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.
Read Psalm 1
What I see happening in this psalm is a compare and contrast between the godly life and that of the wicked. Being given the choice to be a follower of Jesus or not is a gift, and, in and of itself, the freedom to choose one’s way can also be frightening. I long to feel a deeper closeness to my creator, my loving heavenly Father, and this psalm is an encouragement and reminder of the goodness and rewards we celebrate as followers. Oh what joy to have God watching over us! Take a moment to just let that truth – that God is watching over you — truly sink in. If you’re like me, the joy inside can’t help but start to gurgle!
So what do we do in response to these great promises. For me, I need to focus more on the will of God for my life and less on my own strength. I tend to feel pretty mighty at times. Personally, I am at a turning point in my life, and I am waiting patiently for God’s direction. I do yearn to help those close to me draw closer to God, and I pray he will use me in some miraculous way.
Let’s pray. Father God, help each of us take a moment today to just delight in you and how you are directing our paths. We confess that we are sinful, and we lay our faults, our guilt, our pain, our sadness, and our doubts at your feet. Thank you for redeeming us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.