It’s spring…a much anticipated season, especially here in Minnesota where our senses are dulled for so many long months. Sun-starved describes it best. Not enough natural vitamin D. We long to have the windows open, hear the happy exchange of the birds who decided to come back after all, and….for those of us who are lovers of the soil…pull out our long-awaited packets of seedlings. Yes! New life! Reminder of eternal hope!
No one feels this more than the farmer. The minute weather permits, he is in the field plowing up the soil, digging down deep and turning it over so it faces the sun. Brown hard dirt is replaced by rich, thick, moist, black soil. He knows that without tilling the soil, it will not (in fact cannot) bear a crop. It must be turned up before it is ready to receive the seeds, the sun, the rain, and…yes, even the lightning that replaces the nitrogen. It must be able to breathe. Without the farmer, the soil is nothing but…soil.
Much like the farmer with the land, the shepherd David plowed up his own heart and soul over and over. He knew it was the only way to receive God’s forgiveness, His blessing, and His life instructions. He knew a sinful heart cannot see God. He expresses his heart’s agony throughout the Psalms…groaning, begging for God to hear him, to save him from the depth of depression and fear of his enemies or to relieve him of his grief. He alternately pleads for forgiveness and praises God for who he is and what he knows his Father can do.
There is neither room here nor battery life in my laptop to list all of David’s expressions, but I have selected just a few. Can you not feel his despair? His begging for relief? His outcry to the only One who can save him from himself? He wasn’t just mildly depressed or having a bad day. He was a powerful and much-beloved king, but that couldn’t offer him any peace. It couldn’t restore the closeness he had known with God. He was, after all, ‘a man after God’s own heart.’ His soul was desperate as he called out to the only One who could help him; he clung to the truth that Jehovah would answer. David went straight to the Source with no shortcuts, knowing he would be heard. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (51:17)
First, he recognized his plight and admitted his helplessness.
I am feeble and crushed and I groan because of the tumult of my heart. (38:8)
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief; my body and soul also. (31:9)
My heart is in anguish within me. Fear and trembling come upon me and horror overwhelms me. (55:4)
I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears. (6:6)
Secondly, he boldly asked for/told God what he needed.
Lead me in your truth and teach me. (25:4)
Answer me when I call…be gracious to me and hear my prayer. (4:1)
Save me, O God! (3:7)
Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. (5:1)
Then he waited.
For God alone, my soul waits in silence. (62:1)
I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer me, O Lord my God! (38:15)
I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I put my hope. (130:5)
Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. (33:20)
Finally, he offered up a grateful heart to praise and worship God.
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart. (9:1)
I will be glad, I will sing praise to your name. (91:2)
I have set the Lord always before me. (16:5)
I delight to do your will. (40:8)
I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I set your rules before me…I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart! (119:30 & 32)
It can all be summed up this way: “On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased.” (138:3)
Time to stop writing. There is a heart waiting to be plowed up…