Praying through the Psalms

Praying through the Psalms

Monday, April 2, 2012

Were You There...

Psalm 42:6-11
6 My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.
7 Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
8 By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
9 I say to God my Rock,
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?”
10 My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.

Exodus 37

The Ark

1 Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high. 2 He overlaid it with pure gold, both inside and out, and made a gold molding around it. 3 He cast four gold rings for it and fastened them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other. 4 Then he made poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold. 5 And he inserted the poles into the rings on the sides of the ark to carry it.6 He made the atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide. 7 Then he made two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover. 8 He made one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; at the two ends he made them of one piece with the cover. 9 The cherubim had their wings spread upward, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim faced each other, looking toward the cover.

The Table
10 They made the table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high. 11 Then they overlaid it with pure gold and made a gold molding around it. 12 They also made around it a rim a handbreadth wide and put a gold molding on the rim. 13 They cast four gold rings for the table and fastened them to the four corners, where the four legs were. 14 The rings were put close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table. 15 The poles for carrying the table were made of acacia wood and were overlaid with gold. 16 And they made from pure gold the articles for the table—its plates and dishes and bowls and its pitchers for the pouring out of drink offerings.

The Lampstand
17 They made the lampstand of pure gold. They hammered out its base and shaft, and made its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 18 Six branches extended from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 19 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms were on one branch, three on the next branch and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 20 And on the lampstand were four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms. 21 One bud was under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 22 The buds and the branches were all of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
23 They made its seven lamps, as well as its wick trimmers and trays, of pure gold. 24 They made the lampstand and all its accessories from one talent of pure gold.

The Altar of Incense

25 They made the altar of incense out of acacia wood. It was square, a cubit long and a cubit wide and two cubits high—its horns of one piece with it. 26 They overlaid the top and all the sides and the horns with pure gold, and made a gold molding around it. 27 They made two gold rings below the molding—two on each of the opposite sides—to hold the poles used to carry it. 28 They made the poles of acacia wood and overlaid them with gold.29 They also made the sacred anointing oil and the pure, fragrant incense—the work of a perfumer.

Matthew 27:32-44
The Crucifixion of Jesus

32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

Reflections
: I don’t know if they planned it this way, but the timing of Psalm 42 and the Passion story of Jesus in Matthew 27, bear remarkable similarity. In the Psalm, we see David wondering out loud why his enemies taunt and mock him. His foes taunt him by saying, “Where is your God now!” This causes his soul to be downcast, and he is even wondering why his soul is so downcast within him. Then he talks to his soul, and tells it to put its hope in God and how he will yet praise His Savior and God in spite of his predicament.

Similarly Jesus has now been forsaken by all his disciples, and his foes mock and taunt him and say derisive things like, “He saved others, but he can’t even save himself.” “Where is Your God now Jesus!” In the same way, even those who were crucified and justly sentenced on his right and left mocked him as well. Jesus was all alone on the cross, and even His Father seemed far from him as we will see tomorrow.

This is Holy Week, the week of remembering Jesus’ journey to the cross, His death on Good Friday, the hope of Easter and the resurrection on Sunday. It is a week to set apart as Holy to the Lord and reflect on this great act of obedience and love on Jesus part to set us free from our sins. If you ever wondered about the love of God and His love for you, take some time to think about what Jesus really did for you on Good Friday, and what we did to him. Yes, I said what we did to him. No, we were not there literally but our sins past, present and future were part of the reason he went to the cross to free us from our offenses, so we could be free to serve him in newness of life. As we will sing on Good Friday, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord. Ohh-hh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”

Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Psalm 105:3

Why do you look for the living among the dead? Luke 24:5

Blessed Savior, hear our prayer of rejoicing for your gift of the promise of new life. Let us learn to trust in your path and lighten our hearts with joy. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.

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