The Bucket

Part 1 of a 12 part devotion of Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

Psalm 30 has been on my heart for a very long time.  It’s one of the few verses I was drawn to when I embraced Christianity.  Written by King David, Psalm 30 is a song of praise to God during the Dedication of the King’s Palace.  In this Psalm, David both acknowledges how badly life has treated him, both through his personal actions and those events that were no fault of his own.  He also praises God for getting him through those events.

Over the next 12 weeks, I plan on taking us through Psalm 30, verse by verse, adding how they have impacted me.  I hope you will find as much value in reading this as I have in writing them.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.

Psalm 30:1 (ESV)

I try to be smart.  I really try to think before I act.  Sometimes, when there is no pressure around and I have the time to analyze existing data, the answer that will have the best possible outcome for all people involved will present itself in full thought with enough time to implement the action.  The rest of the time, I muddle through with bits and pieces of a half rationed idea that only benefit is to kick the problem down the road to deal with it again at a later date.

As a result of my inept style of thinking, I find myself in a hole of my own making with no clue how I got in so deep and no vision of how to escape this prison of my own ingenuity.

I sometimes brag that I never make the same mistake twice but I can tell you now that statement is also a mistake.  The true Palzewism that is at the core of my being is when I boldly and humbly state before my God and others, “My learning curve is a flat line!”

My Learning Curve is a Flat Line!

Palzewism # 23

I make mistakes! We make mistakes!  We make them daily. We make little ones that no one notices and gargantuan ones that shake our world up.  But God picks us up when we fall, dusts us off, and sets us on our knees.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. Psalm 30:1

The first thing I have learned about God is that my mistakes (sin) cannot outlast his mercy.  Every time I sin, I fall.  And when I fall, God will raise me up again, like a man pulling water up from a well in a bucket.  He will EXTOL me, which means to be drawn out or set free.  This is why he is worthy of my praise!

God has given me the ability to choose.  Every action of every day is a choice.  That choice is the same one we all have.  The choice?  To follow or not!  Every action of my life falls into these two simple categories.  Given a choice, will I follow God or my own selfish desires?

Being a special education teacher, I know how powerful choices can be for people.  In one of my first classes, my professor gave us all a copy of a poem called the “Dignity of Risk”, a collection of choices that a mother wishes her son with disabilities would have in his life.

The Dignity of Risk

(Wriiten by a parent whose son is in a supported work program in Richmond, VA)

What if you never got to make a mistake? What if your money was always kept in an envelope where you couldn’t get it? What if you were never given a chance to do well at something? What if you were always treated like a child? What if your only chance to be with people different from you was with your own family? What if the job you did was not useful? What if you never got to make a decision? What if the only risky thing you could do was to act out? What if you couldn’t go outside because the last time you went it rained? What if you took the wrong bus once and now you can’t take another one? What if you got into trouble and were sent away and you couldn’t come back because they always remember your “trouble”? What if you worked and got paid $.46 an hour? What if you had to wear your winter coat when it rained because it was all you had? What if you had no privacy? What if you could do part of the grocery shopping but weren’t allowed to do any because you weren’t able to do all of the shopping? What if you spent three hours every day just waiting? What if you grew old and never knew adulthood? What if you never got a chance?

From Changing Expectations/Planning for the Future: A Parent Advocacy Manual, Dorothy Sauber, published by Association For Retarded Citizens Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. 10/89

Everyone, even those with disabilities, would rather have the option of making a wrong choice versus never get to make a choice at all.  Life is about choices, that is the way God created us.  He wants us to choose him, to come to an understanding, deep in our core, that we can not do anything without him!  He is our very breath!  He has provided food, clothing, shelter, and numerous other gifts that are beyond our realm of comprehension.  Science daily shows us intricacies of an ecosystem in which every component is vital to our survival, from the tilt of the earth’s axis to the vital roles of honeybees!

For the most part, we are oblivious to God’s gifts.  We take them for granted since they have always been there and there is no reason to assume that they will stop.  Have you ever thanked God for that lungful of air?  Maybe after a situation where you were unsure you were going to be able to take another one but honestly, we don’t think about a simple breath as praiseworthy.  Have you thanked God for ozone, photosynthesis, and a billion other “systems” in place in our environment designed for one single purpose, to protect life? Have you ever thanked God in the middle of a traffic jam that you have a car that runs?

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. Psalm 30:1

God has drawn me up, like a bucket from a well.  I did not help.  It wasn’t even my idea.  I was lying at the bottom of the well, simply waiting to be put to use.  I saw no purpose sitting in the cold water.  I had no idea what was happening when the rope was pulled and I began to rise.  I was afraid at first.  The water was all I knew.  This was different and felt wrong.  Feelings changed the higher I went. I forgot about the cold and damp. I enjoyed the warm, dry air.  The light made my eyes hurt at first, but made me vow never to return to the darkness.  I am better off by far being out of that cold and damp well, where I had spent so much time.  I now know the beauty and majesty of being “drawn up”, using my talents and gifts to benefit God and his Kingdom.  My simple act will refresh others and inspire them to act themselves when they hear my story of how God has drawn me up.

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. Psalm 30:1

I’m not sure if I have any foes but I do know what it is like when some people inwardly root against your efforts.  Most times those people are the ones that are called to do something themselves but were afraid to answer.  Not only do they ignore the call, but they might also even go out of their way to discourage others from pursuing it as well.  Imagine telling the bucket in the well that he is wasting his time?  No matter how many trips he makes to the bottom to gather that water, it will never satisfy everyone’s thirst.  

All my life, my biggest foe has been myself.  I am my worst enemy, most vocal critic and, least likely to forgive my mistakes.  I will beat myself up over errors made on previous occasions and tear myself down in response to the slightest infraction of behavior.  I know that God has forgiven me but I feel like I must hold onto those sins, tightly, in order to avoid them down the road.  Fortunately for me, God does not let my enemies win when they are against me and that includes myself.

We make mistakes.  We make them daily. We make little ones that no one notices and gargantuan ones that shake our world up.  But God picks us up when we fall, dusts us off, and sets us on our knees. 


Questions (although these are meant to engage you in personal reflection, feel free to share your answers with others if you wish)

  1. I often say that “My learning curve is a flat line”.  In what ways do you feel that way?
  2. Name 3 things right now that you have never thanked God for giving or keeping away from you.
  3. Have you ever shared with someone how God has “drawn you up”?
  4. What do we have to do to get rid of our foes, especially the one that lives inside us?
  5. Why is risk dignified and why did God design us that way?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for drawing me up!  Thank you for silencing my enemies, especially me internal one!  I will EXOL you everyday of my life and for the rest of eternity after my time on earth.  Thank you for your son, Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection made my mistakes irrelevant. Amen.

Join me next week for thoughts on Psalm 30 verse 2 “O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.”

I thank you for reading my blog and look forward to any comments or criticism of what I have discussed.

If these words have impacted you, please feel free to share them by email or any social media platform.


You Turned My Mourning Into Dancing!”, my book, is available for purchase here.

1 thought on “The Bucket

  1. holytreasurehunter June 11, 2020 — 9:56 am

    Greetings Ken! I really enjoyed this post, I found it challenging. Your writing style is easy on the eye and very disarming. This requires further reading for sure. God bless you and your pen brother.

    Like

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