My church has a list of daily Scripture readings for every day of the year. It’s a common thing in Christianity. Followers of Jesus have been doing it for centuries. The readings will generally be a Psalm or two, an Old Testament reading, and a New Testament reading every day.
I decided since it’s a new month and I want a new heart, it’s time to start a new practice.
I got 1/10 of the way through the first reading and thought, this sucks. Whoever wrote this (probably David) lived in a completely different culture and time than me. It just doesn’t connect. So it got me thinking…
Can I write my own Scripture? (cue lightning bolt)
Seriously. If the Psalms don’t work for me, can’t I just write my own?
What if God is not only after those who quickly say, “Sir, yes sir!”
Even though this Drill Sergeant is stronger by far than anything the mighty U.S. Army has ever seen.
In the army if a cadet in training falls out of line or asks questions, he must face the wrath of a hard Sergeant. And how much more deserving of wrath is a man who dares to question the Sergeant of Sergeants, who turns mountains to wax?
If the penalty is to melt, then here am I, Lord, incinerate me. What can I do?
But if I can be so bold, is it possible that the Mountain God is in search of a few less Yes Men and a few more wrestling matches?
Is it possible that the Sergeant of Sergeants appreciates, respects, and dare I say even enjoys a bit of a wrassle? Could it be that if God wanted to lay you bare and flatten you without blinking his Pacific Ocean sized eye, then you would be toast?
But what if you stood your ground?
What if you were so bold as your spiritual ancestor Jacob, whose desires were strong, who didn’t quickly acquiesce and say “Yes Sir, whatever you want,” but said instead, “I’m not going anywhere until you give me what I want.”
But I can’t help but notice the humility even in the audacity. He recognizes the divine being’s ability and power to bless him. You don’t go to a homeless person and ask him to bless you, right? You go to a king’s palace. You go to someone greater than you, with more resources than you. Asking for a blessing is a humble thing, not a braggadocios thing.
So write your own Psalm. Have the audacity to do that.
The 150 psalms we have are here to stay. They’re not going to be replaced. They will continue being the Jewish and Christian psalms forever. I’m not saying let’s write Psalm 151 and 152 and include them in the canon.
But I am saying, embedded into the Scripture, in fact, one of the psalms, is the admonition:
Sing to the Lord a new song!
John Piper takes this further and adds (John Piper adds to Scripture?) — “sing to the Lord a new song, or picture, or poem, or figure of speech.”
The 150 psalms in the Bible are Israel’s songs, written for Israel, in an ancient context. They deal with kings, thrones, Zion, donkeys.
We need local psalms/songs. So write a Michigan Psalm. Or Iowa Psalm. Or New York. God was doing things in Israel thousands of years ago and the people of God wrote about it. God is doing things in Illinois this week. Why not write about it?
For old time’s (all time?) sake: Psalm 66 —
Take a good look at God’s wonders— they’ll take your breath away. He converted sea to dry land; travelers crossed the river on foot. Now isn’t that cause for a song?
Yeah, that is cause for a song! And so is the God-stuff in 2018, even if it is something like, “Hello?! Where the hell did you go?”