.
This psalm begins as a psalm of disorientation, but quickly moves to a place of reorientation. David is surrounded by adversaries, claiming that there is no help for him in God (v.2), but he remembers the times that God has previously rescued him–times that God has brought him through the orientation-disorientation-reorientation cycle. At the end of the psalm, David is still crying out to God for help, but even surrounded by enemies, he knows that God can break their jaws with a divine right hook (7) and deliver him. He’s already reoriented.
Verse four stood out to me. David writes, “I was crying to the Lord with my voice, and he answered me from his holy mountain” (4). You know what it looks like and sounds like to cry out with your voice: when you as a child scrape your knee and cry for your mom, or when you dial 911 and state the nature of the emergency to the operator, or when you call up your closest friend because you are freaking out right now and texting won’t do. But what does it look like when you cry out to the Lord and he answers you? God doesn’t speak with a voice, at least not that I’ve ever experienced. (Though John, it would seem, has experienced otherwise.)
Have you ever experienced God’s answer to a cry for help? How did God answer your cry?