Psalm 39

I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.”

I was silent and still; I held my peace to no avail; my distress grew worse,

my heart became hot within me. While I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:

“Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah

Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather.

“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.

Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool.

I am silent; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it.

Remove your stroke from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand.

“You chastise mortals in punishment for sin, consuming like a moth what is dear to them; surely everyone is a mere breath. Selah

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not hold your peace at my tears. For I am your passing guest, an alien, like all my forebears.

Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more.”

———

I hear a deep sense of fragility in this Psalm. While the Psalmist expresses hope in the Lord, there is anger and frustration expressed. “I am silent, I do not open my mouth…I am worn down by the blows…Hear my prayer, do not hold your peace at my tears, turn your gaze from me that I may smile again before I depart and am no more.” These are tough words from one who feels stretched. But like yesterday’s – still talking. Still talking. Lord, for all those who feel stretched and fragile by the blows of life, please redeem and restore.

This picture speaks of fragility to me. The green grass coated by the frost shows the vitality of life but also the impending winter to come.

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