David, the historic king of Israel and composer of many psalms, was more like Bob Dylan than a politician or bureaucrat. Take for example these words from Psalms 42:7-8
Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts:
All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.
Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime,
and in the night his song shall be with me,
and my prayer unto the God of my life.
OK—remember this is a translation from the times of Shakespeare, so let’s look at a more modern translation (NIV):
Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me– a prayer to the God of my life.
He proclaims a little earlier: “When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me”
I’ve been making my way through the Psalms and looking up a lot of the Hebrew words, delving into the meanings a little more carefully. I find the words moving, poignant, and deeply profound. And, let’s not forget that these words were set to music. These were songs after all. We all find that words, combined with notes, can carry us to places we would never otherwise be able to reach. Listen to U2’s “40”, based on Psalms 40. It’s a powerful thing to be in a stadium with 60,000 other people singing that song.
Today—I extend my public thanks to King David—a flawed man with high hopes—who craved a woman and then redemption more than life itself. Perhaps the Psalms resonate with so many people because they are a mirror David left us to gaze into.
I end with these words from my fellow Minnesotan, Bob Dylan:
I can hear the turning of the key
I’ve been deceived by the clown inside of me.
I thought that he was righteous but he’s vain
Oh, something’s a-telling me I wear the ball and chain.
My patron saint is a-fighting with a ghost
He’s always off somewhere when I need him most.
The Spanish moon is rising on the hill
But my heart is a-tellin’ me I love ya still.