Psalm 9 has presented a few challenges. Psalm 8 was great.
I've found the joys of Psalm 8 to be mirrored by the challenges of Psalm 9 in a couple ways. First, the familiarity of words. Second, the familiarity and comfort of the content.
Psalm 8 is a Psalm I've known and loved for a while. It paints a beautiful picture of God as Creature and humanity as his representatives here on earth, charged with the stewardship of his creation. We look with wonder at the heavens, wonder who we are that we should be known by God, then move into an experience of being charged by the God of the universe to care for his creation. Finally, we wrap it up by turning our eyes in awe to God once again.
I already knew the language and I liked the content and substance of what it had to say.
But right after Psalm 8 comes Psalm 9. This was a different experience on both counts. I didn't know the words and phrases; they just weren't as familiar. I haven't sung songs based on them or scene inspiration pictures captioned with the words, "The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins; their cities you rooted out; the very memory of them has perished."
It's like Psalm 7 before it, "Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me." These aren't ideas I'm used to expressing before God. I might think them in my heart. I mean, which of us isn't an expert at self-justification and seeing our own actions, words, and motives as pure? But we know that when we go to church or address God, a little more humility is expected. Yet the Psalmist is bold.
This has given me pause. Literally. It's take a lot longer to memorize and inwardly digest these words.
I know there are some familiar Psalms on the horizon, and I look forward to checking them off the list. But I'm learning to see the value in wrestling with the parts of Scripture that don't sound like they should; that is, God's Word still surprises me and doesn't always neatly fit into the categories I bring to the table.
This is part of my formation as a reader and a believer. May God's Spirit shape me and show me Jesus even in the unexpected places. Amen.