I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doing; I muse on the work of Your hands Psalm 143:5
Muse – If you want to see the primary meaning of this word, you’ll have to look at the Bible’s longest complaint – the book of Job. Job 7:11 says, “Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth. I will speak in the anguish of my spirit. I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” Job uses the verb siyach. He refuses to remain passively silent while his world falls apart. In spite of his profession of obedience, he has reached the breaking point. Now he wants to know, “Why, God?”
How does a word like this get into the language of prayer? Isn’t prayer supposed to honor God, glorify Him, trust in Him and accept what God decides? With the background of siyach in Job’s accusation, why would David use the same word in a verse that introduces a pantheon of praise? The verb siyach offers an umbrella of meanings generally determined by context: “to ponder, converse, utter, complain, meditate, speak and, finally, pray.” Except for “complain”, we can easily see how these meanings are linked. If it weren’t for the fact that “complain” is the primary meaning, we might just note it as an aberration. But we can’t. There is something about “complain” that is essential to the use of this verb. We need to think a little deeper.
Bring your complaint to God. Then notice what is implied in this action. First, you have to assume that God can do something about it. No one complains to a customer service department that is closed for business. Second, you have to assume that God will listen. Then you’ll notice that a complaint is usually carefully considered before it is voiced. There is some thought given to a formal complaint. Finally, complaints before God are one of those Hebrew kinds of prayers that make us uncomfortable, but are consistently voiced in the Bible. If praying is like breathing, so much a part of life that without it I suffocate, then there will be plenty of times when my breathing is rapid and heated. I will sometimes pray in anger. I will sometimes pray in frustrated lament. And I will sometimes pray in accusation. Read the psalms without your evangelically tinted glasses. You will find all these emotions, and many more. Siyach is me standing before God just as I am, even when my emotions boil over.
Then I discover something else. God still loves me. He would rather have me come complaining than not come at all. Why? Because He delights in my interaction with Him. When I pray with siyach, I am revealing my raw self. It’s OK. God can handle it. He’s an expert in customer service.