08 January 2010

Never Unwatched, Never Alone

The average reader of history is aware that jargon and tastes change, but human nature, needs, and desires remain pretty much the same.
In the Psalms we find many “psalms of affliction” their typical pattern is to begin as a lament and wind up with a praise and prayer for the Lord’s rescue. Psalm 102 runs on this model:
“Hear my prayer, O LORD, And let my cry come to You. Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my trouble; Incline Your ear to me; In the day that I call, answer me speedily. For my days are consumed like smoke, And my bones are burned like a hearth. My heart is stricken and withered like grass, So that I forget to eat my bread. Because of the sound of my groaning My bones cling to my skin. I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. I lie awake, And am like a sparrow alone on the housetop. My enemies reproach me all day long; Those who deride me swear an oath against me. For I have eaten ashes like bread, And mingled my drink with weeping,
Because of Your indignation and Your wrath; For You have lifted me up and cast me away. My days are like a shadow that lengthens, And I wither away like grass…”
Jesus Christ, Teacher to the teachers, knew the Psalms. And he used the Psalms to speak into the deepest fears of the heart of his people, the Jews.
In many places he spoke to their fear of being abandoned-by others, and by the Lord Himself.
Christ masterfully took the words that every man and woman could pray in the dark night of the soul and used these same words, turning them inside out, to give reassurance. The actor in this case is not just the ominpresent and almighty Lord. No, Jesus makes it startlingly clear that the assurance comes from the culture of the heart, which resides in a parent. No parent hearing these words need fumble to understand the intimacy of these words, there is no obscurity or subtlety spoken in these lines:
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:28-30 (King James Version)