Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.
Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers.
“A God for All Seasons”
A few years ago, my wife Heidi and I took on a little home-improvement project—we replaced the old carpet in our four-season porch with new vinyl flooring. The rationale for the floor change can be found in the name of the room—it’s a porch for all four seasons. With access from the garage and from the slider to our back yard, this room needed to be equipped for the heat of summer, guarded from the cold of winter, and ready for whatever else Michigan throws at us in between. The floor had to accommodate sandy flip-flops, wet boots, and dirty grand-kids. Carpet is great in a room where everything is cozy, predictable, and under control, but sometimes our “rooms” are a little more complicated than that!
As we have been reading through the book of Psalms, we have discovered that it’s a pretty simple book that can help equip us for a pretty complicated life. It offers songs of praise and prayers of desperation; soul-searching confessions and gut-wrenching laments. The Psalms are an all-season songbook for worshiping our all-season God.
In Psalm 64, David begins with “Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy.” Or, as The Message translation has it, “Listen and help, O God. I’m reduced to a whine and a whimper; obsessed with feelings of doomsday.” Now, when someone starts a conversation with me by telling me they want to complain about something, I have to fight the urge to roll my eyes. But if they begin to whine and whimper and obsess over it, I want to start running for the door!
The Hebrew word translated here as “complaint” is siach. It’s a complicated word of unknown origin…perhaps a word for all seasons. It can be translated as “complaint,” but it can also mean “meditation, prayer, musing;” or even anxiety, distraction or babbling.” However we choose to translate it, David is complaining or mediating or babbling to God about the world he lives in.
David describes two groups of people in his song. There is “the enemy…the wicked…evildoers” (vs. 1-2), and there are “the righteous” and “upright in heart” (vs. 10). David wants to be protected and hidden from the evildoers, who wield words like swords and arrows (vs. 3-4), and ensnare the innocent with their devious plots and plans (vs. 5-6). But David also wants to be acknowledged and identified with the righteous and upright, who rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in Him” (vs. 10).
The cruel arrows of the wicked are a complicated reality of David’s “porch.” They are a clear and present danger for him, and for us. But David knows that God will prevail in the end. “God will shoot them down with his arrows” and “turn their own tongues against them.” Even if it appears that the evildoers are having their way in this life, even when Satan seems to be winning, David knows that God will have the last word. David’s complaint to God is about the reality of the present, but David’s hope is based on a future reality. As Martin Luther declared in his magnificent hymn, A Mighty Fortress, “The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him…one little word shall fell him.”
We live in an all-season world. So, let’s celebrate that we belong to an all-season God! He is exactly what we want when everything feels cozy and controlled…and He’s everything we need when it’s far more complicated than that. When my warm sunny life gives way to rain, wind and cold times, God is a God for all seasons. Remember that for today, and be reminded of your hopeful future. You BELONG to Jesus Christ, the only WORD that matters! Always stay thirsty for him!