Regular nibbles from the Bible. . .come for a bite, leave with an appetite

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. (Psalm 19:14, MSG)

Thursday, July 11, 2013


At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep,
For you, God, have put my life back together.
(Psalm 4:8)

I'm tired of all this--so tired. My bed has been floating forty days and nights on the flood of my tears. (Psalm 6:6-7)

Hmm, if we didn't already know, today's psalms show us the problems with "proof texts," proving a particular theological point with a single verse.

The first verse I quoted above says the kind of sleep we all crave. Sound sleep, trouble free, at peace, because "God put my life back together."

Even that day had plenty of drama. David struggled with people's scorn, and he begged God to take his side. "Now I'm in trouble again." "Again" suggests he's been here before. Discouraged, angry with the people who make life difficult, questioning hardship--who wouldn't? We're not told when he wrote the psalm, whether he was on the run from Saul or one of his sons or reigning in Jerusalem. I suspect this was a lifelong problem.

But on this day, God settles his heart within twenty-four hours. He's able to fall asleep when his head hits the pillow.

Chapter six paints a different picture. He hasn't slept well, has wept, in fact, for "40 days and nights." An extended period of depression, grief, took its toll on him physically.

My nights of good sleep ended when my daughter died. I spent my 40 days and nights weeping (and more). Shortly after that, my arthritis began giving me pain night after night, pain that continues to this day. Nights I get more than six hours of solid sleep are rare indeed.

In between a good night's sleep and a night of tears comes a surprise: a night of celebration! David celebrates the fact that God welcomes those who come to him. In the words of The Message, "let the party last all night!"

I've had a few nights of that, as well. The joy I felt in my recent, if short-lived, fall into love. Receiving a few of my more memorable book contracts. Reading a good book, for that matter! The nights my children and grandchildren were born.

Whatever kind of day or night David has had, he is excited about life with God. Let's close with today's favorite verse:

Why is everyone hungry for more? "More, more," they say. "More, more."
I have God's more-than-enough, more joy in one ordinary day
Than they get in all their shopping sprees.
(Psalm 4:7)

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