Read Psalm 9
So many psalms speak of enemies, wickedness and nations falling. It is sometimes hard for me to identify with any of these, excepts perhaps wickedness. When reading a passage, I am always on the ready for God to speak to me. So, when I think of enemies, I try to focus on those individuals who don’t believe as I do, who may pose a threat to me, and cause me to feel in danger. I am blessed to be surrounded by so many wonderful, loving people and fear no danger from them.
What struck you most when reading this psalm? For me, verses 1-2 and 9-10 stuck out. The first of these focus on thanksgiving, the joy we feel as believes and particularly, “I will sing praises to your name.” That’s one of my favorite things to do, and I can get lost at my piano for hours just singing praise songs and hymns. As for the latter section, the promise and assurance that God always has our back and will never abandon us. That is another recurring theme in the psalms, so God must think we needed reminded.
I have had times in my life when I have strayed so far, I cannot believe as I sit here now how awesome it is that God never let go of me. I’m picturing a long piece of elastic connecting me to God, and no matter how far I stretch it, I will always come back to God. Who do you know (maybe you) that’s stretching this elastic a little too far, and wish for them to come back to God? Pray for them right now!
But this promise goes beyond God never abandoning us in that he IS our shelter. We never have to leave in the first place. We never have to wander astray. In our times of need, we need to turn to him for solace, protection, and love. Revel more in God’s love today. How might you do this?
Let’s pray. Lord forgive me when I fall short and help me to focus more on you so I can be a better reflection of you to the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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.