Hello, my friend. Once in a while, I read a Psalm and say, “Lord, what can you teach me from this dirge, this unending complaint?” And it is particularly remarkable that this PSALM 64 comes after that joyous Psalm 63, which we looked at yesterday. We ask, how can it be that a great leader for the Lord, like King David was, can descend from the heights of praise, to these depths of complaint.
Don Wyrtzen, in his fascinating book, A Musician Looks at the Psalms, calls this Psalm a Drone-pipe of Judgment. And he describes a drone-pipe as the lowest tone used for accompaniment on the bagpipe, referring to any long sustained bass note, against which changing harmonies sound. Since Doris comes, as you know, from England, with her family largely raised in Scotland, we are always especially thrilled when we see and hear a band of bag-pipers playing their unique tunes. If you have heard them, you recall this low bass-note on which everything else is structured.
This Psalm is like a drone-pipe, to which other Psalms are compared. It is a long, groan-like complaint of David against what he calls in vs.3, ‘that noisy crowd of evildoers,’ evil people are those who have sharp, critical tongues, seeking to destroy innocent people, shooting at them without fear. He describes them smugly saying, “Surely we have devised a perfect plan”, their minds and hearts full of cunning. Ever met anyone like that? And David needed to remember that when he faced foes of this fearful strength, he had to take refuge in the Lord, as he reminds himself in vs. 10. For beneath all the bewilderment of his complaint is the drone-pipe, this insistent pedal point: “Hear me, O God…Hear me, O God…Hear me, O God.” And his emphasis at the end of this Psalm is not on his grumbling but on his God. Sometimes these Psalms seem monotonous in their complaints. Wyrtzen says so wisely, “If I must be monotonous, let it be in singing God’s praises.” What a valuable thought. We all need to do our best for the Lord, so when people think of us they will not hear a drone of groaning, but a joyful sound of people who are enjoying the presence of the Lord. We wonder, sometimes, why these complaints seem to be so repetitious, and we are puzzled why God felt it necessary to include them in His inspired Word. But if you have studied music, one of the frequent exercises is that the composer will take a relatively simple theme. You play it, and then continue to play a whole range of variations on the theme which enables one to stretch ones understanding of it by hearing it in other ways. So we examine the various ways in which God leads us, speaks to us, and provides for our many needs.
“Help us, Lord, to know that you waste nothing. And your Word is powerful in that it helps us realize that not a single groan is unheard, not a single tear is unnoticed, not a single need is ignored. Bless us as we ponder these great truths. Thank you for my friend, who faithfully comes alongside. Bless each one in the Village Family. We especially rejoice at the way you are using this simple ministry to be an encouragement and we earnestly pray that you will make us significant as your servants today.”
Thank you, partner, for being along. Cheerio
These meditations on the Psalms were written by Village Schools of the Bible Founder, Monty Sholund and first published in book form as Monty’s Musings on the Psalms in 2000. Copies are available for $10 and can be ordered here.
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