Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Book of Psalms

Recently I once again completed a reading through the book of Psalms.  I have learned to love the book of Psalms in a new and deeper way in the last years. This love grew first in my years as my husband's caregiver and also since that time in the years since as a widow.

The book of Psalms begins with a reminder to delight and meditate on God's Word.  If I do that even in times of weariness and trial, I will be blessed.  The book of Psalms ends with the words, "Praise the Lord."  Praise for the Lord no matter what my circumstances will also add to my joy.

In the middle of the book of Psalms we find every possible emotion and circumstance that living in this world hands us.  This includes deep trials and unthinkable losses.  It also includes the hopes, joys, and promises that can be found in the Lord.  In the book of Psalms we see God's faithfulness in all of life's experiences.  That is why I must praise and worship the Lord even in the difficult moments, because He will never fail me.  He is worthy of my praise.

Even when we understand God's faithfulness we can become weary and discouraged at times, however.  There are many psalms of praise in the book of Psalms.  Yet there are also many Psalms of lament.  I love the honesty of the book of Psalms.  Yet in the midst of the honest negative emotions the psalmists would turn to the Lord.  Psalm 73 is an example of this.  In this Psalm Asaph had almost given into despair, but by the end of the Psalm he says "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

David, who wrote about half of the Psalms, often talked about the trials that his enemies caused him. Though our own trials and challenges may be a bit different than his trials, the Psalms written by David also remind us that the Lord will be our faithful God. David is referred to as "a man after God's own heart,"  Yet the Old Testament records some grievous sins on the part of David.  In spite of this God forgave David those sins and was faithful to David, because in the end David always turned to the Lord for forgiveness and help with his difficult life circumstances.  We can do the same as His children today!

Sometimes life can make us feel weary and overwhelmed.  I know I feel that weariness at times. That is usually a signal to me that I need to rest and regroup. It is also a reminder to me that when I am weak the Lord's grace is sufficient for me, and His power is best shown in my weakness.  (Check out II Corinthians 12:9.)    

The words of David in Psalm 34:17-18 also reminds us that "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  God's answers to our cries may not always be in the manner and timetable we want them answered, but God is always faithful.  We can count on it. 

I will end with verses five through the seven from Psalm 81 (NIV) which have become one of my favorite verses in the Psalms.  They read like this, "Blessed are those whose strength is in You. who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion."  

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