Praying With Scripture
We've arrived at Psalm 30, a song chosen for the dedication of the temple. It's a David psalm, either written by King David or after his style. In either case, we're supposed to keep him in mind as we read it. I like to attribute it to David himself. I imagine Solomon selecting one of his father's psalms once the temple that David longed to build was finished.
It's a song of relief after danger, and a song of God's inestimable goodness. David insists multiple times, in multiple ways, that suffering is in no way comparable to glory. God's anger, human danger, night-long sorrow, and, in fact, all human suffering are small compared to the peace and joy and hope and safety God offers his people. And this isn't because suffering is small. David describes it as completely overpowering. Suffering is vastly bigger than humans have a capacity to comprehend. Yet, compared to joy, it's ephemeral. The glory of God outweighs the whole cosmos, and it's offered to us, God's people.
Finally, let's focus on one puzzle in the psalm: Why does David ask God to spare him using an argument from praise? Appealing to God for mercy, he says, "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?" At first read, this sounds like a pagan approach to God; it seems to suggest that God needs our praise, that he lacks something when he loses our living voices. If you read praise like this, like currency, then David sounds like a desperate barterer: "If you kill me, you won't get paid, and then where will you be?"
But that's not the only way to read it, and it puts both David and God in undignified positions. Instead, perhaps it's an appeal to beauty and evangelistic mission. Perhaps David sees life as uniquely characterized by praise and proclamation, whereas the disembodied person is rendered mute. In light of that, he asks God to allow him to continue the beautiful work of praise and evangelism, not because God needs them, but because they are good and profitable things that God loves.
If that's the case, then it also makes my speculation about Solomon selecting his father's psalm even more lovely. He's picking his dead father's written meditation on the silence of death, thereby, in a sense, reawakening his father's voice. He, being dead, yet speaks.
Do you believe that God's glory for his people is incomparably greater than all suffering? How could you understand that reality better, without diminishing the scope of suffering?
Are you using your brief life in service to the praise and proclamation of God? When you die, will you be ready to say that your life has spoken to God's grandeur?
Read the whole Psalm at the bottom of this update
Requests and Praises
Resource Books Completion - Thank you for your prayers! We have first editions out for all five resource books. We'd still like to make revisions to two of the books before the end of the month, so we invite your continued prayer, but we've also passed a huge milestone.
Public Trainings - Praise God for a successful From Duty to Discipleship event! Pray that God would fill this Saturday's Entering Culture Courageously event with youth leaders who are eager to serve him in their ministry.
New Partners - Pray that God would move new churches and schools to buy Wheatstone Trainings for their faculty and staff, so that the Christian adulthood movement can take root in brand new communities.
Staff and Office
Peter and Lisa - Pray for both Peter and Lisa, who are both overstretched, juggling more than they should. Pray that we would stay hopeful and courageous, and pray that we would have wisdom to correctly prioritize our projects.
Upcoming Paternity Leave - Peter and Amanda's baby is due at the end of this month. Pray for a healthy birth, and for Wheatstone's success while Peter is away.
Interns and Volunteers - We have three regular volunteers or interns this semester. Pray that God would bless their work and our fellowship with them, and pray that God would bring more volunteers and interns onto the team.
Alumni Thanksgiving Party - Pray for this Sunday's party! Ask that God would make it a joyful, renewing, gratitude-inducing event.
Fall Registrations - Pray that God would move church and school groups to commit to attending The Academy 2018, Living Among Shadows.
New Monthly Givers - Pray that God would increase the number of our Monthly Givers, whose gifts are an essential part of our financial future.
New Benefactors - Wheatstone seeks new large gifts from individuals and granting organizations, so that we can grow. Without them, we won't be able to really take this message across the country. Pray for visibility, favor, and good success!
Send your praises and requests to the Wheatstone staff by replying to this email!
I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!