Saturday, August 10, 2019

Scripture to Meditate On

Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. ​Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name's sake! ​Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of your servants be known among the nations before our eyes! Psalms 79:8-10

The first thing that I want to do is make a list of the verbs in this passage.

  • Do not remember
  • Let your compassion come
  • Help us
  • Deliver us
  • Atone for our sins
  • Let the avenging…

What do these all have in common? They are all imperative verbs. Here's how such verbs have been defined. 'Imperatives are verbs used to give orders, commands and instructions.'

Is the psalmist commanding God, giving Him orders?!? Well, there's something that feels awfully uncomfortable with saying that. But the use of imperatives, especially a series of imperatives like this, does establish a tone. And when you notice that there isn't a 'please' in sight, that adds to the particular tone of this prayer.

Now, some might think that the tone of this pray is just wrong. 'It's too demanding. No one should ever pray to God like this.' But, of course, that can't be right. It's in the Bible.

So, what do we have here? We have someone imploring God. (The Psalms often describe this as 'crying out to God'.) The situation of the psalmist is not good, to say the least. There is great need. And out comes this prayer of naked imperatives. 'God, You must act and help us!' And it was the right tone for the situation that the Psalm is referring to.  There are times to 'command' God.

So, what is the tone of your prayers? Do you ever find yourself imploring God to act in your situation? Do you ever find yourself 'commanding' God? If not, does that mean that you have never faced some great need? Is your life that calm and settled? Or is the tone of your prayers something that you might want to consider?