4 minutes reading time (713 words)

Right Where We Are . . .

Psalms


One of the many things I've enjoyed to this point in our daily journey through scripture is that each day includes one of the Psalms. Perhaps no other book in the Bible so beautifully displays such a wide range of human emotions. In the Psalms, we see praise, joy, thanksgiving and love walking hand in hand with anger, fear, sorrow, shame and worry. This complex mix of emotion is conveyed with such raw honesty that it speaks directly into our circumstances, regardless of where we find ourselves at the moment. Maybe that's why I find myself drawn to the Psalms. Whether I'm in a season of contentment or restlessness, of happiness or sadness, of abundance or loss, I can find in these ancient writings relevant and timely words that speak to me right where I am.

The book of Psalms is really a collection of prayers and the hymn book of ancient Israel. The Psalms were written by a number of authors over a period of 1,000 years. And as we've already seen in previous posts about the larger narrative of scripture, the Psalms present some recurring themes that confirm a divine architecture behind them. Although written and collected over centuries, some scholars and commentators see the Psalms organized into five books that mirror the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible. Book 1 (Psalms 1-41) is the Genesis section that deals with humanity, creation and human need. Book 2 (Psalms 42-72) is the Exodus section, dealing with deliverance and redemption. Book 3 (Psalms 73-89) is the Leviticus section, addressing how God's people worship and approach him. Book 4 (Psalms 90-106) is the Numbers section, depicting the wilderness wanderings in the ups and downs of life. Book 5 (Psalms 107-150) is the Deuteronomy section, focusing on God's word. A similar pattern emerges throughout scripture whether God is interacting with all of creation, a nation of people or individuals. And the Psalms paint a beautiful picture of the response of the human heart to a God who both allows and desires an intimate relationship with his people. 1

Over the next week, our readings include Psalms 36-42. Even in these few chapters, each of us can find something to address our current circumstances, a phrase to give voice to our emotions.

Need to express your gratitude and thankfulness to God? The words of Psalm 40 can help:
          Many, Lord my God,
             are the wonders you have done,
             the things you planned for us.
          None can compare with you;
             were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
             they would be too many to declare.


Feeling down or discouraged this week? Try meditating on the words of Psalm 42:
          Why, my soul, are you downcast?
             Why so disturbed within me?
          Put your hope in God,
              for I will yet praise him,
              my Savior and my God.


Struggling with worry or anxiety today? Psalm 37 provides a remedy and reminder:
          Trust in the Lord and do good…
          Take delight in the Lord…
          Commit your way to the Lord…
          Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…


The Psalms can help us express our deepest, honest emotions to our Heavenly Father. As we pour out our hearts to God, we are reminded of who he is and of how much we need him. We're also reminded that we do not serve a distant God, but rather a Father who loves us deeply, who wants to hear the hurts and desires of our hearts and who meets us where we are but does not leave us there. May our time in the Word this week draw us closer and take us deeper in relationship with our Creator. And may the Psalms refresh and comfort our souls in the process.

1 Stedman, Ray (1997). Adventuring Through the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House.
Leviticus Trivia
Behold
 

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Wednesday, 19 January 2022

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