Thursday, March 06, 2008

"My heritage is beautiful to me" (Psalm 16)

A Mikhtam of David

Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
I said to the Lord, "You are my lord; Ihave no good besides You."
As for the holy ones who are in the earth, they are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those who have bartered for another will be multiplied;
I shall not pour out their libations of blood, nor shall I take their names upon my lips.

The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup.
You do support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.

I will bless the Lord who has counseled me;
Indeed, my kidneys instruct me in the night.
I have set the Lord continually before me;
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
My flesh also will dwell securely.
For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
Neither will You give your holy one to see corruption.

You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

- Psalm 16

I said a while ago that I would have a few things to say about Psalm 16, and then like Perez, Psalm 43 popped through.

Not everybody can expect what David expects in this psalm, for sure. In particular, "The sorrows of those who barter for another will be multiplied." But David says, "The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places. Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me."

That's a big thing. The lines fall, defining our inheritance in God, and they exclude a lot else. Bartering for another happens when we're not satisfied with the inheritance God gives. We need something else that he isn't giving, and so like Esau we trade away our inheritance because we want some of that, outside the lines.

How do we get over this insanity? "I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed my kidneys instruct me in the night." It's the Lord's counsel that gives me sanity, so as not to trade away the truth God leads me to for some other treat in this world - victory, praise, wealth, and such like as the world counts them. And his counsel comes though my kidneys in the night, not from some super-spiritual place or experience. I've been seeing lately how my own body gives me good advice - for instance, the crappy feeling I get from pride or wrath, which pick me up and drop me as other dope does.

The Lord will be at my right hand if I set him always before me. When I decide what to do or say, it will go better when I'm always looking at the Lord, waiting to hear his thinking and to consider all that he says. But why should I expect him to be there and back me up if I don't want him in my face? The moral of that is, I need to find out the specific ways and times I want God out of my face, and to get that insanity straightened out.

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