Writing Our Own Michtam

by Terri Gillespie

In a day when I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. Psalm 56:4 TLV

Today’s verse is categorized by David as a michtam. In Hebrew, a michtam is a special type of psalm. The word is only used 6 times by David and generally recounts his scariest experiences, where his life was in immediate peril and only a miraculous intervention by God could save him.

That oh-so-important context truly deepens the meaning of today’s verse. David shares how he felt when captured by the Philistines — his old enemies. Even in his fear, David goes back to what he knows. Worship. This reminds us of a simple, but important truth.

We can cower in our fear and be paralyzed or take those fears to our Heavenly Father. Maybe it’s time to shed our need-to-appear-holy masks and be real. 

No matter what our circumstances, our Father isn’t intimidated by our emotions — He gave them to us. He just wants us to bring them to Him and not try to hide them. Joy. Fear. Anger. Doubt. Pain.

You have recorded my wanderings. You put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? (Psalm 56:9 TLV)

Abba knows we are dust (Psalm 103:14), He knows everything that causes us pain. I think sometimes, we try to hide our pain because we think God will be disappointed in us. Or people will think our faith is weak. We aren’t strong enough. Didn’t have enough faith. Or GOD isn’t strong enough.

David lays it all out there: expresses the pain and doubt and anger. Then, what does he do? He goes back to what he knows. His vows (vs. 13) and his experiences of God’s deliverance in the past (vs. 14), so that he can say — in his pain and fear — these words:

In God—I keep praising His word—in God I trust, I will not fear. What can mere flesh do to me? (v. 5)

He repeats this statement of faith later (v. 10-12), with more enthusiasm.

I wonder. Since most of us aren’t being chased by Philistines or threatened by real giants, what would our michtam look like? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I’m being chased by a hoard of troubles. Can we take that fear and uncertainty and turn it into worship? Write our own michtam?

I am afraid and feel abandoned by those around me, Abba! They taunt me, and it makes me angry. I feel betrayed. There’s nothing I can do! Yet there is! God, I praise You! I trust You! So, I don’t have to fear. Flesh can torment me, but my spirit is Yours for eternity.” –a Michtam of Terri, when she was afraid of the pain in her body and the disappointment of others.

Let’s not be captured by the scary “giant” but take our fear and pain to our Heavenly Father, turning it to worship. At least, let’s try. And keep trying. Because the more we try, the easier it will be to pause and “write” our michtam.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, because of His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, released in October. https://authorterrigillespie.com/terri-gillespie-books/sweet-rivalry/

Sweet Rivalry is the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart again?

Join the conversation: Can you try writing a psalm or michtam of your own today? I would be honored if you will share it.


3 thoughts on “Writing Our Own Michtam

  1. Terri – I love that you shared this lesson about “michtam.” G-d has stirred up a desire to learn anything I can about our Jewish roots. I have been reading Rabbi Sobel’s books and watching his videos, along with downloading the Tree of Life Bible and gleaning everything I can there. Thank you for sharing this lesson on the Psalms and the challenge to write my own “michtam” when I am overwrought or overwhelmed in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your kind comments. Jason is an incredible force for understanding the Biblical roots of our faith. And, by the way, I was a managing editor of the TANAKH (Old Testament) for the TLV. And I pray that you will write many michtam.

    Liked by 1 person

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