Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Friendship Counseling, Part 3

David Powlison @ http://www.boundless.org continues his series on friendship counseling. He notes:

An Example from the Psalms

Psalm 57

    1 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge.
    In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
    2 I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
    3 He will send from heaven and save me;
    he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
    God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
    4 My soul is in the midst of lions.
    I lie down amid fiery beasts —
    the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.
    5 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!
    6 They set a net for my steps;
    my soul was bowed down.
    They dug a pit in my way,
    but they have fallen into it themselves.
    7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!
    I will sing and make melody!
    8 Awake, my glory!
    Awake, O harp and lyre!
    I will awake the dawn!
    9 I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
    I will sing praises to you among the nations.
    10 For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
    your faithfulness to the clouds.
    11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
    Let your glory be over all the earth!

the triangulation:

my God
what I'm facing
I connect my God
and my struggle
what it means
to grow up
into Jesus Christ

He examines each part of that triangulation.

First, notice all that David says about God (verses 1, 2, 3, 10). Notice how active God is, and how directly relevant. David mentions the God he exactly needs, who will precisely map onto his struggle. He asks for what he knows God to be, for what God has revealed of Himself and promised.

  • God is merciful to me.
  • God is my refuge.
  • God hears my cry.
  • God has a purpose for me, and will fulfill that purpose.
  • God will personally send help to save me.
  • God will shame those who hurt me.
  • God will send his steadfast and faithful love directly into what's going on.
  • God's steadfast love and faithfulness overarch and fill everything.

Second, notice the personal struggle (verses 1, 3, 4, 6). The psalm captures what David is facing. He vividly expresses his experience of danger. He intends to evoke something of that experience in us, helping us draw a link from what he faced to what we are facing.

  • He faces a storm of destruction, of people out to hurt him.
  • He feels like people are walking all over him.
  • He feels like he's caught and helpless in the midst of lions.
  • He feels like he's lying on the ground, powerless amid fire-breathing predators.
  • He feels assaulted by violent killers — not literally, but it's what people are saying to him and saying about him.
  • He feels like any step he takes, he might fall into a trap, because these people are out to get him.
  • He feels so heavy-hearted, weighed down and preoccupied by all these troubles.
Third, notice the connect, the triangulation that brings life. David brings his situation (Question 1) to his God (Question 2). We've got a transcription of the live broadcast. He asks for mercy. He takes refuge. He cries out for help.

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