Monday, May 16, 2011

Psalm 73

If you follow the “Our Daily Bread” devotional book as we do, you will have noticed the reading was Psalm 73. This is EXACTLY what I needed today. I have been quite low, maybe almost depressed of late. I don’t like it. I want to be happy.
Comparison conceives discontentment, jealousy, envy and general unhappiness. We usually compare ourselves with others whom we perceive are in a superior position compared to ours.
It’s precisely what the Psalmist is guilty of in Psalm 73. Comparison!
Perhaps I am in one of those stages cancer people go through. I have not read any book that outlines these stages, but here is how I would describe my stages. July 2009- diagnosis of cancer and a numbing stage of disbelief. Anticipation of surgery and hope for the best case scenario. August 2009- diagnosis that cancer went to the liver. Cold shock! August to September 2009- recovery from surgery, a period of getting better. Optimism and sense of hope. October 2009 to November 2010- treatment, a sense of hope that things will get better eventually but slowly realizing it is not improving. December 2010 to present day- slow slide into despair that things are not getting better. The next step I hope will come soon- acceptance of the final outcome and peace, joy and assurance of going to heaven.
Psalm 73:21ff describe me of late- an embittered heart. Since I do not know Hebrew, I am at the mercy of translations and commentaries on the meaning of the word “embittered.”  The TEV (Good News Bible) has it this way:
            When my thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt,
            I was as stupid as an animal; I did not understand you
                        (vs 21&22)
The popular NLT says it this way:
            Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside.
            I was so foolish and ignorant- I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
I like how the Anchor Bible commentator Dahood puts it:
            But when my mind has soured, and when my emotions had dried up;
            I became a stupid fool without understanding, a mere beast in your sight.
Folks, that’s me!
I have a soured heart! Yep, my heart is embittered, and it’s soured!
Sunday morning (yesterday) was a brilliant morning of sunshine and just beautiful clear skies. The first thought that came into my mind was, “This day is not created for you, Chuck. You are not able to do anything to enjoy the good weather. You can’t do this and you can’t do that, so the beauty of the day means nothing to you.”
I was crushed.
Friends, it’s not always pretty what goes on in my head. I must get out of this rut. I want to get out of it. I need to get out of this embittered, soured state of mind and heart.
But look at verse 23 and on:
            NEVERTHELESS I am continually with Thee;
            Thou hast taken hold of my right hand.
            With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me,
            And afterwards receive me to glory.
            Whom have I in heaven but Thee:
            And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth
            My flesh and my heart may fail,
            But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Is it not wonderful that God remains faithful even when we push Him aside. Today it felt as if God took hold of my right hand.
Today was a much better day. I could eat pretty good for a change, and my spirits were better. I walked to the store with Julia (and back), but that was about all that was in me. I thank God for this day.
I hope today was the start of a grand turnaround in my life.
Thanks for your prayers.


  1. It is the Hebrew word for "leavening" which in the Hithpael form that it is found as in this Psalm it refers to "souring" (by metaphor...a leavening that ruins/sours "my heart"). "My heart was spoiled and my mind [lit. "kidneys"] pierced. I was brutish and did not understand, I had become a beast with you." How the Psalms can capture our innermost thoughts. I find solace in the Psalms as they've helped me to express what I could not otherwise put to words. Be blessed Brother! I hope to see you sometime soon.

  2. I always enjoy your Hebrew wisdon coming through as you elaborate on these passages. Thanks for doing that, Rick. I cherish your expansionism on my comments, especially when the Hebrew needs further explanation. Thanks for bailing me out man. Hope I can see you at Prov. Let me know again when you are going to be there