This verse caught my eye, in part, because Jesus quotes the first part of it from the cross. In Luke 23:46, Jesus cries out from the cross, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” I am fascinated by the part of the verse that follows and what the implications might have been when God incarnate quotes a verse that everyone in the crowd around Him had probably heard dozens of times. A current events equivalent might be the Disney songs “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” or “Let It Go.” It’s not that American society has made any special effort to learn those songs, but that we have heard them almost literally everywhere for months. Likewise, the people surrounding the crucifixion had been read this psalm dozens of times in their life. Since the psalms are more or less the hymnal of the Jewish faith, it would stand to reason that the folks present at the crucifixion heard Jesus’ words and mentally sang the next part.
Why is this even important? Because the next part is this: You have ransomed me, O LORD, God of truth. and Jesus’ death is our ransom. Like those present at the crucifixion, I’ve read over this verse dozens of times. And it only just occurred to me that Jesus said the first part from the cross and left out the second part. There is an element in music and rhetoric and … well, all over the place, known as call and response. I say the first part of something and another person finishes the phrase. In music, one instrument plays a phrase and another instrument repeats or repeats with variation or finishes the phrase. What those people who mentally completed this verse did was to express what was happening on the cross in front of them. Jesus’ death is our ransom and Jesus’ cry from the cross brought that idea to the forefront of some of the minds present at Jesus’ crucifixion.
While that is a really neat thought to start my day with, it doesn’t really lend itself to application in my own life. Except that it does.
The verse itself is David committing his spirit to God’s care. Have I done so? Have I placed my spirit; my eternity into God’s keeping? If so, then I am in great shape. If not, then I had best do so. The verse is also David thinking on God ransoming him. Even in the modern world, we understand the concept of ransom. Someone is held hostage; captive by a hostile force and those who love that person must rescue or ransom the hostages. Rescues are generally in violation of just about every law any country has on the books, and God obeys His own Law, but His Law allows Him to pay the ransom if He so chooses. And He does so choose. My ransom is paid. It then remains for me to walk out of my prison and into the arms of He Who paid to set me free. I need to be reminded and keep before my mind the reality that this is the essence of my salvation. I was a hostage of sin and God paid the ransom to set me free. The door is open. The guards are gone. I need only walk out into God’s arms to be free. And I did.
That brings me to how I intend to apply this in the fuller context of a call and response. Sometimes, I hear the beginning of a verse or a part of a verse as I’m going about my day. It might behoove me to take a moment and consider whether or not what I am hearing might not be a call and warrant a response. Obviously, not every voice is going to be the LORD and Satan can misquote scripture and make it sound stunningly like the truth. But am I listening to those potential calls and considering what the response would be against the sum total of The Bible? If not, why not? God has spoken to people through visions, dreams, prophecies, scripture, and talking donkeys. Why do I presume that He has stopped squirreling away messages throughout His world for His children, of whom I am one? God never claimed to be done talking with me. Quite the opposite. Am I listening? The crowds around the cross might have been. Some of those who heard, I am certain, went home wondering if this notion that what had just happened was not an execution, but an atonement was truth. I am certain that some of them mulled it over and that some reached the conclusion that Jesus had made final atonement on that cross for them. I am equally certain that some dismissed the whole thing and did not consider it further than marking it as a passing thought.
Lord, let me be one of those who hears and considers. What I hear may not be You, and that is a valid conclusion to reach. But to hear and dismiss without consideration means, I think, that I will cease to know Your voice as time goes by. I will not have stopped to weigh what I have heard and realize that You spoke. You called Your Word in me to respond and it did. Let me consider and evaluate and please give me the discernment to know what is Your voice calling Your Word in me and what is our enemy conjuring lies.