Monday, January 2, 2012

Psalms

Wow... it only took me two and a half months to get through Psalms.  How embarrassing is that?  I don't know what it is about this book that just frustrated me so.  There are very few that I actually like, and even less that I feel connected with.


Now, don't start yelling at me... I know that you love the Book of Psalms.  It's ok, I won't hold it against you.  It's really just not my cup of tea.  It might be that my brain is so set on the New Testament that it just boggles as I go through some of these Old Testament books.  But enough about that- let's move on to what I actually did enjoy.


The first one that hit me was Psalm 73.




1 Surely God is good to Israel,
   to those who are pure in heart.
 2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
   I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 For I envied the arrogant
   when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
 4 They have no struggles;
   their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
5 They are free from common human burdens;
   they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
   they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
   their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
   with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
   and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
   and drink up waters in abundance.[c]
11 They say, “How would God know?
   Does the Most High know anything?”
 12 This is what the wicked are like—
   always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
 13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
   and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
   and every morning brings new punishments.
 15 If I had spoken out like that,
   I would have betrayed your children.
16 When I tried to understand all this,
   it troubled me deeply
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God;
   then I understood their final destiny.
 18 Surely you place them on slippery ground;
   you cast them down to ruin.
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
   completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
   when you arise, Lord,
   you will despise them as fantasies.
 21 When my heart was grieved
   and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
   I was a brute beast before you.
 23 Yet I am always with you;
   you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
   and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
   And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
   but God is the strength of my heart
   and my portion forever.
 27 Those who are far from you will perish;
   you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
   I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
   I will tell of all your deeds.

This Psalm goes into how frustrating it is to see those who do not love God prosper.  They have money, beauty, popularity- everything that the world can offer and jealousy sets in, but in the end you remember that they will wiped away to nothing and God will still be there.  And He is enough.

Now my favorite Psalm.  It is a pretty popular one and many use it to speak against abortion.  And I agree in it's use for that reason, but it is not why it is my favorite.

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
 1 You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.
 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 

   How vast is the sum of them! 
18 Were I to count them, 
   they would outnumber the grains of sand— 
   when I awake, I am still with you.
 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
   Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
   your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD,
   and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
   I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
   test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
   and lead me in the way everlasting.

To me this Psalms says that I am intentional to God.  He wanted me here, so here I am.  He makes appoint to know who I am, even if I don't fully know it myself.  He planned me from the very beginning and to Him I am special.  I may feel, at times, unwelcome in this world but I know that God wants me and will lead me the right way.  


I think that Psalms can be very inspiring to many people, as these two Psalms did connect to me.  I'm hoping as I continue through on my reading, that the next time I get to Psalms my relationship with them will have changed and I will not cringe when it's time to read but welcome them with the open arms that God's Word deserved.