Tag Archives: Sorrow

What God Gave Up for Lent – Day 4

4. What It Cost God

Burning Garbage2

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and You lay me in the dust of death. (Psalm 22:15)

This last phrase is not simply laying someone down in the dust; it literally has to do being laid in a fire. The word dust can mean ashes, powder, debris and rubbish. But this is a death that is fiery and debasing, perhaps like being laid out in a burning garbage dump.

There’s a place just south of Jerusalem called the Valley of Hinnom, where Old Testament Israel sacrificed their children in fires to Molech and Baal. It eventually became a collection place for all the city’s refuse, and its fires were always kept burning. This became the New Testament picture for hell.

Note Who it was that has placed Christ in this situation: The LORD Himself—You lay me in the dust of death. How great the Father’s sorrow must have been to place the sins of the world upon His Son, then put Him to death, so that He would be the sacrifice offered for those same sins. Yet as great as the Father’s sorrow, how much greater is His love for us. And it was this same love that Christ Himself exhibited as He willingly went to the cross.

This love should stop us in our tracks. Just because The LORD is the Sovereign Creator, Ruler, and Sustainer of All, we must never think that His love for us cost Him nothing. It’s not like the federal government, where you simply print more to pay your debts. Our salvation cost God dearly, personally and intimately.

One more thought. The depravity of man can reach such depths. Consider what God said to Jeremiah, concerning this Valley of Hinnom: “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.” (Jeremiah 7:32)

Although there are some things that do not come into the mind (or heart) of God, embrace the wonder knowing you were on His heart and mind even before He created the foundations of the world.

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SInging with the King (77) – It’s Only a Song

It’s Only a Song…

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! (Psalm 42:5)

Singing AloneThis verse appears three times, twice in this one and once is Psalm 43. When you read these Psalms together, you realize that this phrase (v. 5, 11, and v. 5 in the second psalm) fills the function of a refrain or chorus. Now the purpose of a chorus (except for those who aren’t very good with lyrics and need to say things over and over) is to repeat lines both thematically and musically to ensure it sticks, and that we don’t miss whatever it is being said (sung). So what precedes this chorus?

Verse 1 . (musically speaking) Apparently the Psalmist is no longer near the Temple, is missing the  worship and the fellowship, and is taunted by his enemies about the very existence of his God.

We should remember the passage from Hebrews:  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25)

If for some reason the writer found himself alone, then worship and encouragement would have been is short supply.

Verse 2. More isolation; more taunting and oppression.

But in the midst of this second verse, the Psalmist sings: But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life. (42:8) Now I’ve got to ask: if God is pouring out His unfailing love each day, and he’s singing and praying every night—what’s wrong with his heart?

Verse 3. The oppression continues, as well as false claims against him.

Here he prays for God’s deliverance and guidance.  Then the chorus appears for the last time.

So the question still stands: what’s wrong with his heart? It is not for me to question, for clearly there is something troubling this saint. Within these two psalms, we’ve seen plenty of reasons for sorrow. But we’ve also seen God’s provision. So is sorrow winning over God’s grace?

I suppose it can, if we leave ourselves to it, and surrender to the sadness. Then depression an discouragement can set in. But all throughout this psalm, this songwriter examines his surroundings, his emotions, and his relations. And his decision? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! I will, he says. And he chooses action over inaction. He chooses worship over weeping.

One more thing.  The last phrase is: my Savior and my God. And the Hebrew word for Savior is Yeshua, which is Jesus. So if you’re experiencing this sorrow, remember: Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

Choose the Savior over sorrow.