A Psalm To Break Free In Grateful Words of Thanks While Remembering Those Who Still Struggle, Fear And Know Repression
THIS will be the second attempt at writing some thoughts on the subject of Purim and this Psalm, one where King David recalls the trials of his ancestors Mordecai and daughter, Queen Esther, who risked everything to preserve and protect the Jewish captives from a very treasonous act at the hands of a high official to the King Xerxes I (Ahasuerus) of the Persian empire.
Purim performance, Jewish Theatre in Warszawa, Poland. March 2009.
Source/Attribution: Kotoviski photograph by Henryk Kotowski – Own work;
David was one of the most aware individuals that ever lived. Raised from low stature, given a heart of courage and strength that excelled that of many men; a brilliant strategist and one of the greatest leaders of all time, he was the quintessential ruler: caring deeply for those who were his subjects, especially for the poor and needy, while being the man who knew his own subjection to God for guidance, trust and provision. His own growth came from having lived so many different lives at the moment that this rich tapestry of experience carried him through all his days. It is little surprise that his psalm comes forth with such riveting zeal and tender plea.
David was a man well versed on cunning, not only to save his own life, but also the life and honor at times of his pursuers. One must not forget how he was despised by his own father-in law (King Saul) to the point of having to live among the Philistines. It’s also duly noted that Saul’s own son Jonathan and David were oathed by covenant to be each other’s closest, in life – and some believe – even in death; it preserved a kingdom’s lineage (Mephibosheth being the only surviving son of Jonathan), healed the rift caused by Saul’s betrayal to his loyalest son-in-law and ally, and allowed the progression of that bloodline to have Yeshua (Christ) fitly derived from it.
Having known so much war and carnage, then peace and prosperity as his dream to build the ‘earthly house for God’ is plotted and gathered, David taught his son (not the first born) Shlomo (Solomon) continually of the pattern and design so he could take his place by ordination as the builder and completer of this massive undertaking.
Within this psalm, as many others attest, David constantly remembers to ask God for three things: relief from oppression for himself and God’s people, remedy for the poor and needy, and that evil be visited on those who seek to destroy God’s people, heritage and servant (King David).
Of course, these were times of absolutes. Love was devotion, hate was anger, laissez-faire was rarely a state of mind, except when not focused on matters of importance. People who were loved mattered greatly; people that were loathed had become objects of scorn, or worse: sought after to avenge great wrong. These emotions traveled well into generations (as was the case in David’s writing, centuries before his becoming King.)
So, how does this Psalm apply? I’ll take a very personal view.
My mind thinks pretty much in the ‘old world’ paradigm with a bit of ‘new world’ understanding, all of it thanks in largest part to the works and acceptance of Yeshua (Christ). The brains and heart of this man have been honed to the place where there are still absolutes, yet in the mercies of God there will always be room for reconciling, in its proper time and honor. Like David, so much of what he says occupies my own head, yearnings feel very much the same, and the focus on greater works is forever before me – from the alongside abiding of trusted and revered friends to the hands and feet of one who will pick up the pieces of brokenness and bring healing and hope back into those lives that intertwine with my own.
This Psalm has its own calming effect, too. The distress so prevalent today, the horrors and torments seemingly growing louder with each new day, sicken me and often give sleeplessness. Yet the hopeful man doesn’t quit, will stare evil down and speak whatever the moment’s truth needs saying, and constantly look for doors to open for bringing about a connection – one where peace can be understood, agreed, and practiced. The words of Shlomo (Solomon):
The ‘old world’ among us tend to be more word-savvy and even word-conscious, never seeing pretense embedded with friendship or closeness. Definition of terms are always chosen carefully because of the weight of meaning. It is why you see such compassion and fire from David’s writings, and indeed what endeared him to the Almighty. It is that same ‘true’ which gave Esther the resolve to relieve the Jews of certain annihilation due to one of the most cunning of ‘rules’ enacted in haste, without understanding; God’s moment takes over from bravery to overturn every evil intended on the ones who attempted a maneuver to have their bidding of treachery unfold. It is the most brilliant of masterful outcomes.
I write this today as a hope that if you who read this are in a struggle, angst has taken hold, or unending suffering seems to be your lot in life, you take a pause and let this Psalm sink in. To know that God remains at the helm, has a course charted for us if we let Him guide, and that our distress is in His sights, navigating us to better places, is an understanding Scripture confirms in countless ways. Psalm 9 in particular is my go-to moment when all seems fallen, even myself; to be reminded that God is Light, Source and Abundance despite whatever lack I own. The subject of David seems to make it easier for this ‘son’ to get, for so much of his writings have been clarifying my own personal life and ministry since a young age.