How do you describe the Lord’s voice? Some would say, he has a small still voice. David says the Lord’s voice is mighty and marvelous and it can accomplish things that seem impossible. God’s voice can destroy cedar trees, make mountains skip like a calf or jump like a wild ox, his voice can make lighting flash and the desert tremble.
I just heard on the news that Minnesota has had one of the windiest years on record this year. I meet with some friends once a month to pray, in one of our local parks. It’s been windy each time we’ve met and we always attribute that to the Lord’s presence with us. Speak healing over our land, Father God.
The voice of the Lord echoes over the oceans. The glorious Lord God thunders above the roar of the raging sea.
This psalm can be summed up this way, “God be there for me, like you have in the past and please, God, be there for your people.” It makes me curious when David appears to doubt that the Lord will help him. It also makes me feel better, because, I can be a doubter sometimes too. It’s especially hard when you can’t see how a situation in a loved one’s life will resolve, and you have to trust that God will care for them.
When David ends the psalm with a request that God will hold His people in His arms as their great shepherd – it makes me think of Jesus’s last words; “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” To be suffering and to think of others is a remarkable trait. It’s a glimpse at what God means when He commands us to love your neighbor as yourself.
Come save us and bless us. Be our shepherd and always carry us in your arms.
It’s easy to see why David was known as, “a man after God’s heart.” This psalm is a written demonstration of how David sought the Lord. The one thing that David wants is to live in the Lord’s house – all the days of his life. David, the King, looks to God as his King and he knows through experience that working in synch with God’s Lordship always works out better than when he acts in his own self-interest.
I know from experience, too, that the days when I pursue the Lord are always richer than the days I am distracted and pushing myself in another direction. It’s not always easy for me to turn and get back in rhythm with God. Thankfully, He knows how to get my attention. When I do manage to change my focus back to God and pursue His direction, He has always been there waiting for me.
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
My husband is a triathlete. When he pursues an Ironman race, he has a training schedule to follow as well as a list of things to avoid. The list of things to avoid holds equal weight to the things he must do to prepare for his race.
In this psalm, David shares a list of things he doesn’t do in order to pursue what he loves, the presence of God’s glory. To enjoy the presence of the Lord, it is important to avoid evil pursuits. To experience the best, you must turn away from the worst.
When I was young, I used to follow my older brother around, wanting to know everything he knew. When he left for kindergarten, I was desperate to keep up with him. I would quiz him when he came home, wanting to know anything new he learned that day. Sometimes we’d recite the alphabet together and count as high as we could. One day, he told me that he learned three new letters to the alphabet, triple U, double Z and double O. I memorized the new letters and added them on to the to the end of my alphabet song. Turns out he wasn’t the most reliable teacher.
David’s desire in this psalm is to give his life to the Lord, to trust him and learn from him. He has found the Lord to be a reliable teacher who also leads with unfailing love and faithfulness. The Lord is also our most reliable teacher and guide – and – He has more to teach us than we could ever learn. We can’t try to “keep up” with the Lord’s knowledge, and thankfully He patiently meets us where we are.
Open the ancient gates, open the ancient doors, and let the King of Glory enter.
It’s so hard to know who to trust. Social media has only made this dilemma more difficult. After falling for a deal that seems “too good to be true” only to find out it wasn’t true at all, you are bound to slam some doors in your heart. I was so disturbed about Santa, as a kid, I wondered if God was real? I shut the door on that possibility because I didn’t want to be fooled again. As years went by, I shut more doors.
In the 1990’s I was laid off from my job and I suddenly had time on my hands. During the quiet hours when my kids were at school, I reached out to God and thankfully He reached back. I began to open my ancient gates to let Him in. Best move I ever made.
Several years ago, my husband and I were part of the Chaplaincy program at our church. Our first assignment was to visit a young couple whose son was in the NICU at the Children’s hospital. We had our badges, a bible and faith that the Holy Spirit would lead us. As we visited with the young parents, we learned that psalm 23 was the only bible verse the father was familiar with. His grandmother made him memorize it when he was a kid. So, we read it together and prayed over their son. Our next visit was a few days later. The son’s health was declining, the antibiotics were not working. We sat quietly with them, prayed and cried together. They asked to read psalm 23 again. As we read it, we inserted their son’s name into the psalm and declared its’ promises over him. The next day, the boy began to improve and a week later he was back home. I believe Jesus healed him that day and He also did a mighty work in the father’s heart through this psalm. They walked through the valley of the shadow of death and found that Jesus was with them.
When we saw them at church, weeks later, thier son had fully recovered and was running up and down the hallways. We hugged and cried again together, this time with gratitude.
In psalm 22, David is cryiing out to God, wondering when He will step in and help turn things around. When days, weeks and months go by and your desperate prayer has yet to be answered, you are faced with reconciling your heart with God’s sovereignty. We can’t control God, like we can control some situations in our lives. God’s ways are not our ways.
