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Today’s Psalm only holds meaning to the person who is graced with self-awareness. Our world is overflowing with self-righteousness, and with indignation toward systems of oppression– and rightfully so. The thinking of the world is concretized within two seemingly opposed binaries whose ethos’ are diametrically opposed with each other and how we think a just society should move forward. Both camps of distraction seek social reform but remain incapable of the deeper, and more personal interrogation of the soul which is offered in this Psalm. Our continued pride and disorientation reinforces our view as the righteous view. “Aren’t I doing all the right things?” David too was stuck in a binary.
I said, “I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue;
I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
2 I was mute and silent;
I held my peace to no avail,
and my distress grew worse.
3 My heart became hot within me.
As I mused, the fire burned;
then I spoke with my tongue:
There is no equality, nor equity from a social standpoint. Our horizontal view is distorted without the vertical first informing it. Equality was never the design and seeking it truncates our greater potential. It’s an endless frustration to seek equality from governments instead of God where at once we discover, equality and diversity are united only in our image-bearing. This view eradicates our sense of injustice and opens our eyes to see true beauty and frees us from the self-harm of our own anger and insecurity. The capabilities between us vary profoundly by design and seeking equality of outcome means we have missed the deeper discovery of knowing ourself, and our unequal purposes found in God. David perspective reveals how fleeting our purposes are when unhitched from our Maker.
4 “O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
We think we want justice, but true justice means our immediate end. We perceive we are in the midst of a battle, but we have grossly misunderstood our foe. We blame our brothers and sisters because they are different, because their ideologies are not familiar. We believe the wicked are “those people” or the “other,” failing to see the wicked is within us. Wickedness is our defense. It’s our revenge. We don’t need a protest, don’t need the military, we need a mirror, a big one. We need the perspective of seeing just how our myopia, self interest, and pride have displaced brotherly love with hatred. We have lost our poverty of spirit. We look away from the blazing gaze which reveals our own depravity and sin. We foolishly seek a new world without seeking the scourged heart which can usher it in. It is not our brother whom we are fighting. We are in the fools fight.
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
8 Deliver me from all my transgressions.
Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
9 I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
for it is you who have done it.
10 Remove your stroke from me;
I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
11 When you discipline a man
with rebukes for sin,
you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” says the great Oz. Stay political, stay external, follow the piper outward and away from the real battle. The outward violence and hatred satisfy the soul which hungers for vengeance instead of transformation. The religion of politics is bearing its child within us. The puppet show leads us outside. Out from the loving chastisement of our soul, out from the security of love’s law, outside in the flow of a congested superhighway with only the destination of “Away.”
Amidst the mesmerized political mobs remains a remnant. There are some who accept being small. There are some who seek no harm. There are some who yearn for true transformation from within. These perceive their own clutching hands and open them. They accept the free fall which pulls them upstream and out onto the shore of powerlessness, a place of no position or posture, a cry of gratitude for their personal ruin. For at the end of our distracted, distorted, angry and ego filled self, is the joy of discovering the free, authentic self found amidst a city of our Maker.
Lord, how long till we see it?
12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord,
and give ear to my cry;
hold not your peace at my tears!
For I am a sojourner with you,
a guest, like all my fathers.
13 Look away from me, that I may smile again,
before I depart and am no more!”