Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Psalm 22: HELP (Part 6)

As we jump into worship again, we need to remember something. As far as we can tell, HELP! has not yet come for David. Only God’s presence. But it seems that the presence itself results in some kind of expectation that God is going to deliver. It lifts David’s spirits, but it goes beyond that.

Worship changes us, but it also changes others.
before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him-- may your hearts live forever! Psalm 22.25b-26
These vows he’s talking about are offerings made where someone would promise a gift to God upon deliverance. Once God delivered, you’d give offerings to share with others so they’d know God’s goodness in your life. It’s like a potluck testimony time.

What’s telling is that David is planning on fulfilling his vows. David is anticipating deliverance. He’s going to party with God’s people and they’re going to eat their fill. This shows us something. Our suffering, our pain, our grief … and how we handle it isn’t just about us, is it? We’re part of a community – whether it be our church or in our network of relationships. We celebrate together. We weep together. We recognize God at work together. And it changes us – whether around the restaurant table, the kitchen table, or communion table.

But it doesn’t stop there. When we cry for HELP! and experience God’s faithfulness, the world is blessed. It starts with the ends of the earth.

All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations. Psalm 22.27-28
This idea of blessing being contagious was always evident in God’s calling of Israel. Read the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12.1-3) and Psalm 67 and it is, of course, central to the vocation of the church (Matthew 28.19-20).

But it moves beyond even this. There’s the leveling of economic differences as all worship at the feet of Jesus. The rich and those who are about to die – some think because of their intense poverty.

All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him-- those who cannot keep themselves alive. Psalm 22.29
So the ripples go through the local believers, across cultural lines, and across economic lines. That’s pretty intense. But crying out for HELP! doesn’t stop there. It ripples for generations. When we tell stories of God’s presence in our pain – even if it doesn’t result in deliverance – we build into the next generation a deep trust that will be caught by them and passed on for generations thereafter.

Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn-- for he has done it. Psalm 22.30-31
Let’s think about this psalm for a minute. Think about where we’ve come from. We’ve come from God forsaking David to David praising God in such a way that it ripples for generations. How?

We live in a self-reliant society. This psalm reminds us that there are times when we are helpless and God loves to help His people in His timing. And all through the process, it pushes us toward what we were created for … relationship with Him – whether we ‘feel’ it or not. And, as we keep crying out for HELP! – even if it seems He isn’t hearing, we’re drawing near Him and are preparing for something powerful in the future. Wherever you are in your pain, you need to keep – like the widow in Luke 18 – keep crying out to God for help. Don’t give up on crying out for HELP!

We’ve reached the end of the psalm, but there’s some practical elements that we want to follow up on over the next few posts.

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