Monday, February 9, 2009

The early rains also cover it with blessings...

Photo by _marmota on Flickr

As I listened to the rain on the windows this morning, this verse came back to me, and it brought back the rest of the Psalm. It is such a beautiful passage. It was the perfect meditation during our breakfast of homemade doughnuts with fudge icing and cinnamon coffee. I thought I'd share it with you (and would have loved to share the doughnuts, too!) Most of my favorite Scriptures come to my mind in three different versions--the NAS, NIV and Reina-Valera 1960 (Spanish)--so I pick whichever version suits my mood or combine them. I also enjoy The Message, and find that some phrases stick in my mind.

Psalm 84

"How lovely are Your dwelling places, oh Lord of the angelic armies!"
Hey, that is us! Check out Rev. 21:3. We have it on the authority of God's Word that we are lovely. Stop and think about that. Let it sink deep inside you, so that the next time the lie is whispered inside you that you are not beautiful, the Truth will be stronger and louder. You are lovely. So are our sisters in Christ. Remind them.

"My soul longs and burns with desire for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the Living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the sparrow a nest for herself where she may lay her young at your altar, oh Lord of Hosts, my King and my God."
The idea of a mother laying her little ones at the altar of God is deep enough that I want to meditate on it some more.

"How blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising You."
The recurring theme of the whole Psalm--abiding in God's presence.

"How blessed are those whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion/who have set their hearts on pilgrimage, Your ways are in their heart."
Our strength is in God. It isn't about us and our abilities. We don't have to be strong--we can acknowledge and even rejoice in our weakness, because His strength is shown to be perfect.
Obviously, the different translations diverge a bit on the next line, but I think they are all beautiful. A highway to Zion--for me (besides an ancient Petra song), this calls to mind a direct path, going straight into His presence. Jesus. A heart set on pilgrimage--the awareness that this isn't our home. Our time here is just the journey, not the ultimate destination. Movement. We are to keep traveling, not stagnate in our comfort zone. God's ways in our heart--choosing to follow Him, to obey, to live out all the daily odds and ends the way Jesus would. Training ourselves through long practice to discern between good and evil.

"Passing through the valley of weeping, they transform it into a spring/a fountain, the early rains also cover it with blessings/the rains fill the pools."
The verse that prompted my thoughts this morning. I know so many who are in the valley of weeping right now. I hurt for them. I'm clinging to the promise that in the middle of that valley, somehow, there is transformation. It becomes a place full of life-giving water.
The pain and confusion are washed away, and the holes that they left become covered and filled with refreshing life. I think also of the stories of travelers finding water holes. Not only will this become a place of blessings for those who came here weeping, but also for others who come to this oasis in the future. Somehow, the heartbreak won't be wasted. It will be used to bring life to others.

"They go from strength to strength/power to power, every one of them appears before God in Zion/they will see God in Zion." In Spanish, the noun translated to strength is usually translated as power. It is the same as the verb that means the power or ability to do something. It is interesting to shift perspective from strength that could be merely endurance to the power to take action. Dan. 11:32 reflects this, too, in that the people who know their God will display stength and take action, they will be strong and do exploits. I like the Spanish also that says that we will see God. It is easier for most of us to acknowledge that God is watching us than to believe that we will see Him.

"Hear my prayer, oh Lord of hosts; listen, oh God of Jacob. Look, oh God, on our sheild, and on the face of your anointed. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the doorway of the house of my God than live in the dwellings of wickedness."
Even if we see ourselves as only on the outer edges of God's presence, let's choose to get close to Him rather than fitting in with wickedness or living comfortably with sin. Even better, when we are tempted to be discouraged at the waste of time spent away from God, remember that the time with Him matters far more.

"For the Lord God is a sun and shield, the Lord gives grace and glory/favor and honor. No good thing does He withhold/take away from those who walk in integrity/whose walk is blameless."
What amazing gifts--not only His grace and forgiveness, but even glory. Integrity. Wholeness. Completeness. Like an integer.

"Oh Lord of hosts, how blessed is the one who trusts in You!"


Blessed Mama said...

Amen. Good words!

Staci said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I also would have enjoyed sharing the doughnuts :), though I'm just realizing I'm about a year late.

dulce de leche said...

That's OK! Come on over and we'll make more doughnuts! <3