Psalm 35

Read Psalm  35

Here we go again!  The psalmist is really focused on needing God to rescue him, wanting revenge on the opposition, and feeling a bit overwhelmed or perhaps forgotten.  How often, when we are bullied, do we wish for retaliation on our bully?  If not us being bullied directly, when we see unfairness around us, how do we feel toward those causing the injustice.  We don’t often feel the strength to do it ourselves, just as the psalmist, he is calling on God to oppose, block, humiliate, disgrace, turn them back, make their path dark and slippery, etc.

And then, we have the “then”.  What the psalmist promises he will do in response to God’s action, as if the action has to  happen, and “then”…  It will be “then” that the psalmist will rejoice and praise.  I wonder, is the writer saying he cannot or will not praise unless and until provision or revenge comes?  This psalm is focused on self and what happens to “me”.  Isn’t it true of humanity as well?  We are so easily focused on what’s in it for “me”, or how does this affect “me”?

God will act as God sees fit, not always how we want him to act.I think we need to be looking out for others, too.  We need to be looking for a need to fill, and then, by the grace of God, fill it.

Let’s pray.  Lord help me overcome my feelings of anger and frustration with those around me who are acting in ways that frustrate me or hurt me or others.  Bless them and give them a clean heart with focus on you, the only truth and way.  Help me to reach out to those in need, sharing my faith and trust in  You.  Lord I want to be a world changer in your name.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 34

Read Psalm 34

I was really taken today by the form of this psalm and how each verse seemed to have an echo of meaning in it between thoughts.  Some were almost like “here’s another way to say it” and others were like “or this is what I mean”.  In any event, I thought it was clever and put together. The theme, too, was clear – praise–>fear–>trust in the Lord, he will take care of you.

What verses resonated with you today?  Three jumped out at me, verses 1, 8 ans 22.  We should praise the Lord at all times, in good and in bad, the Lord remains the same.  We just need to taste and see that the Lord is good.  For as the psalm promises, we will have joy when we take refuge in him.  And finally, the Lord will redeem those who serve him.  There is such joy in that truth.  We will be redeemed.  

Find a verse that speaks to you, and then as you read through it, the first time put the emphasis on the first word.  The second time, emphasis on the second word, and so forth.  This is something I like to do with shorter verses because each time I emphasize a different word, the meaning of the same verse tends to change a bit and deeper meaning can be realized.  So much wisdom in today’s reading.

Let’s pray.  Lord, I love how your word is so perfect in its lessons for us. You used just the right people to bring your message to life for us.  Help me find opportunity to share your greatness with someone this week so that they, too, can rest in your promises with the assurance and trust only you can provide.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Psalm 33

Read Psalm 33

So many good word pictures and strands of thought bound together here. Again we have a psalm of praise, a response to the goodness of God and what he does to protect and rescue us, those who believe, follow, trust and fear.

Did any of the verses speak to you today?  For me, it was the very first verse, “Let the godly sing with joy to the Lord.”  Not sing with perfect voice, harmony or such, but with joy!  Joy is a condition of the heart, and it can be ours when we are tune with our God.  Doesn’t God deserve our songs of praise, a “new” song of praise?  Indeed he does.  We worship our God with our songs of praise, the way we live, with the words that we speak.  God’s unfailing love fills this earth — we all need to remember that amidst all the negativity.  All of that is only clouding the truth!

I love how this psalm applauds God!  By speaking it so, this magnificent world came to be.  That is a mighty God who is in control.  With such majesty isn’t it only fitting that we should have a reverence and fear of our God?  The promise here is that God watches over those who fear him.  We can certainly put our hope in a God like that.

Let’s pray.  Heavenly Father your magnificence and power overwhelm me. That you would care for and protect me makes my heart overflow.  I pray for those around me who do not yet know you and your provisions.  Help me to reflect you today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 32

Read Psalm 32

Oh what joy an eraser brings!  I’m always glad when I’m using a pencil when writing because I can use the eraser to remove my mistakes.  If written in pen, it’s pretty permanent.  In the same way, God uses an eraser and forgives our sin.  Our sins are forgiven and forgotten, erased like our mistakes on paper.  We can rejoice!  We get a do-over!

But, if we refuse to confess our sins, think it’s not necessary to do so, and keep them hidden inside, they will only make us miserable.  The psalmist warms us of this very thing.  Guilt is ugly but forgiveness is freedom.  And there’s more!  God promises he will guide us, watch over us, advise us.  That is totally comforting, isn’t it?  God is our hiding place, our protector.  That is reason to rejoice!

I see this psalm as a foreshadow of the one to come.  The Lord has “cleared our record” and he does that through the blood of Jesus Christ.  What sins are you holding on to and not confessing to God? Ask, “why am I doing that?”  Think of the spiritual cleansing and showering of joy that will result by confessing and purging that sin.

Let’s pray.  Father, thank you for taking my sins far from me, those that I freely confess.  I know I harbor bad feelings, regret, the need for approval, lack of empathy for some, pride, envy, procrastinating spirit.  Lord help me to hand those over to you as well.  You are my refuge and my strength!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Psalm 31

Read Psalm 31

It’s time to delve back into the Psalms and reflect on the messages found there.  I’ll take another diversion at some point.  Leave a comment if you have a particular book of the Bible you’re interested in investigating.

What a roller coaster of emotion!  Underlying it all – TRUST!  The psalmist is all in for his God, knowing that no matter what befalls him, he can rely on God to be with him.  So many of the psalms are a similar cry out to God for rescue, protection and saving of some kind.  The psalmist is in such a dire condition, it is almost too hard to fathom the depths of despair and fear.

Many times I try to place myself in the time and place each psalm or Bible passage is written, and I find that difficult.  Have you ever done that?  I don’t believe that as we focus on the psalms this is the proper way to appreciate them.  Stylistically, they fall in the “poetry” section, so I should be reading them in that context.  Yet, trying to put myself there to a degree helps the beauty of the psalm to shine through — the heart of the psalm is revealed.

So, in today’s psalm, to feel David’s pain, emotion or fear helps us to graps what it means to trust – the step beyond faith and belief – the action of what we do with that faith.  God heard his call and answered.  There is the key.  God hears and answers.  We can have no fear.

As I read this psalm, I pictured President Trump, and thought to myself this would be the perfect psalm for him to pray everyday, to call on the Lord for guidance and protection.  We all know the opposition he is facing. Or maybe we should pray for him?

Think about the fears in your own life.  Have you cried out to God to help you with these concerns?  Are you TRUSTING God to work it all out?

Let’s pray.  Father we ask for guidance and rescue for our leaders and for us.  Thank you for the many blessings you give, help me to relish in those provisions and trust you completely.  May all I do and say today be to your honor.  May I be that spark that ignites others to follow you.  Use me and empower me with the words to say.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.