How to Restore your Soul

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Psalm 23 by Brooklyn Tab

The soul of us all is damaged. We’re born into a world that “lieth in the wicked one.” The political, cultural, educational and every other system, in spite of thwir attempts to be righteous are tainted with sins and iniquities from the past, the violent homelife, the smarmy television, noisy barrios and lack of adequate food, water and money all leave us damaged goods, not to mention our own sin. How do we restore a soul that entered into this world, a sinner, yes, by definition but not by practice?

One prophet suggests that we focus on the Psalms, all 150 fo them. Let’s look at Psalms 39, 41-42 in The Message translation, known for street speech.

Psalm 39 The Message

39 1-3 I’m determined to watch steps and tongue
    so they won’t land me in trouble.
I decided to hold my tongue
    as long as Wicked is in the room.
“Mum’s the word,” I said, and kept quiet.
    But the longer I kept silence
The worse it got—
    my insides got hotter and hotter.
My thoughts boiled over;
    I spilled my guts.

4-6 “Tell me, what’s going on, God?
    How long do I have to live?
    Give me the bad news!
You’ve kept me on pretty short rations;
    my life is a string too short to be saved.
Oh! we’re all puffs of air.
    Oh! we’re all shadows in a campfire.
Oh! we’re just spit in the wind.
    We make our pile, and then we leave it.

7-11 “What am I doing in the meantime, Lord?
    Hoping, that’s what I’m doing—hoping
You’ll save me from a rebel life,
    save me from the contempt of idiots.
I’ll say no more, I’ll shut my mouth,
    since you, Lord, are behind all this.
    But I can’t take it much longer.
When you put us through the fire
    to purge us from our sin,
    our dearest idols go up in smoke.
Are we also nothing but smoke?

12-13 “Ah, God, listen to my prayer, my
    cry—open your ears.
Don’t be callous;
    just look at these tears of mine.
I’m a stranger here. I don’t know my way—
    a migrant like my whole family.
Give me a break, cut me some slack
    before it’s too late and I’m out of here.”

For those of you who might think this is an interpretation, recall that the author, Eugene Peterson, is a translator. He translated many different editions including the one used by Bible societies across the globe because it confines itself to common speech and well known words.

David complains that he tried to watch his tongue and things got worse. Then he complains to God about his situation. This constitutes 90% of prayer I suspect. It is the miseries that drive us to our knees, after we have sought out help from relatives, the government, the medical profession – we’re at the end of a rope where there has been no help. This describes the Psalms.

David explains that the fires of trouble are done to burn up our idols of sex, money and power, just to mention the main ones.

When you put us through the fire
    to purge us from our sin,
    our dearest idols go up in smoke.

Fire is always explained as God’s judgment, as in Isaiah 47:14-15. When we recognize that God is not dealing with us as much as dealing with the wicked things in this world, it should help us to agree with with what God is doing and not fight Him at every point.

Isaiah 47:14-15 The Message

14-15 “Fat chance. You’d be grasping at straws
    that are already in the fire,
A fire that is even now raging.
    Your ‘experts’ are in it and won’t get out.
It’s not a fire for cooking venison stew,
    not a fire to warm you on a winter night!
That’s the fate of your friends in sorcery, your magicians.

Much of what is happening in America is the result of deliberate curses and witchcraft, something the Media never covers nor thinks important. Materialists teach that the invisible world either doesn’t exist or is of little importance. Science is debunking that now; we all know how essential invisible DNA is to us. It literally defines who we are. And sometimes what we do!

Psalm 41 brings ups new issues and new solutions. In this case David has been mistreated by others. He is the victim of gossip and lies. He seeks vindication from God; he also acknowledges that his sins have damaged him.

Psalm 41 The Message

41 1-3 Dignify those who are down on their luck;
    you’ll feel good—that’s what God does.
God looks after us all,
    makes us robust with life—
Lucky to be in the land,
    we’re free from enemy worries.
Whenever we’re sick and in bed,
    God becomes our nurse,
    nurses us back to health.

4-7 I said, “God, be gracious!
    Put me together again—
    my sins have torn me to pieces.”
My enemies are wishing the worst for me;
    they make bets on what day I will die.
If someone comes to see me,
    he mouths empty platitudes,
All the while gathering gossip about me
    to entertain the street-corner crowd.
These “friends” who hate me
    whisper slanders all over town.
They form committees
    to plan misery for me.

8-9 The rumor goes out, “He’s got some dirty,
    deadly disease. The doctors
    have given up on him.”
Even my best friend, the one I always told everything
    —he ate meals at my house all the time!—
    has bitten my hand.

10 God, give grace, get me up on my feet.
    I’ll show them a thing or two.

11-12 Meanwhile, I’m sure you’re on my side—
    no victory shouts yet from the enemy camp!
You know me inside and out, you hold me together,
    you never fail to stand me tall in your presence
    so I can look you in the eye.

13 Blessed is God, Israel’s God,
    always, always, always.
    Yes. Yes. Yes.

Blame is common to man, but God always expects restoration to follow forgiveness. He cannot deal with your enemies until you have forgiven them and then come to Him for redress. Those who take revenge are taking God’s business out of His hands. It won’t work; in fact it can make everything worse.

In every case, David repeats the blessings of God, how God will change, restore and correct. In fact, other than the promises of God what do we have? Restoring the soul comes by believing and acting upon the written word. It is the One Stable Reality.

~~~~~~~~~

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The Ministry of the Watchman – An observer on the wall sharing a report of what God is seeing and doing in the world at large and also in the congregations of His people. Cornelia Scott Cree, Watchman, Change Agent, Essayist.

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