Posted by: valerieburgess | August 27, 2008

When God Seems Distant, Get Curious

After reading Psalm 16 through once, I told God that I just didn’t get it. And when I don’t get something in the Bible, I lose interest. And when I lose interest, I think it’s because God’s not near me, or He’s not filling me up with His Spirit, or He’s not doing whatever I think He should to make Himself known.


I’ve heard many people say the same thing. God seems so “far away,” so “distant.” I was tempted to dismiss Psalm 16 and just move on to another Psalm. But instead I asked God to help me understand it despite desire to pull away and go another direction.


That was two days ago. This morning my curiosity brought me back to Psalm 16. I again said, “God, I really want to understand it.” I pulled off the shelf a massive volume called The Matthew Henry Commentary which was written a few years before I was born. Suddenly I couldn’t get past the introduction of the Psalm. I was so intrigued by three words, “Michtam of David.” I went searching for my Strong’s Concordance and my Vine’s Dictionary of the Bible.


I discovered that according to these three sources that a “Michtam” was a special teaching poem. It literally meant “an engraving.” Matthew Henry described it as a golden poem. I could just see David writing a poem so strong and beautiful, so full of rich expression of God’s works and His wonders that he had to call it a gold engraving or an etching on our hearts. He recognized the prophetic edge on this poem. He knew it came straight from the heart of God. Yet it was so much a part of him, a part of David’s calling.


I suddenly desired to read the other five Michtam’s in the Bible. In the introductions of these, Psalm 56-60, I saw that at least four were written in response to David’s life being threatened. More to be desired than gold is a message from God, an encouragement engraved on the heart when adversity comes.


Lord, I still don’t understand all of Psalm 16. Reveal more. But thanks for giving a little boredom, a lack of understanding, so that I would attack the understanding of God’s Word with new vigor. Thanks for always being near, even when I’m distant. Amen.



  1. I like what you wrote about getting curious with God when the going gets difficult in the Word. I too must learn to hang on to His word when it is difficult to understand.

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