We all know that feeling of waking up in the morning. You’re moving slowly. Your head is swimming in a fog. Your brain isn’t ready to think until you drink your coffee or take a shower. You could use a jolt of energy. You need energized.
I like how David, in the book of Psalms, relates the experience of waking up to make a powerful point.
Psalm 57:8 Awake, my glory! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn!
Sometimes Scripture refers to someone’s soul as their glory (cf. Gen 49:6; Psa 30:13; 108:1). David is energizing his own soul—his inner being. He’s telling it to wake up from deep inside. No more sleeping. No more inactivity. And, next, he orders the musical instruments—harp and lyre—they need to wake up too. It’s time to get to work. There’s something to do. And then, in a poetic kind of way, David says he’s going to wake up the dawn. Normally it’s the new morning that we wake up to. But it’s as if David wants to bring in the new day with whatever he’s going to be doing.
So what is it? Why all this waking? What’s the hurry? What’s the occasion? What time is it?
It’s time—to worship God. It’s time to praise God.
I was looking at this text because it’s the basis for a song we sing at church. Appropriately titled “Call to Worship,” it’s by Chris Anderson and Richard Nichols. (It’s freely available from Church Works Media.)
It wonderfully echoes David’s call to rouse your soul and musical instruments to praise God with lines such as:
Slumb’ring souls, awake and sing
Psalms to your exalted King.
Wakened souls, an anthem raise:
Sing your sacrifice of praise.
Joyful souls, let song take flight:
Praise the Father, God of light.
So wake up your soul and worship God. Use this song or some other good song to praise the “Father, God of light.”
Image Credit: Wes Hicks on Unsplash
Soul is a difficult and undefinable word in the Scripture. The context of the glory in Genesis 49:6 in the section on Simeon and Levi does not refer to an insubstantial wispy self-concept or whatever the Greeks might have thought. The context is the circumcision and the violence perpetrated after the rape of Dinah. It is rather stark and is more likely to refer to the gift of sex than any idea of soul, particularly in this context, where the sign of the covenant has been used deceptively by Israel to justify violence after the abusive use of sex by Shechem. Glory is thoroughly related to the body in this context. The word for shechem is also the word for backside and rising up early. So there’s a pun the repeated psalm section (60, 108). Also a warning in 127.
With respect to waking in the Psalms, do note the passage in Psalm 139,
I awake (קוץ) and still I am with you.
There are two separate roots here in the Hebrew. Psalms 57 (my translation carefully avoids overlapping stem glosses) has
Be roused (עור) my glory. Be roused O lute and harp. I will rouse the dawn.
עור is a many faceted stem, giving sense to several glosses: skin, arouse, blind, and the animal: a colt or foal.