Good morning, on this sunny Bank Holiday Monday. (And for those loosing all track of time, it is a bank holiday, and it is a Monday). It’s Jenny bringing you Zeph@10am today. Last week I promised Yvonne that I would be more cheery – hopefully by the time you get to the end of this you’ll agree that I delivered on my promise.
In the meantime, here’s a question for you to ponder. When is a psalm not a psalm?
The answer to that question is when it’s a psalm that’s not in the book of Psalms. Just like last week, I’m straying out of the book Psalms to 1 Chronicles. Unlike last week, this is definitely a psalm – a full on song of praise of/to God. Perhaps you’d like to have a read. It’s in 1 Chronicles 16: 7-36.
Sometime last year, I embarked on crocheting a blanket (obviously it’s still not finished, but we won’t go into that). I have a fairly broad base of textile knowledge and skill, and have dabbled in most craft techniques – including crochet in the distant past. Knowing that I was planning to do this, I had picked up a simple book on crocheting granny squares for £1 at a car-boot sale. I’d chatted to someone who knows how to crochet really well (although not necessarily about how to crochet).
So I was all set – I was armed with knowledge………
Except I didn’t actually apply the knowledge I was armed with. I had a general understanding of crochet – you pull loops of yarn through other loops of yarn to make chains, right? I’d skimmed the book I’d bought to get an idea of what I wanted my granny squares to look like. So I charged in thinking I knew what I was doing.
But it didn’t look right. I couldn’t work out how to avoid long threads stretching between chains. It certainly bore very little resemblance to the pictures in the book. Much undoing and restarting occurred.
Finally, I stopped… and went back… and actually read the book I had bought. I looked carefully at the instructions. I followed the step-by-step diagrams. And lo, I had a perfectly formed granny square! For anyone who understands crochet, I failed to comprehend that a ‘triple’ stitch is not just a chain of three loops.
Just before this song of praise by David, he’d had a similar experience….. although not with crochet. (So far, the Biblical texts have been surprisingly silent on his crochet abilities).
There is no doubt David wanted to please God, and to place God at the centre of everything he did. Now he has been anointed king of the whole of Israel, and has taken the city of Jerusalem as his capital, he wants to bring the presence of God – represented by the Ark of the Covenant – to Jerusalem. What better thing could he do than place God in the centre of his capital? What could possibly go wrong?…….
Except it did go wrong. David took his strongest warriors, and they put the Ark of the Covenant on a new cart. Unfortunately the cart had to go downhill from where it had been kept, and as it did so, the oxen stumbled. One of the men – Uzzah – put out his hand to stop the Ark of the Covenant from sliding off the cart and was immediately struck down dead, because no one was to ever touch the Ark of the Covenant.
David had to stop. He had to rethink. He had to see where he went wrong, and try to do it the right way. He prepared a place for the Ark – a special tent for it in Jerusalem. He then followed the rules. Instead of warriors, he called all the priests and Levites to carry the Ark. Instead of placing it on a cart, and relying on the sure footedness of oxen, it was carried on its poles, as was commanded to Moses. And lo, the Ark of the Covenant was safely brought to Jerusalem amid joy, celebration and dancing – led by David himself.
This psalm-that-is-not-a-Psalm is David’s response of praise and thanks to God for, not just helping him get the Ark to Jerusalem, but for everything that He’d done for his people through history. It seems that this one act of failing to follow God, suffering the consequences, then going back and getting it right with God’s help, reminded David of all the other instances of God’s faithfulness, and it results in this complete outpouring of praise. Unlike the Psalms I have looked at in the last few weeks, there is no negativity here at all. David is shouting from the roof tops how great God is. He’s literally dancing in the streets in praise.
Take a couple of minutes to thank God for the times He has helped you, especially the times that He helped you sort out the mess you’d got into because you hadn’t listened to Him in the first place.
Thank God for the times in your life that you have seen His faithfulness, guiding your path, showing you what you should do and where you should go.
Pray that, in the dark and worrying times that we’re going through, we have a chance to tell someone – anyone – how great God is and just how much He means to us, and that we’ll be able to do it with all the enthusiasm of David.
On this sunny Bank Holiday Monday, the weather seems to be in tune with this psalm, especially verses 32-33:
There are so many songs that echo the words of David’s song. Perhaps, our language is lacking in enough breadth to encompass how amazing God is and be original. I’ve gone with this one as a final focus for today, but if you’ve got another one running through your head, then feel free to sing that one instead.
I hope I delivered on the ‘cheery’, Yvonne. May you see the fields bursting with joy and hear the trees singing God’s praise today. And enjoy your bank holiday!