A Hundred Nails in Your Tire?
9 I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
10 For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth. (Psalm 57:9-11)
Sometimes we all feel like the service station guy who is the subject of one of those little "true life experience" blurbs at the bottom of the page of Reader Digest.
Shortly after I moved from Alaska to California, one of my studded snow tires went flat. The service-station attendant took one long look, shook his head and said, 'Mister, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’ve got over a hundred nails in your tire!
Some days your life can feel like your tire has gone flat, and then some days it feels more like you have a hundred nails in it. Life can be stressful, tense, difficult and trying... and those are the good days. Sometimes we just feel totally overwhelmed. Just like David was in our reading from Psalm 57.
Read verse 4 and you think David is in the jungle surrounded by wild beasts. Read verse 6 and you think David is on the battlefield surrounded by enemies. But read verse 5 and you think David is in church! What gives? David is having a really, really bad day. The superscription suggests that he wrote this while in a cave hiding from Saul. His enemies were literally closing in around him, and so David cries out to God. (We assume David writes the Psalm later while reflecting back on the case; crying out either in fear or worship is not recommended for those hiding out in caves!)
But something happens on the way to David's lament; his desperate cry for help becomes a deliberate cry of worship. What David needed at this difficult time of life was to know that God was near. And the way that we feel the nearness of God was through worship. So David the persecuted becomes David the worshipper. He first makes the decision to praise (verses 7-8) and then gives himself to praise (verses 9-11).
One thing is clear. David would not have understood the well-intentioned but wrong-headed notion that we sometimes express in our announcements or prayer that in order to really worship, we must "leave behind the cares and concerns of this world." Last Sunday, we even sang, "Lay your burden down, every care you carry..." Do we have to do that before we can worship? David didn't. He rather brought his cares and concerns to God and praised God despite them and because of them. His need for God because of those burdens drove him to praise God. Worship for David was the conduit that brought him into God's presence for healing and comfort. Maybe there is a lesson there for us. Has you life suffered a flat tire? Praise God!