I have been in a few relationships with addicts. One of my survival techniques was to take control when things got out-of-control in our lives. Once in a while, forcing a solution would work, but mostly it was like taking one step forward only to slide back down the hill. When God intervened and began to unwind this behavior, in me, it wasn’t easy. I was so frustrated. Instead of saving someone else from the consequences of their decisions, I let it go. I may have prayed for their sobriety, but God went after my co-dependency. He knew what I needed most.
May your will be done, Father God, on earth as it is in heaven.
I love listening to my grandkids tell me a story about a fun adventure they had. They are so animated and they skip so many details in their rush to get to the good parts. Their hands are moving, their laughter interrupts the flow of their tale. It might be more fun to hear the story than to have lived it.
In today’s psalm, David is talking to God and telling tales of what God has done and what God will do. His confidence in God’s strength was earned first-hand. He had to move into the battle to see the victory take place. I tried reading the psalm out loud in an animated and excited way – and it worked! I wonder if this song would could be performed as a rap?
This psalm was written during a time of battle. David cries out for help and knows that God will help. The first verse reminds me of the prayers I would say as my kids grew up and began to live their lives outside of my reach. I would pray that God would protect them and help them when they are in trouble.
I have several friends and family members who have kids heading off to college, or getting married, or moving to a new location. Their worries are the same as mine were, but not all have faith to trust God with their kids. I want to tuck this verse in their hand, with the hope they will find it on the day they need it most.
In this beautiful psalm, David is giving tribute to God and the mighty works of His hands. I love how he describes nature: speaking without a sound or word, their voice is never heard.
Years ago, when my children were young, I was staring at a large white bird in the tree by my house. I found a very quiet place in my thoughts and everything seemed to slow down. As I watched the bird, I felt God tell me, deep inside my soul, that everything was going to be okay. Those were healing words for a worried and busy working-mom. My stress and worry were gone, I was filled with a quiet and confident peace.
When I read through this psalm it is clearly a victory song. David recalls the victories he had because God helped him. He proclaims love and confidence in God’s character. He marvels at God’s faithfulness and mighty hands. He describes what a life of obedience looks like and how intimate a relationship with God can be.
What does your victory song sound like? How have you worked to align your life under God’s authority? What has God’s transformational power done within you? What are the moments in your life that you can only give God credit for? Our victory stories are a work-in-process only to be made complete the day we arrive home.
This psalm is written during a time David was surrounded, persecuted, witnessing injustice and not positioned to change the circumstances around him. I can sense his desperation to find a place to rest, to hide where no one can harm him, just to catch a breath. I have never been in that exact situation but I have been out of my comfort zone, surrounded by people I didn’t know and didn’t trust. Witnessing behavior that I didn’t agree with, hoping to stay out of the fray. Looking for a safe place to rest.
I like the analogy of climbing under the protection of God’s wings. Giving him the control and trusting him to do what is right. Spiritually we can always retreat to the care of God and ask him to shelter us and to guide us. He is always available, our ever-present help in times of trouble.
My husband and I recently attended a reunion for a ministry we served in for 15 years. To be in the presence of our friends after so many years apart was settling. I felt safe, welcomed, and inspired. The memories of how we served the Lord together and of all the wonderful works of His hands we witnessed, have bonded us for life. How badly we wanted to recreate the past and do it all over again. But of course, that is not possible. Instead, we are each on a new path, serving the Lord in new ways with new people as He leads us all forward.
David’s words in this psalm reveal the deep and intimate relationship David has with the Lord. And his words proclaiming his pleasure to be with God’s people, came alive for us this week.
I am intimidated by the word “righteous”. I immediately envision a bishop or a cardinal in their robes looking right through me. To be righteous seems way out of my reach, since I know everything I have recently been up to. A friendly way that I have learned to accept this word is to think of being righteous as being someone who strives to live in a “right way” according to God’s direction.
This psalm has a list of things to work on to improve your righteousness. I included four in my meme – the ones I can work on every day. I am surprised at how often I hear gossip – it seems to always comes with the desire to pass it on. Sometimes, unfortunately, I do pass it on. But sometimes I have victory over myself and am able to let it end with me. I want to stand firm with God and am forever thankful to Jesus for helping me achieve forgiveness.
Have you ever caught someone’s eye? You look around a crowded room and your eyes stop because you notice someone was looking at you. Maybe you look at each other for a moment and share a smile, maybe you look away quickly, maybe you feel awkward and aren’t sure what to do? God is scanning the crowd right now, looking to see if anyone is searching for him. He longs to catch your eye.
I have friends who say they don’t believe in God or that they aren’t interested in knowing more about Him. I always hear that as a statement of how they feel in the moment. They may look for Him when they are alone or maybe when they have a crisis or a moment of curiosity. I do know that when they earnestly seek Him, they will find Him looking their way. Whenever that wonderful day comes.
I relate so much to the emotional flow of this psalm. It starts out with cries for help and ends with a declaration of trust in the Lord and appreciation for all that He has done. It is possible to feel both emotions at the same time, anxious for what you face in this world and confidence that God is with you.
When I suddenly lost the central vision in both of my eyes, I was faced with so many abrupt changes to my life. I could not force the solutions that I wanted, instead I had to wait for things to unfold. I knew that God was with me and that He was helping me and I had to surrender, a thousand times, to His timing. I was anxious about my situation and confident in His love. I can honestly say that my trust in God’s love makes me want to celebrate.
