First Off…read Psalm 25!
I frequently find myself coming to the conclusion that I just don’t get it. I fully proclaim that God’s ways are not my ways (Isa 55:8) and that there is NO WAY that I can fully understand why God does what he does…but what I am finding is that I am having a harder and harder time fully comprehending, and even defining, some simple terms that I proclaim that God has and is.
If I say that God is full of grace (John 1:16), which I do, this comes with some limitations for me for the grace I try to bestow and have is fractured and incomplete. Because I am limited, by sin, on not only what I can comprehend but my feelings get all messed up inside there too.
If I say that God is fully forgiving and that he holds no records of wrongs (an attribute Paul tells the church to have in 1 Cor 13:4-8) then why do I struggle with guilt? Why does “forgiveness” look so complicated and messy for me?
Psalm 25 is a meditation that tries to work through understanding who God is as well as who they are. It’s a meditation that reflects on who they are as understood by who God is. It’s a meditation that can only fully take place when one comes to the understanding of who they are, what they have done, who God is, as well as what He has done as well. And what’s really cool (and we lose this in our English translations) is the psalmist works through this meditation by what is called an “acrostic” writing – meaning each new verse begins with the next letter in the alphabet (Hebrew, not English).
Why is this cool and important? Because it speaks of a “complete” meditation.
We have a saying that when we cover our basis completely, or that when something is completely known it is done so from “A to Z”. Meaning there is nothing left out…all is there. This confession, this meditational writing is simply saying, “I am setting it all out there, playing all my cards, leaving it all on the table…you are God, I am not. You are whole, I am incomplete. You are Holy, I am sinfully fractured. You forgive and have forgiven and yet I do not and should not be. BUT in your mercy…here are my errors, and in your mercy…remember who you’ve made me to be and are making me to become…and remember THAT instead of my past.”
Meditation has always been hard for me – and it’s not because I cannot…it’s simply because I cannot (that makes sense in my head). I have a difficult time sitting still, I have a difficult time staying focused on thinking of nothing. I almost need to be doing something else in order to focus on something else (that makes sense in my head as well). But what is more of a struggle for me is that I know I should, I know that with practice things get easier, and that is a difficult pill for me to swallow. And yet I don’t do it.
We all need to take a page from the psalmist here. She understands who she is. More importantly, she understands who God is and her need for Him – and that can ONLY come through prayer, reading, and some form of meditation or reflection. And I say this because if we don’t think about who God is and what He has done…and not “think” but THINK…then how are we to fully grasp the situation we are in and the work God has done? The cross means nothing to us if we don’t actually look upon the cross and see the large heavy wood beams, the rough and jagged nails, the thick coarse rope, the blood-soaked holes in the wood, the quickly-written words that said, “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” above the cross that were done so in truth but also with ridicule (John 19:19).
To the psalmist they understand that the humble need to be led by God – for without God’s guidance there is no understanding of what is “right” (9). And not only that but they are also declaring, in that same voice, that God’s “right” way is the only way…the “right” way is HIS way. It’s what Paul declares in Rom 7:7 that if it weren’t for the law, the word of God about how to act and interact and show love and goodness to others and Him…if it weren’t for that word (law) then Paul wouldn’t even know he was in sin. How could Paul know that he was wrong and that God was right had he not meditated and worked through it?
Meditation and reflection isn’t supposed to be difficult or complex. In truth, we do it all the time. When we pray…when we take a walk and simply listen and hear…when we look outside and see the snow gently fall, or the pouring rain pound the earth or even watching the lightening light up the night sky. Those are forms of meditation and reflection that allow us to see, hear, feel, and listen to God. Sensing who he is and what he is doing.
We proclaim that all areas of our lives are to be given to God and that there is no space in and of this world that he doesn’t claim: “mine” (Psalm 24:1; Col 1:17; Acts 17:24). I think it’s time for me to start working through that, meditationally, as I proclaim it verbally already.
With meditation and reflection I may not be able to fully comprehend these differences in terms that I have and that God gives…but with the struggle of those words and terms comes the assurance and peace I seek as well.