Help and Deliverance

I was surfing around on the internet a few nights ago and came across resources to memorize Colossians over the course of a year (only two verses a week!). I kind of wanted to go for it… and I still might. But I realized that before I jump into a lofty goal like that, I should really wrap up my current memorization goal first: to learn Psalm 40 by heart.

So I buckled down, and after much muttering to myself in public places, double checking words (is it Lord or God? Hurt or harm?), I am pleased to say that I think it’s all in there! I will continue reviewing it daily for a few more days at least, and I hope to review it once a week or so to keep it in my mind. Which brings me to the other thing I wanted to do – brush up on Hebrews 12. I used to know so much of that chapter! And, while we’re talking about it, Ephesians 4 as well, but that has faded away even more than I should say. Let it be known I memorized Ephesians 4 before I learned and forgot all the Brazilian Portuguese to do with my semester abroad. SO. It’s pretty gone.

But it is so much easier to re-learn than learn something new, and committing to finishing off Psalm 40 has reminded me of how much value there is in memorizing Scripture, of the depth that you can begin to sense when you spend an entire day focused on one verse and it doesn’t get old. So before I jump into Colossians like a crazy person, I want to soak Hebrews 12 and Ephesians 4 back into my mind and go from there.

I had wanted to post more reflections from Psalm 40 as I went along, but it can be really hard to articulate. I’m not giving up, but I am not going to hold myself to the idea I had earlier of going through in order. To prove it, this tidbit I want to share now comes from the very last verse:

You are my help and my deliverer;

do not delay, O my God!

What struck me was this: help and deliverer are not the same things. A deliverer rescues, releases, sets free. Help… helps.

This is a bit of an echo from verse 13:

Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!

O Lord, make haste to help me!

These two concepts are intertwined in the psalm, but they are not the same. For me, it is a reminder that we have to trust God – whether he delivers us from a situation or helps us through it. Sometimes I think he does both. But it strikes me how David concludes this psalm because he opened it by saying that the Lord heard his cry.

Not to sermonize (too much?) but that also emphasizes to me that when God hears our cry it is no time to stop crying out. Let God hearing your cry be the start of your prayer 🙂

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