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Learning the Wisdom of a Poem 111011
Psalm 90 should be called Poem 90. It is a lament poem, where the singers repeat the complaint about the shortness of life, yet proclaim the glory of knowing God for this short lifetime.
But when one reads it out loud, or reads it slowly 2 or 3 times, or even better, struggled to memorize the poem it becomes a spoken song, a high and melodic human refrain. It is, to me, like the quiet sounds of angels whispering behind my ears.
What if you were asked to recite a verse in church, at a family gathering or a small social event and you were able to stand up, speak clearly and loudly, and recite this entire poem ‘from the heart’ or ‘by heart’?
And like all good poems, it describes and brings to mind not just one idea or memory but a string of ideas, thoughts, and deep, deep memories. I’ve been trying to absorb a thick volume titled the Universe, and this poem/psalm made me think of the ideas about time that people have, all of them seeming to say that time is as the Psalm relates—1,000 years is like a passing day to God.
Yet, the poem/Psalm which is also a song, sounds like an old Blues song, like ‘Saint James Infirmary’ or sad like a Hank Williams, Sr song. But at the end the Psalm turns around and is joyous like a Southern Gospel group clapping and dancing around the church!
Today, pray for the music and celebration that this Psalm gives to us. Share it with a friend and celebrate together.
Pray for peace,
1Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
2Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3You turn us back to dust, and say, “Turn back, you mortals.”
4For a thousand years in your sight are like yesterday when it is past, or like a watch in the night.
5You sweep them away; they are like a dream, like grass that is renewed in the morning;
6in the morning it flourishes and is renewed; in the evening it fades and withers.
7For we are consumed by your anger; by your wrath we are overwhelmed.
8You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your countenance.
9For all our days pass away under your wrath; our years come to an end like a sigh.
10The days of our life are seventy years, or perhaps eighty, if we are strong; even then their span is only toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.
11Who considers the power of your anger? Your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
12So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.
6When Joshua dismissed the people, the Israelites all went to their own inheritances to take possession of the land. 7The people worshiped the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work that the Lord had done for Israel. 8Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred ten years. 9So they buried him within the bounds of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10Moreover, that whole generation was gathered to their ancestors, and another generation grew up after them, who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. 11Then the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and worshiped the Baals; 12and they abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; they followed other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were all around them, and bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger. 13They abandoned the Lord, and worshipped Baal and the Astartes. 14So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers who plundered them, and he sold them into the power of their enemies all around, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. 15Whenever they marched out, the hand of the Lord was against them to bring misfortune, as the Lord had warned them and sworn to them; and they were in great distress.
16Then I heard a loud voice from the temple telling the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.” 2So the first angel went and poured his bowl on the earth, and a foul and painful sore came on those who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped its image. 3The second angel poured his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing in the sea died. 4The third angel poured his bowl into the rivers and the springs of water, and they became blood. 5And I heard the angel of the waters say, “You are just, O Holy One, who are and were, for you have judged these things; 6because they shed the blood of saints and prophets, you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!” 7And I heard the altar respond, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just!”
8The fourth angel poured his bowl on the sun, and it was allowed to scorch them with fire; 9they were scorched by the fierce heat, but they cursed the name of God, who had authority over these plagues, and they did not repent and give him glory. 10The fifth angel poured his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness; people gnawed their tongues in agony, 11and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores, and they did not repent of their deeds.
12The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Related articles are presented without endorsement
- Rain And Resilience – Psalms And Poems (ellenolinger.wordpress.com)
- Pope: Psalm 119 shows depth of man’s relationship with God (catholicnewsagency.com)
- Psalm 119: a Celebration of the Beauty of the Word of God (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)
- A Homeless Man Looks at Psalm 23 (thebiblerunner.wordpress.com)
- St. Athanasius on the Psalms (apologus.wordpress.com)
- Wednesday, November 9, 2011 @ Psalms 128-130 (phyllisbenigas.wordpress.com)