A moment in the Psalms

You could spend days, weeks, or even years in the Psalms and find things of pure gold there. The beauty and bewilderment of the book is that you can find near the same in just a moment. Whether taken as an entire work of emotionally charged prayers and blessings to the Lord, or single moments, captured for the perfect timing of God’s working in the heart and mind of those He loves, there is rich mystery waiting to be unveiled.

One such moment for me was found in Psalm 135:18, where it says – “Those who make them become like them, so do all who trust in them.” The reference here is to verse 15: “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of human hands.” The distinctifying mark of these idols, which their servants begin to resemble are that, “They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths” (verses 16-17).This is who we become like, when our lives are fashioned after them.

The implication, of course, is not the physical idols of silver and gold that we form in our basements, then spend our waking hours bowing down to, but the treasures we fashion in our hearts, which every moment is structured and designed to seek after, find and hold so close as to not allow it to slip away, and protect at all costs. It’s the same relentless pursuit the Psalmist speaks of in chapter 132, where he says, “I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, until I find a place for the Lord,” (verse 4), even if this sleepless pursuit of our own heart-fashioned idols is on lesser things.

You’ve heard it said, “You are what you eat”. God might agree, but he takes it even further for us to say, we become like what we worship.

So we become, according to Psalm 135, either mute, blind, deaf and suffocated, or we resemble goodness, pleasantness, like fruitful works, and are enduring and generous.

This is, at least in part, what God means when he says that he will form in us a new heart of flesh that replaces our heart of stone (Ezekiel 36:26) and again that he will breathe into our lifeless, non-fruit-bearing bodies, to awaken us as a great movement of God’s spirit making its way through the world declaring his glory and greatness (Ezekiel 37).

In reflection, I can easily see what it is that my heart is longing for and making much of, as I begin to look a lot like that to which it ascribes. Gratefully, God’s “redemption is plentiful” (Psalm 130:7) and he beacons us back to his value and nature time and again. In each and every moment, God wants me to return to his life-giving beauty, and away from that which provides myself and those around me no benefit at all. I sure am glad he’s like that.

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