Thursday, April 12, 2007

I May Not Know Art, But I Know What I Like.


A spry little silver-haired lady was once ask by an up and coming young pastor, "What is your favorite hymn?" to which she replied, "Robert Redford!"

When it comes to music, we all have our preferences. I suppose ancient Israel did as well, especially when you take a look at their hymn book, the Psalms. Songs written over a 1,000 year period, named and unnamed authors. Songs of praise and lament, of blessing and curse. It is quite the compilation.

And maybe that is the reason it is has been the "favorite" book of the Bible for so many people over the eons. It is a book that speaks to the heart because it is a book that speaks from the heart. It is a book of great emotion directed to the One who hears the cries of our heart. It rises from the depths of our souls to the heights of heaven and it spans the generations as well.

The Psalms is the book to which we run, when we know of no other Scripture to hide in. We find comfort within its pages as it helps us to "flesh out" that which is often too deep for words.

So, how is the Song Book of Israel to you? What is your favorite "hymn?"

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Robert Reford eh??? Not a bad "him"!!!!

Your challenge is too hard for me...I find it impossible to select a "favorite" Psalm. What is a favorite today will be replaced by another favorite tomorrow or next week...because our favorite is something that spoke to our hearts or spoke FOR us in a particular situation etc.

I guess like most people say "Amazing Grace" is their "favorite" hymn in modern times...at least most people can sing at the first verse....I would imagine a majority of people "on the street" would say their favorite "hymn" of ages past would be Psalm 23...because it is so familiar...memorized as children, quoted so often in funeral / memorial cards.

I remember as a young woman of 30 yrs. ...facing quite a traumatic surgery.The night before surgery as I lay in my hospital bed I was looking for comfort as I faced the event the following morning. I took my Bible and opened to Psalm 46...my heart rejoiced as I read those words...God is our refuge and strength, an EVER PRESENT help in trouble...therefore I will NOT FEAR!!!! Then I flipped over to Psalm 41 and read "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble...the Lord will protect him and preserve his life...the Lord will sustain him on his sickbed and RESTORE him from his bed of illness. The following morning my pastor came in early before I was taken down to surgery and read Psalm 34...about the angel of the Lord encamping AROUND them that fear Him and He delivers them. It was a wonderful visual for me as they wheeled me down to the surgical suite...to visulize the angel of the Lord encamped all around me...what more comfort could you possibly want or need?

Another time when I was going through a period of deep depression and it was hard to pray and hard to read...I vividly remember opening my Bible to the Psalms and took comfort in many of the songs of David pleading with God to lift him from his despair. Psalm 42 spoke to me in a meaningful way...bringing hope and reminding me once again where my hope lies....only in the Lord...it is HE who meets us at the point of our need.

Other times I have delighted in the Psalms of praise when my heart soared in praise along with the author...

So you see....I can't pick a favorite. There are different "fixes" for different needs.... Do YOU have a favorite?

Sing to the Lord a "new" song....but the "old" ones aren't bad either! HA! Ruthie

Pastor Randy said...

Ruthie,

You are so correct in saying that it is difficult to pick one, and that most often it depends where I am in life.

That being said, I do have a couple that I "like."

Psalm 51 always grabs at my heart, especially when confession is needed. Psalm 119 is one that really gets to me because of its singular focus (God's Word) and its acrostic form. I am really impressed by the author's hard work. I real challenge to do you best when working with God's Word.

I do like Psalm 19 as well. As you stated so much to choose from. Isn't God's Word grand?!

Gary said...

Psalm 91 has to be included as among the best of the psalms for me. I first considered the potential power welling up in this psalm maybe as long as 40 years ago - and its ongoing truth and comfort have never strayed far from my mind.

In the KJ version it starts out with, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Why a secret place? Because it is a mental place right in our own mind, I’ve found. It is a real place within our active thoughts. It is the home of, “Christ in you, the hope of glary.”

You have your secret place, Pastor; Ruthie has her secret place; gentledove has hers, Pastor Dan-O has his – and I have my secret place. And no one else can enter-in here without our permission, except for God’s Spirit who loves to dwell in this secret place with us (directly behind the eyeballs of each one who believes in his precious Presence). The secret place is no secret place from God.

This psalm gives us confidence that we can perceive and overcome the entry of Satan’s deception into our mind, when it comes, that we will be delivered from the fowler’s snare, and from the noisome pestilence (worldly chattering). I look on these assurances as actual promises from the Lord reserved for those who feel up to trusting in his words.

It states that for those who make the most High their habitation, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come neigh thy dwelling.” This is incredible! This one gave me peace of mind during the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, as well as during a stubborn difficulty with skin cancer a few years back. “Thy dwelling” has multiple concepts, all of which can be valid.

I’ll quote the last three verses and close here, as you undoubtedly are already familiar with and have benefited from the astute promises of this psalm yourself, whoever may be reading this.

- Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
- He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.
- With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Gary