Category Archives: Psalms

Sunday Soul Sing Along – Psalm 86:5

Psalm 86:5 You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you. [NIV]

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Let this songa be a part of every heart in worship today.
I love you, Lord
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh, my soul, rejoice!

Take joy my King
In what You hear
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear

aLyrics to I Love You, Lord by Petra from Petra Praise 2

If you’re unfamiliar with this song.  There are many places on the internet you can listen to it and sing along.

The Lord’s…

Psalm 19
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

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√ The Lord’s…Law is complete and able to reinvigorate his people.
The Lord’s…Statutes can be trusted to reveal deep and basic wisdom anyone can understand.

√ The Lord’s…Precepts regulate behavior and thought to bring pleasure to the heart.
The Lord’s…Commands illuminate and eliminate the confusion of what our eyes alone are able to see.

√ The Lord’s…Fear is knowing He watches all of us through the lens of His own unalterable purity and will always have the power to separate good from evil.
The Lord’s…Decrees are the building blocks of His strength that can become our unalterable purity.

After Easter What’s Next?

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

The Firsts are done.  The Easter celebration is over.  What’s next?  Now comes the hard part; continuing the renewal we just celebrated.  Renewal will take you beyond what you already know to the recognition of all you still need to know to sustain you. This prayer is both our plea and our evidence of renewal happening in our life. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” 

But as for Me

Psalm 109:19 Now may those curses return and cling to him like his clothing or his belt. 20 This is the Lord’s punishment upon my enemies who tell lies about me and threaten me with death.  21 But as for me, O Lord, deal with me as your child, as one who bears your name! Because you are so kind, O Lord, deliver me.  22-23 I am slipping down the hill to death; I am shaken off from life as easily as a man brushes a grasshopper from his arm. 24 My knees are weak from fasting, and I am skin and bones. 25 I am a symbol of failure to all mankind; when they see me they shake their heads. 26 Help me, O Lord my God! Save me because you are loving and kind…29 Make them fail in everything they do. Clothe them with disgrace. 30 But I will give repeated thanks to the Lord, praising him to everyone. 31 For he stands beside the poor and hungry to save them from their enemies.

I began this journey through these Imprecatory Psalms because of my frustration about being unable to pray about ugly circumstances beyond my control because the only words I could come up with were ugly too. It was a faithful pastor and friend that pointed me to these Psalms with the caveat they were not easy but they might help me understand my own situation. I’m certain that’s exactly how the Bible works and why it’s still such an important book.  So today I’m going to quote words of my own lessons from this series of posts.

“I want my heart to be so certain of God’s Sovereign reliability that I am not afraid of the effect my hostile and harsh thoughts and words against his enemies and injustice will have on God’s opinion of me.”

“God ultimately chose to intervene in his global creation through the life of Jesus and with the Holy Spirit for one specific reason: to make that same kind of freedom, personal relationship and aggressive faith with the all powerful, all knowing, ever present God available to each of us.” 

“Here’s the thing the giant slayer came to understand: Life is just another giant you can’t fight alone.  That’s the reality of Sovereign reliability.” 

“The  power of God was revealed  “for Heaven’s sake” in the imperfections of this king BECAUSE he knew exactly what to do with the ugly stuff!”  

“God’s justice IS going to defend the righteous but just as surely it’s “still” HIS righteousness that’s our right reward to enjoy, not the judgment of others.”  

“Life is our power struggle in which we constantly have to choose whether we’ll give the power to circumstances or to our intimacy with God to effect our response.”   

“Circumstances won’t always change but perspective can make all the difference in our response.  “The humble shall see their God at work for them. No wonder they will be so glad!” 

This week life has dished out some physical pain for me.  I read these harsh words from this man with a direct line to God’s heart with my own pain reminding me of the powerful challenge circumstance and perspective have on life, even in our intimacy with God.  Then I realized David’s prayer can be mine too.  “But as for me, O Lord, deal with me as your child, as one who bears your name! Because you are so kind, O Lord, deliver me.”

