Twelve months ago, I spent 150 days pondering and praying with the psalms. It was interesting, uplifting, inspiring and many times downright frustrating. How exactly do we relate today to psalms which speak of vicious snarling dogs and fierce enemies, of people scavenging for bones and scowling like coyotes? It's not easy, is it. These graphic images in Psalm 59 were written by David as he was being hunted down; they were a plea for help from a man with a price on his head.
Most of us aren't in that situation. But we all sometimes have fears and worries which can literally haunt us. When we begin to read the psalm from that perspective we can begin to see how it might speak to us personally.
This is my short reflection based on that psalm, from my new book, 'Dwelling in the Psalms':
Night time. Often the hours when difficulties trouble us most. Twice in this psalm we read of David's enemies: 'They come out at night, snarling like vicious dogs as they prowl the streets.' The repetition of this verse gives emphasis to its importance. Who amongst us has not wrestled through sleeplessness as our thoughts have churned relentlessly over fears and problems.and my prayer:
The context of this psalm is different. David was physically under attack, but the psalm can nevertheless speak into our own individual fears, the things which keep us awake at night. It reads like a psalm of anger, but the reality is it’s a psalm of faith: three times David speaks of God as his refuge and his tower of strength. Like him, if we hang onto those words, 'But as for me, I will sing about your power', we can learn to sleep securely, leaving our fears with God, in simple trust.
God of my restless nights,
God of my churning fears,
God of my racing heart,
With your power,
still me.With your presence,
fill me.And with your peace,
With each new dawn
the long hours of the night
I choose to praise you.
Amen You can pre-order the book here!