thoughts from my prayer journal on Psalm 7:9-17
God is the shield that protects me. I know that, but I sometimes do not want your protection. I want to want what I want. Do you threaten me daily because I will not repent?
At times the following describes me and my food choices, (which are really about being obedient, trusting you, letting go of my self-reliance, getting my way): pregnant with malice, conceiving evil and bringing forth lies. Ouch. At one time when I read the scriptures I only identified with the evil, wrong-doing portions. Your grace has taught me grace with myself, I can now see both my brokenness and my belovedness. But this food thing and my repeated refusal to repent and trust you sets me up to see myself as a stiff-necked person who plots and participates in deceitful actions for the sake of momentarily pleasing my senses. The Psalm describes the sinner digging her own grave, her malice (willful wrongdoing) being the death of her, coming back to bite her on the butt. I can give witness to this being true. My sinful, eating in secret keeps me fat and ashamed and isolated. Why do I persist?
Food: the first temptation you faced, Jesus. Turn the stone into bread, the tempter said. And you refused. But it is the one that I often fail and give in to. Like Adam and Eve, I took and I ate. What follows is a huge disappointment in myself. “You cannot even get past first base, your spirituality is so immature, you are a fraud, you better keep this secret.”
Which is a version of the next temptation: Cast yourself down, God will protect you. My little pity party, post-willful-wrongdoing, takes my focus off of God and places it smack dab on me. I become passive and paralyzed; my will, my choice is taken out of the of the picture. In a roundabout way I am testing of God’s love. Belittling myself, forcing you to protect or defend me.
Then I get all cognitive about it, saying to myself, “Maybe this is a question that is good to consider but is it academic? intellectual? chasing material to write about?” Which is a version of the third temptation: trading God-centric worship for self glory.
My better self, my true self would prefer to figure out how to say no, how to let you be my shield. I guess it happens by saying no. Maybe it’s that simple. Maybe I should practice what I preach.
The Psalmist concludes by saying: I will thank the Lord for his justice: I will sing to the Lord most high. So I thank you Lord for your justice. You will eliminate all the evildoing, you will rescue the one who falls. You will shield me from my own dark self.
Come Lord Jesus.