Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Witness as Praise and PleaPsalm 40:1-17
.Knowing God through the miraculous experiences is never a one-time experience. At times we feel God through the success of our lives, however, those successes come with more challenges. We understand God through pains that turn out to be our deepest prayers. Psalm 40 is one such, where Psalmist praises God for all the gratefulness and also plea God to rescue him from dangers. Our life is never a static thing but rather that which experiences every sort of emotion in the world. Witnessing is not just about praising God for good deeds but also experiencing God in our deepest fears which we find in this Psalm.
The first part of the psalm is a song of thanksgiving and praise to God for all that he has done for David. The second part is a call for God to come and help David without delay and in fact verses 13 to 17 from psalm 70, the words are virtually the same, a psalm of the petition to God. As Psalmist witnesses God in great deeds and in a great plea, Psalmist reminds us how to treat life when happy and when sad. There are two thoughts that I would like to share 1)God Who Lifts Us From Pit The New International Version translates verse 1 as “I waited patiently,” but the original language speaks of intense hope, of passionate pleading from the bottom of the pit. The intense hope happens only when one has already had an experience of God’s faithfulness. God’s faithfulness leads one to wait intensely for further experiences of God in times of despair. It’s a reminder from the Psalmist to have intense hope, remembering all that God had been, trusting that even in times of no hope God turns out to be the greatest hope. The language in this particular Psalm sounds remarkably like the story of the Exodus (Exodus 3), we hear verb after verb describing Yahweh’s saving activity: he turned to me (or bent down), he heard my cry, he lifted me up, he set my feet upon a rock, he gave me a firm place to stand, he put a new song in my mouth. What a marvelous description of salvation. When Psalmist says God delivered him from the Pit, he talks about the most chaotic space that he had been in. PIT represents the space of dirt, a space of valuelessness, and a space for no life or help. When God enters into one life, a Pit turns out to be a place where our scream of despair becomes a heavenly experience to sing in joy. When life hits us with many difficulties, many struggles, and makes us go through many pit-like experiences. God is and will always be present in that pit-like experience to rescue. Knowing that God is with us in every moment of our life is a witness that we bear. So no wonder the Psalmist wanted to memorialize that experience with a “hymn of praise to our God.”
2) Witnessing God to Bring Hope to the Hopeless
David tells his story of deliverance in the hope that “many will see and fear and put their trust in Yahweh.” God's experiences have become hidden stories of people. Witnessing God today seems to be outdated and shameful. However, the most remarkable testimony of people in the Bible is been our strongest hope to survive in times of chaos. The reasons the church is so weak and flabby and the world so hard and closed is that believers don’t practice what they speak and hear and many don’t talk publically about their private experiences of being rescued out of the pit. We often wonder how we can fulfill the Great Commission, feeling ill-equipped to share the Gospel. But nearly all of us have a story to tell, and a life to show, a story and a life that will bless people. Witnessing God never ends with the sharing of experience rather, gives hope to the Hopeless who desperately wait for God’s faithfulness in their life. Through this Psalm, God calls us to be witnesses so that we bring hope to the world. Both the experience of praise and plea calls us to be hopeful about the world.
w/o Rev George Wilson Gokavi