(Today’s post by Chris Queen)
We tend to think of the Psalms in terms of the familiar verses that we use to get us through our day. “The Lord is my shepherd…” “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path…” That sort of thing…
Sometimes I think we lose sight of the human emotions in the Psalms. After all, these songs and poems are the raw expressions of feelings by the Creative Arts Team of the nation of Israel.
Take today’s reading, for example. We see a bunch of different emotions on display in Psalms 137 and 138, and they reflect the heartfelt sincerity of their authors.
We see sorrow:
137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our harps. 3 For there our captors demanded songs and our tormentors asked for joy: “Sing us one of the songs of Zion. 4 How can we sing a song of ADONAI in a foreign land?
(…for those of you who are fans of old school ska and reggae who are singing along to The Melodians in your head, I feel you…)
We see determination:
137:5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither. 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I cease to remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my chief joy.
We see joy:
138:1 I praise you with all my heart. In the presence of the mighty I will sing praises to You. 2 I bow down toward Your holy Temple and praise Your Name for Your love and Your faithfulness.
We see gratefulness:
138:7 Though I walk amid trouble, You revive me. You stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand delivers me. 8 ADONAI will fulfill His purpose for me. Your lovingkindness, ADONAI, endures forever. Do not abandon the work of Your hands.
We even see some pretty harsh and vengeful anger:
137:8 O daughter of Babylon, the devastated one, happy is the one who repays you as you have paid us. 9 Happy is the one who seizes your little ones and dashes them upon the rock.
The point of these observations is pretty simple: never be afraid to pour out your emotions to God. No matter how raw or rough those emotions may be, He’s heard them all. He’s big enough to handle our emotions. (And if those thoughts and feelings are sinful, the Holy Spirit will convict you.) He provides us comfort and peace when we need them, and He gladly accepts our praise and thanks.
So let it all out to Him – I dare you.