I had to take this photo yesterday. It was stinking hot outside. 36 celsius is over 100 Fahrenheit. And it's only November. Early November at that! What does the summer plan to bring us? No matter what it was a tough day to be outside, not only to walk around and do anything.
The one phrase that kept popping into my mind while near Windsor this afternoon was "the fever heat of summer." Is that something from Shakespeare? From Milton? Dante, of course. Nope, it was none of those. It was written by a man named David. And he well knew something about summer heat. He lives in Israel. In summer and winter and all year at times.
The occasion for his writing this poem (named Psalm 32) is not known. But we do know some things about David's life and his religious practices. He wrote a similar poem in Psalm 51 after being caught out in an adulterous affair with his neighbour. This psalm is another penitential poem which might have been written at the same time.
David is pensive and deep in thought. He's pondering his options and comes up with only one which matters. He humbles himself and asks God to forgive him for whatever sin he had committed. But before he asks, he defines his feelings. They are deep and real. He is pained. He says, "when I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long." The angst is palpable. His pain goes to the kishkes. Then David says, "my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer." I think I get that. Drained vitality is exhausting. The draining I felt all day in the summer heat, even though I had an umbrella and other forms of shade over me, is what David must have experienced that day, or that season.
When your thermometre reaches 33 and above this summer, remember this phrase, and remember your sins, then do what David did. "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!
How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit!
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to Thee, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD”;
And Thou didst forgive the guilt of my sin."
That's it. He wants to forgive us for the sins we commit. Those sins prevent our relationship with Him and with others. The way back is the tough one. It's not easy. It's about admitting our sins and asking God to forgive us, honestly.
Maybe this will be a Pavlovian device for you. Or a catalyst for thinking about God. He really loves us and uses all kinds of circumstances, and people, and events and... to cause us to get in right relationship with Him. It's for our good that we admit such bad. You know? So when the temps rise, and you remember this phrase "the fever heat of summer", use this as a device to cause you to turn to face the Lord and to be part of His forgiven family. Hallelujah, what a saviour!