Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 107. (MsgB)
Oh, thank God—He’s so good! His love never runs out.
All of you set free by God, tell the world! Tell how He freed you from oppression,
Then rounded you up from all over the place, from the four winds, from the seven seas.
You called out to God in your desperate condition; He got you out in the nick of time.
If you are really wise, you’ll think this over— it’s time you appreciated God’s deep love.
The Psalmist in Psalm 107 offers up four unique life-destinations. Places we’ve all visited from time to time in our lives. None of these ports-at-sea are places we enjoy going to, but alas, due to our selfish and sinful condition, every human being on earth, at one time or another in our lives, will find ourselves camping out on the shores of one of these four desert islands.
These are lonely places. Isolated. No running water. No toilets. No amenities. No real friends. No comrades to lean on. Just you and your thoughts.
Let’s take a moment and browse through these four travel brochures.
Destination #1: The Desert.
The Psalmist says that some of us wander for years in the desert, looking but not finding a good place to live. Ever been there? I think the worst part about desert living is the constant appearances of mirages. Your mind begins to play tricks on you and you imagine an oasis is just around the next corner; only to be greatly disappointed when that stream of cool water turns out to be shifting sand.
Destination #2: The Jail.
The Psalmist says that some of us are locked in a dark cell, cruelly confined behind bars. Trapped like a rat. No escape. Bread and water if you’re lucky. Jail is so hard on the human soul because God made us to be free. Now, due to our own selfishness and stupidity, here we are confined to a space no bigger than a single room at Motel 6. Time goes so slowly when you’re shut up in a cell with nothing to do except wait.
Destination #3: The Emergency Room.
The Psalmist says that some of us are sick because we’ve lived a bad life,our bodies feeling the effects of our sin. Yikes. Sounds like this story was ripped right out of today’s headlines. Doctors are telling us that so many of our medical ailments are simply by-products of our stressful lives. The unhealthy life-styles we live; eating whatever and whenever we want, smoking and drinking as though there was no tomorrow; all result in throwing our bodies into a firestorm of disease and sickness. Makes my tummy hurt just thinking about it.
Destination #4: The Ocean Liner.
Finally, the Psalmist says that some of us set sail in big ships;putting to sea to do business in faraway ports. Kinda reminds me of the story of the Titanic. You remember that story don’t you? The unsinkable, unshakeable Titanic. So confident in our human ability to conquer nature, we decide to not carry lifeboats on our ship. So proud of our human achievement, no earthly power, nor God Himself, could sink this boat. Hmm? Really? On April 15th, 1912, the RMS Titanic ran into a problem the engineers forgot to plan for. The result? A human disaster of titanic proportions.
So what’s the common theme in these four sad destinations in the human existence? The Psalmist says that in each one of these four hell-holes, there’s always an ace-in-the-hole awaiting those who are smart enough to use it.
Call out to God in your desperate condition; He will get you out in the nick of time.
Why is it that we humans are so proud and arrogant that we can’t find this escape hatch when it’s right there in front of us? God only knows, I guess. Well, gotta run. Time for me to practice my ‘calling out to God in my desperate condition’ fire-drill. Never know when you’re really gonna need it. And like they say, if you wait to practice a fire-drill until the day of the fire, bad things are gonna happen, even to good people!
My prayer: Father, forgive me. I have this selfish and prideful streak in me that unfortunately sends me to places I really don’t want to go. But thank You that whenever I do find myself in one of the four hell-holes the Psalmist describes, all I have to do is call out to you from my desperation. Let me become one who truly appreciates God’s deep love. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Have I taken an awareness check in my life recently? Am I in danger of walking toward one of the four destinations the Psalmist mentions in Psalm 107? If so, what steps can I take today to cancel my reservation for that trip to hell and begin walking the straight and narrow pathway back into the Father’s deep love for me?
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.
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