Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 95. (MsgB)
Come, let’s shout praises to God, raise the roof for the Rock who saved us!
Let’s march into His presence singing praises, lifting the rafters with our hymns!
Come, let us worship: bow before Him, on your knees before God, who made us!
Oh yes, He’s our God, and we’re the people He pastures, the flock He feeds.
Interesting, isn’t it, how one little word can make such a big difference in our lives?
So it is with the little verb, “come.” English grammar instructors call this four-letter action word an intransitive verb. A quick search on Google tells me that an intransitive verb has two unique characteristics. First, it is an action word, expressing a doable activity like arrive, go, sit, etc. Second, unlike a transitive verb (Marty loves his wife or Marty eats a hot dog) intransitive verbs will not have a direct object receiving the action. In other words, “come,” when used as an intransitive verb, is an action word that applies only to the doer of the word. When I “come,” it’s me doing the action and unless another transitive verb is added to the sentence, my “coming” is the only point of the sentence.
In the original language of the Psalms, “ba” is the Hebrew intransitive verb for “come.” So when the psalmist sings “come” in his song about the people God pastures, the flock He feeds, he’s actually singing, “ba, ba, black sheep, have you any wool!”
Just kidding. Sorry, I couldn’t resist this sheepish pun!
In truth, “ba” (or “come” in English), when used as an intransitive verb, simply means to move forward, or to journey away from your present position. Quite honestly, “come,” when used all by itself, like it is so often in the Bible, means to simply get off your rump and start walking. It’s interesting to reflect on how vitally important this little intransitive verb, “come,” is in God’s vocabulary. As I see it, this little verb, when responded to correctly, could very well become the key to my Christianity. Ignore it and I stay as I am, lost in my selfishness and sin. Alone. Afraid. Self-dependent and self-centered. But when I respond positively to God’s intransitive verb,”come,” there is a whole new world waiting for me on the other side of the action I’ve just taken.
Just think how this one little intransitive verb changed the life of twelve ordinary men in the first century. When Jesus said, “come” to these guys, who knew at that moment how much radical change would occur in these men’s lives over the course of the next three years?
Who knew how much the world would change because guys like Peter, James, John, and the others, got off their duffs and started putting one foot in front of another. Responding to Jesus’ “come,” quite honestly, started a world revolution that still hasn’t seen its full completion.
Wow! Who would think that one little intransitive verb like “come” could do all that!
Now, keep in mind, that many times in the Scriptures, a transitive verb does follow the intransitive action word “come.”
For example, Jesus said “come” (an intransitive verb), but He also quickly added “follow Me” (a transitive verb with an object of the action). So it is in Psalm 95. “Come” is followed by transitive actions like “shout praises to God,” “raise the roof for the Rock,” “march into His presence,” “bow before Him.” Certainly for those of us who really need a bit of an explanation before we commit to a lot of action, the psalmist does give us plenty of reasons to get off of our butts and begin walking toward God.
But folks, let’s face it.
The intransitive verb, “come,” is a command verb that God often uses, and sadly I must admit, there will be times when explanations will not be given. In other words, when our Heavenly Poppa says “come,” it’s not a suggestion, but an action word that requires our obedience. Yes, explanations are nice. Very nice indeed. But here’s the truth. Abraham was asked by God to leave his comfy home and “come.” Moses was asked by Yahweh to remove his sandals and “come.” Jesus was led by the Spirit to “come” into the desert. The disciples were told by Jesus to “come,” “wait,” and “go.” Three intransitive verbs with little or no explanation.
Why is it, then, that I think God will not use intransitive verbs with me as well? Excuse me, I hear the Father whispering “ba” to me.
Sorry. Gotta go.
My prayer: Father God, forgive me when I choose to ignore Your call to simply “come.” I’m sorry that my fallen nature always demands a full explanation when I hear You say “ba.” While I know that You are kind and compassionate, and many times give me more information when I ask; teach me to become more obedient to Your call to simply “come.” For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So when was the last time I knew the Lord was asking me to “come,” but I refused because I didn’t get enough information to sooth my curiosity? Is it my need to maintain control that manipulates me, making me unable to be one who simply “comes” when I hear the Master say “come?” How might I respond differently today and be more willing to trust God that He is doing good things when I hear Him say “come?”
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 Contemplative Activist network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!