Examining our Worship
A Messy Life
A Messy Life
Today we are talking about psalms that we all can relate too. We all can relate to Disorientation.
Life is also savagely marked by disequilibrium, incoherence, and unrelieved asymmetry. In our time—perhaps in any time—that needs no argument or documentation.
Reading about a well ordered life may not be where you feel you should be. But Disorientation makes more since. Yet in the church, on the radio (K-Love, SOS) when continue to sing songs of orientation in a wold that is increasingly experienced as disoriented. I know that the song leaders were talking about difficulties finding the right songs when they heard what my sermons would be about.
It is difficult to sing songs in the church when things are wrong, in part we know that things will be better so we focus on that.
One author commented that, “It is my judgment that this action of the church is less an evangelical defiance guided by faith, and much more a frightened, numb denial and deception that does not want to acknowledge or experience the disorientation of life.”
And maybe this is right we all know we go through the disorientation of life, but sometimes we have trouble reconciling our faith with the reality of life.
As the church continues to sing “happy songs” in the face of raw reality is doing something very different from what the Bible itself does. (This false “happy” has been reported to me as reasons struggle believing in God or even leaving the faith. It isn’t real)
Even in reality though we have trouble acknowledging or even embracing negativity. The more we deny it the harder it becomes for us to deal with it. which then leads to (not causes) higher depression rates, suicides etc.
It has been thought that acknowledgement of negativity was somehow an act of unfaith, as though to speak of it was to concede that God had lost control.
The use of these “psalms of darkness” may be judged by the world to be acts of unfaith and failure, but for the trusting community, their use is an act of bold faith.
It is an act of bold faith on the one hand, because it insists that the world must be experienced as it really is and not in some pretended way. On the other hand, it is bold because it insists that all such experiences of disorder are a proper subject for discourse with God. There is nothing out of bounds, nothing precluded or inappropriate. Everything properly belongs in this conversation of the heart. To withhold parts of life from that conversation is in fact to withhold part of life from the sovereignty of God. Thus these psalms make the important connection: everything must be brought to speech, and everything brought to speech must be addressed to God, who is the final reference for all of life.
They lead us into dangerous acknowledgment of how life really is.
They lead us into the presence of God where everything is not polite and civil.
They cause us to think unthinkable thoughts and utter unutterable words.
A Light in the Darkness
A Light in the Darkness
The remarkable thing about Israel is that it did not banish or deny the darkness from its religious enterprise. It embraces the darkness as the very stuff of new life. Indeed, Israel seems to know that new life comes nowhere else.
God is in control even in the area of your life when you feel like you or even he is not.
As you read through these laments you are going to see pleas for God to correct a skewed situations. You are going to see complaints, which seems contrary to Philippians, “do all things with out complaining”. Real life. These complaints are to describe the urgent need and even to hold Yahweh accountable for it. The speaker intends to turn his problem into a problem for Yahweh, for it is Yahweh who is both able and responsible for doing something about it.
Sometimes we feel like God can’t handle our complaints our Doubts.
Can God handle your Doubt?
All of this surprises us when all the complaining is done there is allays Hope and praises.
Assurance of being heard.
God doesn’t just let you hang out. Even if you can’t see him or feel him. He is there.
Have you ever had a time in your life where you felt like you were abandoned?
Now from the sixth hour, darkness came over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)
Quoting from psalm 22
Why have you forsaken me.
If you are worshiping a god that can’t handle your doubt or your pain. You are not worshiping the God of the bible.
Are you at the point when you feel you have been lost or forsaken?
Grab a hand help me.
For the music director. A psalm of David. How long, O Yahweh? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul, and sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O Yahweh my God. Give light to my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death, and lest my enemy should say, “I have overcome him,” lest my enemies rejoice because I am shaken. But as for me, I have trusted in your steadfast love. My heart will rejoice in your deliverance. I will sing to Yahweh because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Witthoff, David, Kristopher A. Lyle, and Matt Nerdahl. Psalms Form and Structure. Edited by Eli Evans. Bellingham, WA: Faithlife, 2014.
Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1966.
Brueggamann, Walter. “Psalms and the Life of Faith: A Suggested Typology of Function,” JSOT 17 (1980):3–32.
Harris, W. Hall, III, Elliot Ritzema, Rick Brannan, Douglas Mangum, John Dunham, Jeffrey A. Reimer, and Micah Wierenga, eds. The Lexham English Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012.
Singerman, Barbara, Beyond Surrender. Hannibal Books, 2003
George Benson. Then Joy Breaks Through. New York: Seabury Press, 1972.
Warstler, Kevin R. “Psalms.” Pages 908–9 in CSB Study Bible: Notes. Edited by Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax. Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017.
Williams, Donald, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Psalms 73–150 . Vol. 14. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1989.
Historic Creeds and Confessions. Electronic ed. Oak Harbor: Lexham Press, 1997.
John Calvin. Commentary on the Book of Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979.