Psalm 67. Practicing My Enjoyment of God.

Today’s Lectio Divina: Psalm 67. (MsgB)

God, mark us with grace and blessing! Smile!
The whole country will see how You work, all the godless nations see how You save.
God! Let people thank and enjoy You. Let all people thank and enjoy You.
Let all far-flung people become happy and shout their happiness,

Because You judge them fair and square, You tend the far-flung peoples.
God! Let people thank and enjoy You. Let all people thank and enjoy You.
Earth, display your exuberance! You mark us with blessing, O God, our God.
You mark us with blessing, O God. Earth’s four corners—honor Him!

As a Presbyterian for the first thirty years of my life, I learned well the first line of the Westminster Shorter Catechism (also known as the Westminster Confession).

What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.

As I see it, the writer of Psalm 67 must have been a Presbyterian. First of all, the song is only seven verses long (one of the shortest Psalms in the Bible); and secondly, like the Westminster Confession, it commands us again and again to be happy and enjoy God. Not an easy thing, is it?

Be happy and enjoy God.

Maybe that’s why the Psalmist and the Westminster Confession found it necessary to write it down for us so we won’t forget. In a world where sadness and worry abound, it’s not always easy to get up in the morning and immediately be happy and start enjoying God, is it?

As a matter of fact, for most of us earth-dwellers, we look a bit suspiciously at that goofy brand of Christian who seems to paste on a smiley face and goes around ignoring the difficulty of his or her life. Name it-claim it Christians, I call ‘em. People who believe that all we have to do is ignore our problems, put on a happy smile and poof, suddenly our God will answer all our prayers and life will be one big bowl of cherries.

Somehow, I’m thinking the Westminster Confession and Psalm 67 are more realistic than that. Not pie-in-the-sky. But down-home honest confessions that despite the crap that really happens here on planet earth, the goal of my existence is to not be undone by the sadness and worry but look heavenward to a hope and joy that exceeds my ability to be happy and joyous.

Not some…”Don’t worry, be happy” attitude. But a real confession that despite the current conditions of hopelessness and despair, I choose to serve and enjoy a God who has much higher purposes than what I find here on earth.

Psychologists say that true happiness is actually a choice we make. So today, in the words of the Westminster Confession, I choose to not ignore my troubles, but once acknowledged, I don’t give them my undivided attention. Rather, I look heavenward to a loving God, my Creator, who is bigger than my current troubles. One who has been to the Future and looks back at me here standing at Today and beckons me to come forward toward Him. A compassionate Father who encourages me to walk carefully on this tightrope called life by calling out to me…

“Marty, keep your eyes straight ahead. Look at Me, son. Don’t look down or you’ll lose your balance and perspective. Oh, and by the way, son. Smile. Know that this tightrope you think is so frightening is only a training rope. You’re really only 3 feet off the ground, son. I know, from your perspective, it can really seem frightening, but believe me, I’ve been there. You can do this thing, son. You really can. Oh, and if you fall off, it’s OK, son. Keep in mind that this thing called life on earth is just a training exercise. Nothing more. Nothing, you see son, can really kill you since you’ve placed your life in my hands. So smile, son. Smile. Enjoy the journey. Enjoy Me working with you. Laugh. Smile. Giggle. I’m your Poppa and it’s gonna be OK.”

My mentor, John Wimber, used to put it this way…

“Everything down here is just practice. The real game starts on the other side. So relax. Practice is just that. It’s practice. And remember, mistakes are allowed in practice. That’s actually why we’re here. Practice makes permanent.”

So, as the Westminster Confession so succinctly states…my chief end today is to serve my loving God and enjoy His presence. Anybody wanna go out and practice that today with me?

My prayer: Lord, thank You for the perspective reminder that You are in control and that I can relax and enjoy the ride since You are in charge. As I practice serving and enjoying You today, fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so that Your strength can superimpose my weakness. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: Since perspective and choice are everything in this life, where am I choosing to see my problems as bigger and stronger than they actually are? How can the Westminster Confession help steer me back today to the perspective found in Psalm 67… Let all people thank and enjoy God?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?

Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

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