Psalm 108 – Steel in the Meat Grinder

Psalm 108 Bible With Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Today’s Chocolate: Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Today’s PassagePsalm 108

For the first time since Psalm 103, we have a psalm whose author identifies himself: it’s David. It’s a Psalm of Orientation, but the weird thing is it finds David asking for deliverance. Even confronted with adversaries, he speaks from a place of confidence, not disorientation.

You can probably sense the trajectory at this point. David is unshakeable here because his confidence is in God, right? He prays, “Oh give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain” (108:12), and we enter disorientation because we trust in people and things other than God. Fair enough–but allow me to posit that the only reason David’s able to stay oriented here is that the pressure of external circumstances hasn’t exceeded his critical disorientation threshold.

Yes, he ends on a confident note. “Through God we will do valiantly, and it is He who shall tread down our adversaries” (108:13), he concludes. But in the midst of his praise and petitions, you can catch a glimpse of the struggle to remain oriented. He asks: “Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God?” (108:11). Fact of the matter is, as human beings, we all inevitably go through disorientation. And even when our disorientation resolves into fresh, new orientation, our new orientation grows old. The perspective we gained through struggle and suffering and confusion, the one we thought was The Answer, may well prove to be inadequate in the face of unforeseen crises. Most of us will go through the cycle so many times we lose track of how often it’s happened. That’s life.

But here’s my takeaway from this psalm: whether we’re in a place of orientation like David here, or disorientation, or reorientation, we can still praise God and call out to him for help. We can still be bold enough to issue an imperative to God, to demand of him: “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens…save with Your right hand, and answer me!” (108:5-6). In fact, in meat-grinder times, the command for God to demonstrate just how great he is may be just the thing that keeps us oriented.

 

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