Monday, July 20, 2009

A Muzzle On My Mouth

I missed my Friday post because I had to take a quick trip out of town on business. While settling down after maneuvering through airports and delayed flights, I pulled the hotel Bible out of the drawer (thank you, Gideons) and decided to jump into the Psalms for that evening and for this blog. In the hotel, I let the Bible open at random and came to Psalm 39. I'm using the NRSV translation as well as The Psalms translated by Gary Chamberlain.

Psalm 39 turned out to be a good choice of the page flip since the first four verses promise that I will watch what I say. Given that I was about to give a presentation to a prospective client, that seemed like excellent and timely advice. In the next breath, the psalmist reminded me that in the scheme of things, what I was about to do was pretty small stuff and transitory. I should rely upon the Lord to keep me in line and from looking like a fool--reminding me again to keep silent when the Lord is trying to correct me.

Other than the second verse which provides a strong recommendation to "...put a muzzle on my mouth", the most surprising verse is Verse 15:
Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again, before I go my way and am no more.
I am accustomed to the cry from the Psalms for the Lord to come near, to not forsake us, to continue showering loving-kindness on us. In Psalm 39, it seems that God has been handing out rebukes for the author's transgressions, so in this case, it's logical that the plea would be to go away. Please. Right now. So that I can be happy again.

My hope is that the writer is actually saying, "Hey, I get the messsage. I'm changing, Okay?" But the words have the flavor of, "I'm a puff of wind, I get that. So can I have a little happiness before I puff out completely?"

A little depressing. A little sobering. Mixed messages. Deliver me. Stay away. Hear my prayer. Turn your gaze from me.

Even in our human relationships, we give out mixed signals. I want to belong, but don't get too close. I want you in my life, but don't ask too much of me.

We're fortunate that God understands this.

And lets us into her inner circle anyway. Amen

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