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Singing Psalm 60 for a joyous surprise

Your joyous surprise is found at the bottom of the horseshoe of your journey so shaped. It is there of all places, when you hit rock bottom, lost and rejected, that you find hope.

Restoration is a joyous surprise because it is so unexpected, so completely opposite of what I deserve. All it took was a suggestion to veer off of God’s ways. Any conviction I might have had to resist was empowered by self and quickly melted like a scoop of ice cream left out in the summer sun.

“O God, You have rejected us,

    And broken us once more.

As You’ve been angry with us all;

    O once again restore!”  ~ Psalm 60:1

Singing Psalm 60 for a joyous surprise of change

Since the Holy Spirit informs each one of your prayers, it is no wonder that it can feel dry and lifeless when praying through a prayer that someone else has written. God intends for your time with him to be a joyous surprise, a rich exchange. He doesn’t ever want time with you to be dry and rote but rather can be likened to lovers who engage in intimate communication. It is a joyous surprise that opens up the depths of who each person is such that each can’t get enough of knowing the other. They seek one another out to learn more and more about the other. The Lord extends his goodness so that what you think, say, and do is done for him with your whole heart. His love spills out of all that you do yielding one joyous surprise after another even with suffering, pain, sorrow, and hurt intermixed as you strive to love others as he loves you.

I grew up thinking of God on the periphery, the fringes of my life, muted somewhere in the background — and that I had the central controls. He was there only to bless what I wanted to do, but how would that be possible when I compromised my convictions and became the kind of person I could only be ashamed of? Then, something changed. The switch had slowly, over time, somehow flipped. I went from anxiously independent to freely dependent. God is on his throne, and I gladly stepped aside to welcome him to the throne of my life. It was clear that I don’t belong on that throne since all I did was mess it up. He belongs there, majestic and wise to rule perfectly, yet humble and lowly, willing to clean up the mess I had made. That he is willing and able to do this for all his people puts him in a category all his own.

Zacchaeus must’ve felt the sting of being at the bottom of the J-shaped horseshoe of his life. His sins had moved him to apprehend God‘s rejection of his life’s walk. Zacchaeus’ conscience and Jesus’ reputation for compassion were both good friends to Zacchaeus, and he put himself out to see Jesus through his own internal darkness.

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” ~ Luke 19:5

For most of his life prior to this point, Zacchaeus pushed thoughts of God aside to the periphery.

Although you are his own, you might be pushing the Lord aside for the time being. Judas did not take his inner darkness to the Lord Jesus for mercy but rejected it. He lost all hope and in his despair, took his own life. But you are in for a joyous surprise. Has he moved you to seek him? Has he replaced your idols, taken hold of the rudder of your ship and steered it exactly where he wants it to go? When this happens, you praise God, even for the stink and sting of your sin that drove and drew you to himself. You were chosen and are blessed beyond measure.

And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and found.’’ ~ Luke 15:31-32

Singing Psalm 60 for a joyous surprise of victory

And Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid or dismayed; be strong and courageous. For thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.” ~ Joshua 10:25

Your enemies, the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, are no match for the Lord your God. Indeed, be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed.

He redeems your shallow motives when you do the right thing just to stay out of trouble and turns you into a steadfast soul who trusts that God’s purposes will prevail even through multiple times when God seems hidden. When he seems to have rejected you more than once, you wait with faith in his everlasting love, his enduring compassion, his loving, Fatherly hand in every trial. You anticipate his deliverance. You stand rejected but not forever. You have experienced his compassion and know that he has not forgotten you.

“But have not You Yourself, O God,

    Rejected us once more?

And will You not stand up, O God,

    To go with us to war?” ~ Psalm 60:10

When God sees his own deceived by the enemy and moving toward destruction, God’s rejection, breaking, and anger that ensue are borne from true love which leads to the turning and restoration of intimate, affectionate relationship. By giving you the gift of repentance, the Lord takes on the devil’s bold-faced lies, that God doesn’t care for you and is somehow threatened by you, full force.

“And You have made the people know

    The hardness of distress;

And You have made them drink the wine

    Of reeling drunkenness.” ~ Psalm 60:3

When you sense God’s distance and move to draw near, you are in for a joyous surprise. After being dragged through the mud by your sin, you are washed and made clean. Redeemed from “you do [what pleases] you,” your new aim is “you do what pleases the Lord.”

“A banner You have given those

    Who look to You with fear;

Let it before us be unfurled,

    And so let truth appear.” ~ Psalm 60:4

In verses six through nine of Psalm 60, the Lord gives specific details from the throne of Judah regarding nations outside of Israel that, next to God‘s holiness, are found wanting. Outside of turning to God’s ways, their destiny is destruction. The joyous surprise of victory is that it is from this destruction that God is able and willing to save and protect you.

Singing Psalm 60 for a joyous surprise of restoration

“O grant that those You’ve dearly loved

    May all delivered be;

Save them with Your strong right hand,

    And answer give to me.” ~ Psalm 60:5

The Lord turned Judah from a deceptive, heartless, murderous creature to an honest, caring, gentle, lowly, selfless servant. Transformed Judah is a joyous surprise, a foreshadow of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who entered into the world from none other than the tribe of Judah, in the line of Judah. Indeed, he is the Lion of Judah:

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” ~ Revelation 5:5

 “And Judah is My throne.” – Psalm 60:7b

The Lord Jesus is indeed the King of the Jews, the King of kings, the rightful King of the world and over all that is in it–the greatest, most joyous surprise!

The Lord Jesus has given you the psalms to sing as a joyous surprise in moving your mind and heart to make distinctions, like he did for Judah, toward a close friendship and an intimate affection for God who is Father, Son, and Spirit. Sing the psalms to knit your heart to God’s, toward an intentional emotional connection with him who is holy where he becomes your heart’s desire. Sing the psalms as his hidden footprints lead you to engage in the moment-by-moment process of seeking him, learning him, trusting him, and following him. Sing the psalms to ready your heart to receive the Lord Jesus, the bridge of connection to friendship with the Lord your God, and by extension, the only way to enjoy friendships with one another. In God alone, you find everlasting pleasure and true love.

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” ~ Luke 19:41-42

Instability and idolatry are replaced by clarity, truth, faithfulness, and in anticipation of the Lord’s compassion moving toward you, you turn to him and a joyous surprise of restoration awaits you. Despite the separation created by your sin that caused him to reject you, the Lord Jesus is once more fighting for you who are his. Zacchaeus wasted no time accepting this joyous surprise from the Lord Jesus whose presence would defeat the inner demons of pride and greed that kept Zacchaeus in bondage for years.

“So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully.” ~ Luke 19:6

Singing the psalms, and especially Psalm 60, affords you the opportunity to ponder God’s epic story of creation, fall, and redemption and to glorify and enjoy him over it forever. You ask the Lord to place you in a seeking state that you would see, by faith in Jesus, that all things will be turned right at just the right time. You watch, pray, rest, and wait for it in the peace of Christ as he holds you close in heart until, by the work of the Holy Spirit, your faith becomes sight. It inevitably occurs to you as a joyous surprise that all along it was Jesus seeking you.

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” ~ Luke 19:9-10

“Give help against the enemy,

    No help does man bestow.

With God we will do valiantly;

    He tramples down our foes.” ~ Psalm 60:11-12

March 28 – April 5, 2024


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