Read Psalm 6
What day of lament! Psalm 6 is the first of seven “penetential” psalms. If you’re not familiar with that term, it would suggest the writer has realized his failings (sins), expressed some sorrow, and then made new commitment to stay close to God, as in “repent”, turn away from your sin.
I loved how the psalmist got real with God and opened up his heart. When is the last time you truly revealed yourself to God? This is a good example of what we often hear referred to as “fear of the Lord”–an awe in the Almighty. While it is easy to see the underlying concern for self and being condemned or “disciplined in rage”, you also see the trust in God’s strength and power in his please for “compassion” and to “be rescued”. In the end, the psalmist has assurance that God has heard his plea and will answer.
It’s not always easy to be sure the rescue is on the way when you’re in the midst of a trial. It takes true faith. Sometimes that can be hard to muster, but remember the unfailing love of our God. He does not abandon us. Ever.
“I am worn out from sobbing”, in verse 6, brought back some memories for me. Can you recall a time when you felt such despair and all you could do was weep? It is in those times that we need to dig deep to find our faith. We need to remember that God is in control, we are not, and have the assurance, like the psalmist, that God has heard our plea and will answer our prayer.
Let’s pray. Father God you are so good, and your blessings are without measure. Help us to set aside our feelings of despair and trust in you completely to protect and guide us, save our loved ones from trial, deliver us from evil and stir up in us the hunger for YOU alone. Fill us with your peace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Psalm 5
It’s all about relationships. The psalmist’s relationship with God reveals the many facets of communication necessary to grow and build a relationship. He starts with a plea and affirmation, and then moves on to trust by seeking God’s will, and finishes with a request for protection and blessing on himself and others. Don’t you love how psalms can run the gamut of emotions in only a few short verses? We could probably also look at this as a good prayer pattern for us to follow.
What verse jumps out to you today? Read that one a couple times and just relish the message.
Verse 8 really spoke to me “Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do, and show me which way to turn.” That could be my cry today. My enemy is my own distractions, and I truly want to be following the path God has for me in our new home. I want to live in God’s will, yet I struggle with the temptation to be in control. What are your struggles in keeping focused on God?
Let’s pray. Lord, you are so awesome and I love being in relationship with you. Help me resist the devil and all his schemes. Help me stay focused on you and what you want for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Psalm 4
Does this psalm seem a bit disjointed to you? I notice that there seem to be several themes bouncing around. I’m struck by David’s confident air intermixed with his doubting. As followers of Jesus, we don’t have to doubt for we have the assurance that God will, and does, listen, have mercy, and answer those whose trust him. We cannot rely on the world or other people for our joy. While our friends, and the world, may bring us happiness, it is temporary at best. God is forever.
I like verse 8, “I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” (NLT) That sounds like a great nap to me, and in this busy time of preparing for Christmas, we often find ourselves harried and so focused on the result that we fail to focus on the reason. To lie down in peace, that would be the ultimate expression of trust in our Lord, and a total release of the day’s stress and struggle. Take a moment now to just sit quietly and try to put all of your holiday plans, including menus, travel dates, gifts, etc, aside and just be in the peaceful presence of God.
Do you need to do a better job of resting in God’s presence each day? What might you change in your life to enable you to trust God more fully? Do you feel the walls crushing in on you? Use the wisdom of this psalm to calm and connect.
Let’s pray. Lord, help me today to set aside those things that distract me from you. May I do a better job of trusting in you for your mercy and grace, and give you thanks for the peace you promise. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Psalm 3
In these few short verses, David cries out for God in time of need and has bold assurance that he is being protected by God, and that God is in control. While his enemy surrounds, he is not afraid. David recognizes where his safety and guidance is coming from, and it is not his own strength and merit. How easy it would be for David to rest on his laurels and popularity.
We could learn a lot from this attitude. When I first read the word “enemy”, I pictured certain individuals. Did you have a similar picture come to mind of those that are challenging you or causing you pain? I have to admit, that sadly, when I read the words “slap all my enemies in the face”, I smiled. Lord forgive me! They are truly not my “enemies” and I certainly do not “fear” them. But perhaps you are in a place where fear has set in?
This psalm reminds us that God is our protection, the shield around us, and victory comes from the Lord! No matter what our struggles, or who might be oppressing us, in God we have victory.
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for your shield of protection, for the peace that only you can give. Help us feel those arms of love today as we face what may come our way. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Psalm 2
This is one of several Messianic psalms, known by this name because they point to Jesus, the Messiah, and his ultimate reign. David wrote this as he and his people believed that a Messiah would come. I see the references, do you? What about — “Chosen king” and “you are my son”.
We believe that Jesus rules, but his rule is now from the realms of heaven. As we are in the midst of the Advent season, we are reminded that Jesus will also return, and we during this time before Christmas focus on that and celebrate both his first and next coming. We must be ready for Jesus. What does that look like?
We can start by not dwelling on the silly things of our world and society that can distract us from our relationship with God. I like verse 11 that says, “serve the Lord with reverent fear and rejoice with trembling.” I don’t see this as a negative instruct, but rather “reverent” fear speaks to me as the deepest respect I can muster. When I dig deep for that, how can I help but tremble with rejoicing that the Lord God loves me so! The psalm rightly concludes “but what joy for all who find protection in him.”
Let’s pray. Lord, I want to tremble today. I want to be so attentive to you and your provisions for me that I truly reflect you in all I say and do. Prepare my heart to prepare the way for your return. In Jesus’ name. Amen.