David T. Lamb

Is the God of the Old Testament…?

Fear, Hope and a Colonoscopy (Psalm 119:43)

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth,
for my hope is in your rules
(Psalm 119:43).

Fear and hope (the colonoscopy comes up at the “end”).  Both emotions are future focused, but are polar opposites.  In its forecast, fear expects bad, while hope anticipate good.  We like to be hopeful, but struggle not to be fearful.

The psalmist is afraid that God is going to leave him totally wordless. (I feel wordless right now, with damaged vocal cords and a mandate to not talk.)  The word the psalmist doesn’t want to be deprived of is true, and from the context of the rest of this psalm it’s clearly God’s word, the source of truth.

But why would God remove his word from the psalmist?  Yes, that’s a good question.  I don’t have a good answer, except perhaps that the psalmist’s fear is irrational, which is often the case for fears.  My fear of permanent vocal cord damage may be irrational, but when one is struggling, it’s hard to think rationally.

How to combat fear?  Hope.  The antidote for fear.  The psalmist hopes in God’s rules.  I’m not sure what this means exactly, but the psalmist clearly sees a connection between these rules and God himself.  Otherwise, why would he keep praying to God?  The entire psalm is one long, 176 verse prayer about God’s word.

While I can’t speak, I am deprived of “the word of Dave”, but I still have easy access to the word of truth.  During my period of forced silence, God’s word has begun to give me hope.

This is the third verse of the sixth section of the psalm, the Vav section, where each verse begins with the Hebrew letter Vav.  The Hebrew conjunction is basically just the letter Vav attached to the beginning of a word, and it is usually translated “and“, but also sometimes “but“, or even “or“; it may be simply untranslated.  Every verse in the Vav section begins with the conjunction Vav, making it the easiest section of the entire psalm to write.

(Due to a colonoscopy on Monday, I fell “behind” on my Psalm 119 blogging this week.  I’ll post images on Facebook soon.)

What are you afraid of (a colonoscopy, perhaps)?  How does God’s word give us hope? 

Image from: http://www.tabletprep.com/colonoscopy/index.aspx

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3 comments on “Fear, Hope and a Colonoscopy (Psalm 119:43)

  1. Stephanie A. Lowery
    September 18, 2012

    Perhaps God removes his word for a time so we learn to properly appreciate it? I think we can learn from silence, certainly, though it’s painful. And I definitely fear colonoscopies, as well as failure in general (in the PhD program in particular!).

  2. David Lamb
    September 18, 2012

    Stephanie, you have a few years to go before your first colonoscopy. I can relate to the fear of failure. Blessings in you PhD work!

  3. Pingback: September: Spring comes to Biblical Blogaria - Sansblogue

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2012 by in Old Testament, Psalm 119, Psalms, Vav and tagged , .

God Behaving Badly

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