8 Minute Read + Scripture readings
Today’s Bible Reading:
Today’s Bible Verse(s):
“Wake up, LORD! Why are you sleeping? Get up! Don’t reject us forever!”
Psalm 44:23 (CSB)
Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):
The Lord used the book of Psalms during my college years to teach me how to pray. Really pray. Up until then, I prayed but my prayers weren’t passionate and they often weren’t even honest (with what my heart was feeling and my mind was thinking). I just settled into vain repetitions and often said the same phrases over and over.
As we read the Psalms, we realize that many of them are prayers. We also realize that those prayers aren’t anything like the prayers we so often pray. They are real. They are honest. They are rugged. They are sometimes even (what we would consider) disrespectful.
Were you a little shocked at what the Psalmist said to God in Psalm 44 as you read it? His relationship with the God he loved and served was so real that he felt that he could be brutally honest with the serious feelings and questions of his heart. Just listen to some of what he said:
Psalm 44:12 (CSB): “You sell your people for nothing; you make no profit from selling them.”
Did you catch that? The Psalmist was saying that God was handing him and his people over the enemy and wasn’t even benefitting from the transaction. He was accusing God of making a profitless, embarrassing business deal.
Psalm 44:17-19 (CSB): “All this has happened to us, but we have not forgotten you or betrayed your covenant. Our hearts have not turned back; our steps have not strayed from your path. But you have crushed us in a haunt of jackals and have covered us with deepest darkness.”
In these previous verses, the Psalmist was saying that he and his people had not abandoned God and yet God had abandoned them. Essentially, he accused God of being a horrible person – someone who returns evil for good.
Psalm 44:23-25 (CSB): “Wake up, LORD! Why are you sleeping? Get up! Don’t reject us forever! Why do you hide and forget our affliction and oppression? For we have sunk down to the dust; our bodies cling to the ground.”
Wow! In those previous words, the Psalmist said that while injustice was abounding, his God was asleep. He demanded that He wake up and come to his rescue. He called him to come out of hiding and help.
Friend, the Psalms don’t give us permission to abuse our Almighty God with our tongues. He is the God of all Creation and isn’t to be triffled with. So, don’t read the Psalms and come away thinking that you can abuse God with your words. His patience will eventually run out.
Instead, the Psalms reveal to us that we need to tell God exactly what we are thinking and feeling. The Psalms don’t teach us to be disrespectful to God; instead, they teach us to be honest even though some of our honest feelings and thoughts might be disrespectful.
If one of my sons was visibly upset at me for something I did, I love him so much that I would want for him to tell me what’s going on in his mind and heart. Even if what he feels may ordinarily be inappropriate to talk about, I would want him to get it out. Even if his words might appear to be disrespectful, I would primarily cherish the fact that he’s being transparent and honest with me. I want to hear what’s on his heart.
That, my friend, is a big part of what prayer is. If you’re thinking it, tell it to the Lord. If you’re feeling it, tell it to the Lord.
But if what comes out of your mouth in prayer doesn’t match what you’re thinking or feeling, then you’re being a hypocrite. You are presenting words to God that aren’t consistent with the real you in that moment.
So, listen to the Psalms and learn to be real, really real in your prayers. It’s a relationship with your God that you’re working on, after all. And all true relationships are built on transparency, genuineness, and honesty.
* * * * * * * * * *
Lord Jesus, while You are worthy of our worship, and while the most natural posture before You is on our knees or faces, You also love it when we wrestle with You. When we read in Genesis 32:24-32 about Jacob wrestling with a man, it becomes clear in that story that the man was God! You! And yet You let Jacob wrestle with You for hours. Help me to love and worship You, and yet have such a real relationship with You that I can be free to wrestle with You and to be brutally honest at times about what my mind is thinking and my heart is feeling. Thank You for desiring this sort of honesty in prayer. In Your Name I pray, Amen.