Psalm 119 צ Tsadhe – fish hook?
137 You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are right.
138 The statutes you have laid down are righteous; they are fully trustworthy.
139 My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words.
140 Your promises have been thoroughly tested, and your servant loves them.
141 Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.
143 Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.
144 Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.
Right >§§§> Left
Your laws are right.You are righteous Lord!Fully trustworthy are the righteous statutes you have laid down.My enemies ignore your words and my zeal wears me out. Your servant loves your thoroughly tested promises.I do not forget your precepts though I am lowly and despised.Your law is true.Your righteousness is everlasting.Your commands give me delight when trouble and distress come upon me.Give me understanding that I may live your always righteous statutes.
Obviously there isn’t much efficiency in working on two sections of the Psalm at a time if you end up having to say “sorry this section is posted out of order.” I have been “caught being human too.”
The Psalmist had his own reasons for choosing Tsadhe – fish hook as his title. Today it’s a stepping stone, a mental path, to find truth that makes old words real for contemporary life.Fish hook is only one step away from the idea of being “caught.” Is the Psalmist caught thinking his zeal for God is what changes his enemies?Is that what’s wearing him out? Is he caught by his own perception of what others think of him? Is he caught by his own trouble and distress? Is he caught being human? The answers to all of the above may well be yes.
That’s why his words seem familiar – they’re still struggles of being human today. Maybe Tsadhe – fish hook – is the Psalmists’ way of remembering being “caught” is also what makes it possible for him to find a positive response to those negatives.
He’s “caught on” that despite thorough testing, he still loves the promises of God. He’s “caught on” that God’s righteousness is everlasting but his circumstances aren’t. He’s hooked by these truths that allow him to live, to believe, to be faithful…even though he’s caught being human too. He’s been caught and firmly hooked by a righteous and trustworthy God.a
For the “first” time since I began this blog in 2015 and settled into two posts a week I missed my post this Sunday.Oh, I have a list of reasons but when I ticked them off to myself I didn’t find much justification in any of them. I just don’t always get it right. In keeping with my recent theme of “Firsts” I’m reposting an updated version of my very first post. The reality is I need to remember what inspired me to begin this blog in the “first” place. Consistency is of great value in a blog but it doesn’t compare to God’s consistency. “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 1:6
Hello world! – Edited “First” Post from June 5, 2015
I began what I call a timid, limited slog through the Old Testament.It’s timid because I’m not a scholar, limited because what I read is often far less than a whole chapter and slog because sometimes reading to find faith in my daily life feels like trying to run in a dream.I wanted to explore the human identity of some of the main characters of the Old Testament that I pretty much skip over to get to Jesus.They often seem so remote to me but they’ve become heroic examples of what faith looked like in the “good old days;” days that were so much closer to God’s miraculous intervention in the lives of those real people.
I wanted to look at them as people who didn’t always get it right the first time and see what happened in their lives.Some stayed faithful and learned from their mistakes and some just let their worry or anger destroy them.You know, people just like us. People knowing and believing God but held back from becoming what God created them to be by flaws, or maybe just indifference. This is exactly where many of us find ourselves.This word journey is my attempt to see how God moved them, and still can move us, from being satisfied with being not Godless, but not Godly either.
I am absolutely convinced there is a process God has designed for the purpose of revealing himself to those who care to look and listen.It involves his Word, the Holy Spirit and time.I read many versions of Scripture online and watch for the mental “stop sign” in those words that says “notice me.”These are the methods of the digital age.I copy and paste them into my iPad journal.Yes, I’m a geek.I type, I think, I backspace [a lot] and then I think and type some more until there seems to be a completion of the thoughts I believe the Holy Spirit has brought to my mind.Sometimes I need to be reminded what makes my thoughts important is where they come from and my ability to hear what God is trying to tell me. That’s where I am today.
It brings a smile to my face to imagine that God might use that oft repeated cell phone phrase of the digital age, “can you hear me now” as an object lesson for me.I want to listen, I want to hear, but sometimes I just have to quit moving and stay in one place long enough to get good reception.One thing is absolute though, God is faithfully consistent to ask the question over and over, “can you hear me now?”
II Corinthians 11:21-23 Since you admire the egomaniacs of the pulpit so much (remember, this is your old friend, the fool, talking), let me try my hand at it. Do they brag of being Hebrews, Israelites, the pure race of Abraham? I’m their match. Are they servants of Christ? I can go them one better. (I can’t believe I’m saying these things. It’s crazy to talk this way! But I started, and I’m going to finish.)[MSG]
The familiar Christmas song Do You Hear What I Hear came to mind when I read Paul’s challenge to the Corinthians.He felt foolish having to justify his credibility to them after his perseverance in teaching them the truth of the Gospel.He felt frustration over their attraction to what they saw and heard from those “egomaniacs in the pulpit.”Paul’s own plea to the Corinthians could have been these very words…
Do you see what I see?
Do you hear what I hear?
Do you know what I know?
God has used the Apostle’s frustration and the lyrics of this contemporary  Christmas song as a reminder of the servants who’ve been part of God’s preparation for me.They persevered week after week in their own preparation to teach me the reality of living a life of faith only to discover how easily I could be distracted from what they were trying to help me see, hear, know and remember. I know they’ve all walked the same path as that Apostle, faithful and sometimes frustrated.
My Christmas gift to those servants this year is that they be remembered.Only a couple will receive a note in the mail but there are others who’s names I’ve long forgotten and lost touch with.Their gift will be given with the unique delivery system only God can provide.I promise you I will remember to thank them all for being an “old friend” foolish enough to believe this gift would ever come:
I see what you see –
I hear what you hear – I know what you know – Listen to what I say!
The Advent has come!
“The Child, the Child sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light.”