Steve and I went to Deer Ridge Ministries! Investigate @ http://www.drmretreats.org . Yes, we did see lots of deer. Of all the pastoral retreats I’ve attended, this one had the best combination of people and books.
So, if you know me, you know that time with God results in lyrics and songs. On Thursday morning, I was diving into Isaiah 5:7 within my NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible. (Thank you so very much, Dr. John H. Walton & Dr. Craig S. Keener!) The untold hours you spent in creating this study Bible has blessed me repeatedly.
Isaiah 5:7 says, “The people of the LORD Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.”
On the page after Isaiah 5:7 is listed, there is an inset box called “Wordplay”. It says that in Hebrew, justice = mishpat. Bloodshed = mishpah. (Here one substituted letter changes a word from good to evil. The word started off right and veered off course.) Righteousness = tsedaqa. Cries of distress = tseaqa. (In this instance, one tiny, deleted letter causes a word to transform from good to evil.) I physically wrote these words out on my yellow legal Member’s Mark Quality Guaranteed paper in green ink.
The difference between a good cop and a bad cop is what is in their hearts. The difference between a good pastor and a bad pastor is also what is in their hearts. One tiny moral or practical substitution or deletion can make quite a difference. But the key to this verse is the fact that God delights in us. If we reciprocate that delight, we can be certain that our motives and actions will result in good things.
Naturally, this rumination led to lyrics and tunes. So I hurried to the available piano, with my yellow pad prepared with blank scores. Irregular treble clefs caused some chagrin. (Why couldn’t I have extreme control of fine muscles the way graphic artists do?)
In the process of walking from the piano through the kitchen back to our suite to get something, another pastor’s wife from Indiana, named Julie, came into the kitchen. We talked. I showed her this wonderful study Bible. I explained what I had discovered: a single letter can change everything from good to evil.
She pointed out the fact that a tiny adjustment within a person can lead them from evil to goodness. (It really is a simple thing to say to God, “I am so sorry for all my evil thoughts and actions.” While this is a revolutionary thing to pray, it is very simple to do. Even a very young child can pray this prayer. A seismic shift then occurs in that child’s life.)
Two different lyrics and songs emerged from this verse. So I got home and attempted to use my MacBook Pro’s numbers feature to consolidate the songs into a less erratic version than what my pen can create. Using a numbers spreadsheet, it is possible to create the scores with the words correctly spaced out below the bold lines , while the notes can be precisely spaced within the F-A-C-E spaces. However, Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge is problematic in numbers; because one is only permitted to write within the cells, and one is not permitted to write upon the lines of each cell. Therefore, I concocted this cumbersome and time-consuming code today:
|q q q = quarter notes: line, space, line
|Qr=quarter rest; Er=eighth rest; Hr=half rest
I have concluded that it would be a better use of time to retrieve my keyboard from the church. (This month, I get to teach fourth graders about friendship & music.) Then I need to play these songs over and over by ear and using legal pad penned scores, until these songs are ready for me to buy some type of selfie stick; so that others can hear these songs played and sung. (As I was praying last year about 2018’s goals, God specifically told me to improve my musical performance skills, rather than to purchase a program like Print Finale.) So, if I truly want to delight in the LORD, those will be some of my next steps.