Saturday, June 23, 2012

Lives of Bright Promise

We finish our month-long contemplation of Psalm 139 with its closing verse, 24:

See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

With artful elegance, the poet leaves his prayer open-ended. He began by saying, “O LORD, You have searched me and known me,” after which he marveled at God’s vast understanding of him and pervasive presence in his life. God’s detailed involvement in his making has overwhelmed him. After grieving the evils that surround him, he’s come full circle, inviting God, once again, to search his heart and know his thoughts. And now, fully aware he has more to do, he asks God to lead him. There two paths here: the wicked way and the everlasting way—our way or God’s way. Our way exposes us to harm and sorrow. God’s way—the everlasting way—lifts us above doubt and fear. The poet’s word for “everlasting” means “enduring.” In the Hebrew Bible, it’s most often associated with God’s promises, implying faith in God’s pledges to love, welcome, care, and provide for us. And so the psalm ends confidently, knowing God remains steadfastly beside us. The prayer resolves to be led away from uncertainty and discouragement... to walk in God’s way… to confide our trust in our enduring, all-knowing, and ever-present Maker… to depart from harmful habits and attitudes, and live lives of bright promise. Whether our prayer is answered largely depends on how we choose to live.

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