How Brokenness is Beautiful to Him

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”

Psalm 91

I read through the first 3 ninety Psalms (90,91,92) the other day and God caught my eye. Normally I read to find something interesting, or an encouragement for my current situation, but this time, as I dipped into His Word, all I could see was Him.

He was great, wonderful, real; exactly what I felt I needed, He was telling me His is, and has been all along. How could I be so blind?

God, it seems you’ve been our home forever; long before the mountains were born,
Long before you brought earth itself to birth,
from “once upon a time” to “kingdom come”—you are God.

So don’t return us to mud, saying,
“Back to where you came from!”
Patience! You’ve got all the time in the world—whether
a thousand years or a day, it’s all the same to you.
Are we no more to you than a wispy dream,
no more than a blade of grass
That springs up gloriously with the rising sun
and is cut down without a second thought?
Your anger is far and away too much for us;
we’re at the end of our rope.
You keep track of all our sins; every misdeed
since we were children is entered in your books.
All we can remember is that frown on your face.
Is that all we’re ever going to get?
We live for seventy years or so
(with luck we might make it to eighty),
And what do we have to show for it? Trouble.
Toil and trouble and a marker in the graveyard.
Who can make sense of such rage,
such anger against the very ones who fear you?

Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
confirming the work that we do.
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!

Psalm 90

God, You are the center, and my glory is my connection with You; should I leave You, I am left with nothing.

What a beautiful thing, God, to give thanks, to sing an anthem to you, the High God!
To announce your love each daybreak,
sing your faithful presence all through the night,
Accompanied by dulcimer and harp,
the full-bodied music of strings.

You made me so happy, God
I saw your work and I shouted for joy.
How magnificent your work, God!
How profound your thoughts!
Dullards never notice what you do;
fools never do get it.
When the wicked popped up like weeds
and all the evil men and women took over,
You mowed them down,
finished them off once and for all.
You, God, are High and Eternal.
Look at your enemies, God!
Look at your enemies—ruined!
Scattered to the winds, all those hirelings of evil!

But you’ve made me strong as a charging bison,
you’ve honored me with a festive parade.
The sight of my critics going down is still fresh,
the rout of my malicious detractors.
My ears are filled with the sounds of promise:
“Good people will prosper like palm trees,
Grow tall like Lebanon cedars;
transplanted to God’s courtyard,
They’ll grow tall in the presence of God,
lithe and green, virile still in old age.”

Such witnesses to upright God!
My Mountain, my huge, holy Mountain!

Psalm 92

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