psalms

Psalm 24

This is one of my favourite Psalms. When I read it, I hear it in my head as sung by Sons of Korah. Three simple parts – God’s sovereignty, what He requires of us, and His triumphal arrival. I love the personification of the gates and doors, and imagining them “waking up” much as the stones and mountains will cry out, and the Heavens declaring His glory. Loud, raucous and joyful. [28-02-2008]

Psalm 25

“The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. ” (NIV, v.14-15) I quite like the thought of the Lord confiding in us. The ESV translates v.14 as “The friendship” (or “the secret counsel”) of the Lord”. Haven’t encountered that idea before. That sense of intimacy and confidence between God and us. And the imagery of the trapped feet is quite striking. The ESV puts it like this: “My eyes are ever towards the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” What struck me was an image of a person looking for all intents and purposes to be fine. At least from the waist up. Everything is neat and tidy, and still. But hidden where no one can see, either under the earth (the trap) or under water (the net), is this sense of desperate struggle. Feet thrashing around trying to escape, only to be tangled up worse than before. But where does the trapped person look? To God. Because only he can free us. There is a strong undercurrent in this Psalm of the humility required to follow in God’s way. “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” (v.9) And what is his way? “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.” (v.10) Humility, trust and obedience. [28-02-2008]

Psalm 26

This Psalm is about integrity. Watching The Freedom Writers last night, I remembered this Psalm during the court room scene. A young girl has to testify in a murder case. She knows that the person accused is not guilty; her boyfriend was responsible. All her life her father and the gang she belongs to have taught her to protect her own. But her experience in the classroom, learning about The Holocaust, and coming to know and understand her classmates, has taught her about truth and justice. She knows there will be a cost if she tells truth, but she chooses to anyway because she knows it is the right thing to do. As a result, her father won’t talk to her, the gang disown her, and her life is in danger. But her “feet stand on level ground.” (v.12) [29-02-2008]

Psalm 27

You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
(v.8,) [ESV]

Such poetry. We used to sing a song with the line “I seek your face” at Rough Edges. Humble, gentle, and obedient. I really like that it’s the heart that speaks, and not the voice. The heart feels and understands our yearning for God; our desire to know him. [05-03-2008]

Psalms 28-29

Both end describing the ‘strength’ of God, and stating that he is the source of our strength. “The Lord is the strength of his people.” (28:8) and “May the Lord give strength to his people!” (29:11). Psalm 29 in particular is rich in glorious and majestic imagery. You can almost hear the thunder of God’s voice as he rushes across the waters. (v.3) This is the voice that spoke the world, and everything in it, into existence. What awesome, terrifying, power. And yet he is also our shepherd. (28:9) [05-03-2008]

Psalms 30-32

Testaments to the depth of God’s love, forgiveness, and deliverance. Psalm 31 is rich in its expression of the anguish and stress we can experience. Feeling God’s absence so keenly – as though all hope is lost. What had happened to David that he was “forgotten by [his friends] as though I was dead; I have become like broken pottery.” (31:12) How alone he must have been feeling. I am no stranger to dark nights of the soul. Thankfully, I also know what it’s like when “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (30:5b) God does deliver us. For me, in those times of despair the only thing you really have to fall back on is God. Trusting in him. Trusting in his goodness. Trusting that he is there. “But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands.” (31:14-15a) That is submission. That is yielding. Giving God room to intervene and allowing him to act. Experiencing his love. “Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.” (32:10) Why don’t we remember this? Why don’t we trust easily? I wish I did. [12-03-2008]

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