Archive for February, 2010

Psalm 4:8 –  I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.

Whenever I feel anxious at bedtime these words roll off my tongue. Most of the time a tangible peace follows in their wake, settling in the silence around me. Occasionally I have to choose to believe them, but even then they are not without effect.

Sometimes, when my anxieties have centered around the safety of my loved ones, I’ve taken the verse a step further…I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make [my daughter, husband, mom, etc.] dwell in safety.

But a few nights ago something new occurred to me. If I believe that the Lord alone makes me dwell in safety, surely that has broader relevance. So I started to apply it to other cares and concerns…

I will _______________ (in peace), for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.


I will _______________ (in peace), for you alone, O Lord, make __________ dwell in safety.

I suppose I didn’t strictly adhere to the wording I’ve listed above, but you get the idea. Listing my fears in this way, great and small, peace rushed and swirled around me, putting things in proper perspective. The anxieties that seemed so big only moments before became as nothing.

What are you afraid of? What gnaws away at your peace and settles uncomfortably in your stomach, making it hard to breathe?

Or maybe it’s nothing so dramatic as all that. Maybe it’s just a nagging concern that’s difficult to put to rest. What troubles you?

Arise and greet the morning in peace, walk and live and breathe in peace, lie down and sleep in peace, for it is God who makes you…and all those you love…dwell in safety.

Sweet dreams!

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I just LOVE diving into scripture and discovering depths I never knew existed. This morning I was flipping through the Psalms. When a verse caught my attention I decided to check out KJV with Strong’s to see if there was more to the words than met my eye. For general reading I like the NIV translation but so often it doesn’t come close to capturing the meaning of the original text. What follows is my cut and pasted rendition of Psalm 65 – NIV, KJV, and a bit of my own paraphrasing as well. It doesn’t read so smoothly, but hopefully it gives the opportunity to dwell on some phrases and revel in their richness.

Psalm 65

Praise awaits {or “waiteth for”} you, O God, in Zion {The word translated “awaits” means “silence, still, repose, still waiting.” Think of the pregnant hush in the music hall before the first note sounds, an electric silence, something beautiful ready and waiting to begin.}; to you our vows will be fulfilled.

O you who hear prayer {The word translated “hear” means “to hear, listen to, obey, to hear with attention or interest, understand, give heed, consent, agree, to grant request, yield to, to be regarded, summon, to cause to be heard.” Our prayers “summon” the ear of God. Not only does he hear but he gives us his attention, is interested in and understands us. Moreover he responds – heeds, consents, agrees, grants, yields, regards…obviously God is sovereign and doesn’t just give us everything we ask for, but there is a connotation of responsive action inherent in this word “hear.”} , to you all men {or “flesh” – all living things!} will come.

Iniquities {perversity, depravity, guilt, consequence of or punishment for iniquity} prevail {are strong, powerful, mighty} against me : as for our transgressions, you will purge them away {to cover over, make atonement for, make reconciliation}.

Blessed is the man {or woman 😉 } you choose and cause to approach {come near to, enter into, draw near to} you, that he may dwell {settle down, abide, establish, fix} in your courts {putting that together you could say, “cause to enter into you and be established in your courts”}: we will be satisfied {sated, fulfilled, surfeited, have in excess, enrich – not just filled, but over and above what is needed} with the goodness of your house, of your holy temple.

You answer us with awesome {to fear, revere, honor, respect, be afraid, terrify, to cause astonishment and awe, be dreadful – I think sometimes the word “awesome” in our culture doesn’t quite capture the depth of meaning} deeds of righteousness, O God of our salvation, who are the confidence {or “hope,” trust, refuge, security – but I particularly like that word confidence, it sounds so strong and sure} of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are far off upon the sea.

Who by your strength set fast {set up, be firm, stable, firmly established, fixed, be enduring} the mountains; being armed {encompassed, equipped, clothed – not just as one carrying a weapon, but completely surrounded by it} with power {or strength}. Who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult {murmur, rush, roar, confusion} of the people {or nations}.

Even those who dwell in the uttermost parts {end, border, boundary}, are afraid at your tokens {distinguishing marks, miraculous signs, omen, warning, proof}: you make the outgoings {act or place of going out or forth, issue, rising, place of departure} of the morning and evening to rejoice {be overcome, cry out, shout for joy, to cause to ring or sing out}. {I LOVE this last phrase – actually the NIV states it beautifully – “where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy” – but it hardly captures the full meaning. The rejoicing is not only at sunrise, when night fades away, but at sunset AND sunrise – morning AND evening.}

You care for the earth and water {give abundance to} it. You greatly {exceedingly} enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water: you prepare {establish, make firm, make ready, provide for} them grain, for so you have ordained it. You drench {saturate, cause to be intoxicated} its ridges and settle {go down, press down} the furrows {furrows, cuttings}. {This last bit probably carries a bit more meaning for the farmers out there. After a little searching online I discovered that press wheels are used in modern-day farming to “pack the sloping sides of a deep furrow and assure accurate control of both planting depth and proper soil coverage over the seeds” and that use of press wheels significantly increases crop yield.}

You soften {cause to melt} it with showers {copious showers, as bringing fertility, of prophetic influence} and bless its crops.  You crown the year with your bounty {goodness, prosperity}, and thy paths drop fatness {of fertility, of blessing}. {I LOVE that part! So different from the NIV, although “your carts overflow with abundance” is nice too. “Thy paths drop fatness”…it’s like “your ways drip with blessing and are expansively fruitful.”}

They drip upon the pastures of the wilderness {or NIV “the grasslands of the desert overflow” – it’s like the African savannas when the rainy season comes and literally causes the desert to overflow, bringing life and abundance and turning the wasteland into rich green grassland – prime for grazing}: and the hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks {also like the African savannas after the rains come}; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy and sing.

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