Seventh letter of the Hebrew Alephbeth
There are basically two kinds of songs, happy ones and sad ones. Almost every song can at some point come under one of those broad, flexible categories. Happy songs are the ones you can dance to, hum along with on a sunny day with the windows down and the wind in your face, sing over and over again at birthday parties and Sunday School. Sad songs are the ones that move you, change you, grab you by the throat and confront you, bring to life what is laid buried under unspeakable words.
This psalmist is going through a bad time - and bad times are great times for writing sad songs that endure. He is writing a sad psalm, of bad people doing bad things to him and those he cares about in his neighborhood. He is at a loss at what to do with the bad people. Not that he is just laying down and letting bad people do bad things to innocent people, but he deeply feels the pain they inflict on him and others. It really really bothers him that they get away with bad stuff, especially when he works so hard to do what God commands, instructions and decrees for the blessing of the nation and all the world.
He writes: "Indignation grips me because of the wicked, who have forsaken your law." Wherever he goes, he sees powerless people reduced, selfish people prospering. With the pain that his eyes endure, he sighs: "Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge." I like that...no matter where he goes, no matter what he sees, no matter what he endures, he will sing...he will not let bad people and bad circumstances crush his soul. He will sing in pain, sing a song that endures, a song that grips a man and confronts his mind and heart. And what fuels his song? God's decrees, his instructions for how to live a blessed, good, righteous life that brings about blessings, goodness and righteousness for all people and creation.
What a song...
What's fueling your sad song?
"My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life."