Psalms in the Key of Life: Part 2
Here is a simple reality that we have all know to be true; when belief and behavior do not align, we experience psychological tension. The scope of this tension is dependent on the level of disconnect between belief and behavior. Obviously greater disconnect produces even greater tension. Psychologist have created the term cognitive dissonance to describe the psychological discomfort a person encounters when belief and behavior are inconsistent. Often this inconsistency between belief and behavior results in anger, guilt, frustration and even embarrassment. Whereas much of the emphasis of modern psychology is to create harmony in self, the focus of Christianity and the biblical narrative is to establish harmony between God the creator and His creation.
Can you imagine how King David of the Old Testament must have felt as his private behavior that led to an affair with Bathsheba and eventually the murder of her husband Uriah the Hittite, was made public? David experienced a great amount of discomfort as a result of his sinful behavior. He wrote 3 specific Psalms that presents the internal anguish that he experienced; Psalm 32, 38, and 51. In Psalm 38 he writes, “I am bent over and greatly bowed down; I go mourning all day long ... I am benumbed and badly crushed; I groan because of the agitation of my heart” During this time of great anxiety the man that loved and trusted God felt that his redeemer was far away, “Do not forsake me, O Lord; O my God, do not be far from me!” (Psalm 38:21). David authentically presents a brokenness that is genuinely expressed throughout these chapters.
Perhaps the greatest chapter in the Bible that reveals the discomfort of man when his relationship with God is damaged is found in Psalm 51. In this chapter we see David’s plea for restoration. His prayer is that God would remove his sin, give him His Spirit, and that God would renew their relationship. David was ultimately convinced that his sins committed toward Bathsheba and Uriah were ultimately sins committed against God.
Listen to the first section of David’s prayer
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
This prayer has a way of reminding each of us of the discomfort and ultimate brokenness we experience when our relationship with God is unhealthy. We can also cling to the beautiful truth he expresses when he says, According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Sin has the potential to make us feel unlovable but we have God’s word to remember that our creator is full of compassion and ready to forgive. My prayer is that we turn to this great God for the hope of restoration.
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