Read Psalm 8
I don’t know about you, but my FAVORITE psalms are the praise psalms, and this is a great example of just that! I love to focus on the wonder of God, our wonderful, wonderful God! Can’t you just read it over and over? If you haven’t read this at least twice…please stop and read again. I can just feel the pure joy wash over me as I revel in the truth of this Scripture. Majesty. Glory. Those are big words and attributes to unpack!
But how daunting those words “put in charge”. God gave us great responsibility to care for all he has given us. Think of it — EVERYTHING belongs to God and he has chosen to let us take care of what we have. My awe can quickly change to feelings of defeat when I look around and see places where I have let God down, not done my best, or let something in his creation die, waste away, or be ruined (except for cockroaches and spiders..these are HUGE in Mexico, they are the one defeated when I’m around…and I do ask God for forgiveness).
But critters aside, we need to focus on God’s majesty with reverence every moment. Take time right now, grab some paper and make a list of words to describe God — like majesty, glory.
If we keep our eyes on Him (use your list if you have to), the challenges of this world will shrink, and I’m confident the comfort God places on you will be beyond your comprehension.
Let’s pray. Lord God, you are so good! Thank you for all you have given us. Help us to be faithful in all we say and do, using all that we are to bring praise, honor and focus to you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Psalm 7
From the standpoint of form and flow, this psalm seems choppy to me, and I had a hard time following it. That may or may not have happened to you, but I just wanted to put that out there. Sometimes when we read Scripture it really speaks to us, and other times we struggle with a passage and have to read it over and over. The latter happened to me today.
Overall, I see the psalmist really crying out for help once again. This is a good reminder to all of us to not go it alone, but to rely on God. The psalmist was enduring persecution and being falsely accused for something he was not doing. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe even as a child being blamed for something you didn’t do. What was your immediate thought — retaliation, perhaps? I would suggest that when we feel a struggle, we need to give it to God, not keep letting it bother us.
There are some good images here referring to God: my shield, fair judge, just. I like how the psalmist says, if I am guilty, punish me, he is not proclaiming his own perfection.
Look around your world today. What evil is lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to strike? What are your temptations–maybe Christmas goodies, overspending, etc. Remember that rather than taking on the defense alone, God is your shield.
Let’s pray. Father God, thank you for protecting us and revealing yourself to us through your Son, Jesus. Use us to reflect your light and hope in this evil world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Read Psalm 6
What a day of lament! Psalm 6 is the first of seven “penitential” psalms. If you’re not familiar with that term, it would suggest the writer has realized his failings (sins), expressed his 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 pleas 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.