I flop down on my bed, open my Bible, and start to read. Psalm 40 is today’s reading in my journey through the Psalter. I know this one. U2 made a song out of it.
Then I get to verse four:
“Blessed are those who make the Lord their trust,
who do not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie.”
I read it again. Interesting. “The proud” are described as people who follow a lie. I don’t think of pride this way. I think of pride as an attitude, as arrogance, conceited independence, cockiness that thumbs its nose at God.
But the Psalmist says the proud are those who follow a lie. I wonder what the lie is?
I stare out the window, at a crow sitting on the electric wire.
I wonder if the lie is anything that makes a person go astray, if pride is simply that: following something or someone, even (maybe especially?) yourself, instead of God. Not out of ignorance; that can’t be pride. But what if you follow the lie out of a hope or desire that it provides an easier, surer, more fun way to happiness?
I wonder if underlying all my straying is a basic lack of trust, a perverse sort of pride that thinks I’m better off without God, or at least better off if I don’t wholly trust God, if I keep my eggs in more than one basket.
But the Psalmist says clearly—and not just here, but many times in many places—that those who trust in the Lord are the blessed ones. And that word blessed can also be translated…”happy.”
The crow flaps up and away, into a cedar behind the neighbor’s house. I think of Jane’s bedtime blessing, which echoes the Psalmist:
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:7)
Blessed. Happy. Those who trust. This life—it’s an exercise in faith.
“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)
The crow lifts off the cedar and flaps into the air, then glides in a circle, riding a thermal I cannot see.