Perspective

Psalm 69:5 O God, you know so well how stupid I am, and you know all my sins. 6 O Lord God of the armies of heaven, don’t let me be a stumbling block to those who trust in you. O God of Israel, don’t let me cause them to be confused,…13 But I keep right on praying to you, Lord. For now is the time—you are bending down to hear! You are ready with a plentiful supply of love and kindness. Now answer my prayer and rescue me as you promised… 30 Then I will praise God with my singing! My thanks will be his praise— 31 that will please him more than sacrificing a bullock or an ox. 32 The humble shall see their God at work for them. No wonder they will be so glad! All who seek for God shall live in joy.  TLB

Circumstance and personal struggle have sapped all David’s energy.  He’s exhausted from his constant need to protect himself but something new has happened to him in the midst of his distress.  He’s seeing his circumstances from a new perspective.  He’s seeing and praying beyond himself to the impact his struggle may have on others who trust in God’s reputation.  

It’s that perspective, not his circumstances, that has changed everything.  “Don’t let me be a stumbling block to those who trust in you. O God of Israel, don’t let me cause them to be confused… I keep right on praying to you, Lord. For now is the time—you are bending down to hear!”  That’s his  source of comfort and praise…and now that’s my inspiration. 

Circumstances won’t always change but perspective can make all the difference in our response.  “The humble shall see their God at work for them. No wonder they will be so glad!” 

Power Struggle

Psalm 59 – Written by David at the time King Saul set guards at his home to capture and kill him.

1 O my God, save me from my enemies. Protect me from these who have come to destroy me.  2 Preserve me from these criminals, these murderers.  3 They lurk in ambush for my life. Strong men are out there waiting. And not, O Lord, because I’ve done them wrong. 4 Yet they prepare to kill me. Lord, waken! See what is happening! Help me!
9 O God my Strength! I will sing your praises, for you are my place of safety. 10 My God is changeless in his love for me, and he will come and help me. He will let me see my wish come true upon my enemies.

11 Don’t kill them—for my people soon forget such lessons—but stagger them with your power and bring them to their knees. Bring them to the dust, O Lord our shield.
16 But as for me, I will sing each morning about your power and mercy. For you have been my high tower of refuge, a place of safety in the day of my distress.   17 O my Strength, to you I sing my praises; for you are my high tower of safety, my God of mercy.

David writes of his personal “power” struggle in these imprecatory Psalms.  His is a struggle between real circumstances and real intimacy with God.  You can see that in the verses above.  Over and over his conflicted thoughts demand my thought because that’s my power struggle too.  Circumstances do not operate independently of intimacy with God.  

There’s no way to get around the fact our power struggle is just like David’s.  Life was his connection between real circumstances and real intimacy with God.  Maybe God is using David’s Psalms to make us look at life in a more realistic way.  Life is not a sentence because of circumstances or a slam-dunk because of intimacy with God.  Life is our power struggle in which we constantly have to choose whether we’ll give the power to circumstances or to our intimacy with God to effect our response. 

The Right Reward

Psalm 58:6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!  7 Let them vanish like water that flows away; when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.  8 May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along, like a stillborn child that never sees the sun…10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged, when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked. 11 Then people will say, “Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

This Psalm is really hard to read because of David’s frustration and anger about the injustice, violence and lies of the wicked.  Me too, but… It ends with what reads like a gruesome emphasis on how good the righteous will feel when God steps in and wipes out those wicked people. 

I understand the need for the assurance “Surely the righteous still are rewarded;  surely there is a God who judges the earth.” Those assurances are absolute and timeless truths but all I can think of is how important is is to not make the mistake of enjoying the wrong reward.  God’s justice IS going to defend the righteous but just as surely it’s “still” HIS righteousness that’s our right reward to enjoy, not the judgment of others.