Tehillim Fifty-Five: Wandering

The context of this chapter is that the psalmist is being pursued and threatened by an enemy, and is seeking God’s help, protection, and comfort. I recognize that I’m therefore taking the verse that appealed to me out of its context as part of a desire to escape the enemy, but the verse stood so well on its own that I wanted to make note of it. “Behold I would wander far away; I would lodge in the desert forever (Psalms 55:8).” There’s a beautiful imagery in this verse, particularly as it invokes the desert as the place where the narrator would escape to if given the chance. Wandering evokes some interesting pictures and emotions. Is wandering movement without a plan? Or is it more deliberate, with goals other than a destination or straight path in mind? I’m sure each of us has a different and unique ‘happy place’ that we’d go to, either physically or in our minds and hearts, if given the chance. The desert isn’t mine – I’m more of a mountains and water kind of girl – but I can appreciate the stark, lonely beauty that it also brings. The desert is where the Jewish people and nation were forged, so I can’t blame the psalmist for wanting to go back to it as a place where transformation happens.

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