Able to Perceive

Are you tempted to think that God is unable to see or perceive the desire, grief, and sighing of your heart?

One way to reflect on a Davidic Psalm (a Psalm written by David) is to read the verse or passage in three ways:

  1. From the perspective of the psalmist,
  2. From the perspective of Christ, and
  3. From your own perspective.

I began using this “perspective method” after I saw a Tweet by a friend and brother in Christ, Caleb Morell this past summer:

caleb_psalms

I recently tried Caleb’s method again, this time with Psalm 38:9, and I wanted to share my notes, and to commend the method as helpful. For this particular exercise, I used a different sequence from that tweeted by Caleb. Caleb’s sequence was me, David/psalmist, then Christ. I, on the other hand, in this particular meditation, went with the psalmist/David, Christ, then me. I think that there may be helpful benefits to any sequence of those three perspectives.

Psalm 38:9: O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.

Observations:
O Lord: Addressing the king
all: Not some, not most. All.
my: belonging to me, proceeding from me
longing: desires
is: presently
before: in front of
you: God, Lord, king, personal being
my: belonging to me
sighing: overflow of grief, anguish, distress
is: presently
not: negation
hidden: it is visible, clearly perceivable
from: in the presence of
you: God, Lord, king, personal being.

1. From the perspective of the psalmist, observations:
O Lord: The psalmist addresses the King.
all: The psalmist recognizes the totality of his desires, which are in the presence of God.
my: The psalmist expresses that the longing belongs to himself. It is his longing.
longing: The psalmist has desires, or longing.
is: The psalmist has desires at this very moment as he writes.
before: The psalmist has desires, which are in the presence of God. His desires are within the perception of God’s knowledge or vision.
you: The psalmist speaks to a God who is a personal being.
my: The psalmist also has sighing that belongs to him as he suffers.
sighing: The psalmist has sighing, which are expressions of grief, anguish, distress, unfulfilled longing, and/or other emotions from his heart’s experience.
not: The psalmist recognizes that the sighing is not hidden.
hidden: The psalmist uses the word hidden, in the event that someone might think that God was unable to see or perceive the sighing of the psalmist.
from: The psalmist expresses that his sighing is in the presence of God.
you: The psalmist communicates his experience to a living God.

Implication:
“not hidden”: Perhaps the psalmist may have been tempted to think that God was unaware of his sighing.

Application:
“not hidden”: Are you tempted to think that God is unable to see or perceive the desire, grief, and sighing of your heart?

2. From the perspective of Christ on the cross:
O Lord: Christ addresses God, His Father, in his suffering.
all: Christ expresses the totality of his desires, which are in the presence of God.
my: Christ expresses that the longing belongs to himself. It is his longing.
longing: Christ has desires, or longing.
is: Christ has desires at the very moment when he suffers on the cross.
before: Christ has desires, which are in the presence of God. His desires are within the perception of God’s knowledge or vision.
you: Christ speaks to a God, His Father, who is a personal being.
my: Christ also has sighing that belongs to him as he suffers.
sighing: Christ has sighing, which are expressions of grief, anguish, distress, unfulfilled longing, and/or other emotions from his heart’s experience.
not: Christ recognizes that the sighing is not hidden.
hidden: Christ has present sighing that is not hidden, in the event that someone might think that God the Father was unable to see or perceive the sighing of Christ.
from: Christ expresses that his sighing is in the presence of God.
you: Christ communicates His experience to a living God, His Father.

Additional observation/implication:
In one aspect (in view of God’s omniscience), just as God was aware of the sighing of the psalmist in Psalm 38, so God was also aware of the sighing of Christ at the cross.
And yet, in another aspect (in view of God’s love and His wrath), while God in His holy love was disciplining the psalmist in Psalm 38 (cf. Psalm 38:1-5, Hebrews 12:6), God was pouring out His holy wrath on Christ at the cross as a substitute in the place of sinners like the psalmist and many others, who would repent and believe in Christ.

3. From my perspective, as a suffering child of God:
O Lord: I address God, my Father, in my suffering.
all: I express the totality of my desires, which are in the presence of God.
my: I express that the longing belongs to me. It is my longing.
longing: I have desires, or longing.
is: I have desires at this very moment.
before: I have desires, which are in the presence of God. My desires are within the perception of God’s knowledge or vision.
you: I speak to a God who is a personal being.
my: I also have sighing that belongs to me as I suffer.
sighing: I have sighing, which are expressions of grief, anguish, distress, unfulfilled longing, and/or other emotions from my heart’s experience.
not: I recognize that my sighing is not hidden.
hidden: I have present sighing that is not hidden, in the event that someone might think that God the Father was unable to see or perceive my sighing.
from: I express that my sighing is in the presence of God.
you: I communicate my experience to a living God, my Father.

Psalm 38:9: O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.

“Most of us read the Bible (and everything else) too fast, like sprinting through a rose garden. Let’s just get through the rose garden here. I saw all the roses, I really did. Well, you did. But really, did you?” – John Piper

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