Wednesday, October 12, 2016
The Real Question
If the 43rd Psalm sounds familiar, there is a good reason. The final verse which begins with "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?" and the additional ones about hoping in God can be found exactly alike in verses 5 and 11 of the 42nd Psalm. Although not exactly literal, the same kind of repeating language can be found in the 9th verse of Psalm 42 and the 2nd verse of Psalm 43. More than separate Psalms, they seem like one Psalm that some literary editor decided to break in order to make two. Once this strong connection is seen, it is impossible to read them without asking, "Why?"
While going to a commentary and reading the insight of a proven Biblical scholar might shed some light on the question, it is not really a strong enough issue for me to pull a weighty theological volume from the shelf. And besides, there is another more important truth in place as I reflect on the Psalm. What is important is not literary, but spiritual. What is important is hearing what resonates in my own heart as the spoken Word of God. The "why" question is noted, but I can also lay it aside for the moment as I search for he Word which my own soul needs.
Sometimes I struggle to acknowledge both the presence and the needs of my own soul. In many ways this Psalm is a prayer in which the one praying is searching out the deep recesses of the inner being where the Spirit of God Himself dwells along with that part of the human creation which was indeed created in His image. There is, therefore, a mysterious part of my created being which both reflects and bears the presence of God. The soul given to me as a gift in the very beginning has the capacity to glorify God as well as to bring divine glory into the life of this unworthy and flawed man. Perhaps, the real question is not the 'why" question that speaks to literary issues, but the question, "Why are you cast down, O my soul?" when God in His glory chooses to dwell within me.