This psalm compares the flattery and empty promises we experience in the world with God’s impeccable record at keeping His promises and acting justly. I have been duped by flattery and led right into believing empty promises, more than one time in my life. Some of those losses really hurt and soon I became hesitant to believe anyone’s word.
Thankfully, our God in heaven is not a person. His promises are pure and trust-worthy. If you need to accept that statement in faith, that’s okay, over time you will see that it’s true. This is one of my favorite promises to stand on, give it a try: (Isaiah 41:13) “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear, I will help you.”
This psalm speaks of the confidence we can have to stand firm in our faith and trust that God will do what is right. From His throne, God watches over all the people and knows what we are doing. He discerns the good from the evil. In His wisdom, He lets things play out until the proper time comes to act. When He acts, He will act justly. This is His work.
While we wait and watch for Him to act, we are called to focus on our own behavior. Our instructions are to love the Lord God with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength and with all our minds, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we do this, we are assured, at the end of the psalm, that we will live in God’s presence. A very worthy endeavor with an eternal reward.
This psalm is very similar to yesterday’s psalm. It is a little more relatable to me, since it talks about “those people” that seem to succeed regardless of their evil actions and intentions to harm others. We’ve all seen this very dynamic in our life circles. A bully at school, an immoral co-worker, a neighbor we would like to avoid, etc. This psalmist asks the same questions I have asked or wondered. He also proclaims what he knows to be true, God is just and fair and He will vindicate the oppressed.
God doesn’t always act as fast as we’d like Him to – and we may not ever see the correction He will give to the person we are watching. But He will, according to His perfect timing. He will also restore the one(s) who were victims, but maybe in a way we are yet to understand. This psalm encourages us to trust that God’s got this.
In this psalm, David recognizes God as not only his authority, but The Authority above all things. Although David ruled over a nation, he also recognized that God ruled over him. David was humble, respectful, and confident that God would help him and that God would rule justly over his enemies.
David also ensures us that God cares for the oppressed and that God has never forsaken those who seek Him. There is no human equivalent to this promise. If you seek God, he will not forsake you. I’ve seen many examples of this truth. Seek the Lord, accept his authority over your life and watch what He will do to fight your battles. He will turn things around.
I’ve seen starry skies in some amazing locations; the North Dakota prairie, on the deck of a cruise ship while out to sea, in southern France, Colorado Springs, my backyard in Minnesota. Every time it’s a marvel; vast, brilliant, dazzling, changing, comforting, inspiring, mind-blowing. You may be able to tell, it makes me speechless. It’s hard to really grasp its’ magnificence.
In this psalm, David absorbs the beauty of God’s creation and wonders, who are we that you are even thinking of us? This is a question we have all wondered, in our own words, in our own quiet moments. David proclaims God’s answer. God created us in His image and made us only a little bit lower than angels. He has crowned us with glory and honor. He has entrusted us with the work of hands. This is God’s mic drop regarding your value to Him. You are His.
This psalm is written with such bravery. David asks the Lord to react with justice against the sin and evil actions of his enemy. He also asks the Lord to examine his own heart and if there is fault within him, he asks the Lord to show him. He stands ready to take correction from the Lord at the same time he implores the Lord for help. I admire this so much. David not only show us something about his character, he also fearfully teaches us about God’s sovereignty. Through his many battles and time spent with God, he knows God is just, not only with those around him but also with him personally. We will all have to pass through God’s purifying fire.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
The picture I found for today’s psalm, makes me pause. To me it says, “through my pain, I reach to you, in hopes you will hear me.” I have felt just this way a few times in my life. For some reason, it’s hardest for me to reach out when I am experiencing deep pain. For me, it feels like I have so much on the line, I don’t want to risk being let down. Often one of my close friends will encourage me and pray with me, like this picture so gently shows.
Over time, just as this psalmist experienced, we learn that God will hear our prayers, and He will accept our prayers, just as they are. He will be faithful to take great care with your request. If you don’t experience an immediate answer, you will be able to look back one day and see how He helped you through this time in your life’s journey. He is known for his lovingkindness and faithfulness.
Yesterday, in psalm 4, we closed our day by resting in the assurance that our Lord would protect us. Today, in psalm 5 we begin our day with thoughts of our Lord and send him our requests. Then, we wait in anticipation for His reply. I think it’s much easier to talk to the Lord than to wait for, and hear His reply.
Hearing the Lord takes practice and patience. He isn’t limited to the English language and can talk to us in so many creative and surprising ways. Tuning in to His frequency and staying aware of His presence in our lives is a life-long adventure. He may talk to us through the circumstances in our lives, through music, through a friend’s counsel, through scripture, through nature, His communication methods are unlimited and deeply personal.
This psalm was written with confidence in God’s character. David knew God would help him because God had helped him so many times in the past. This confidence gave David the kind of assurance in God that allowed him to fall fast asleep even though his enemies continued to pursue him.
I have had seasons in my life where I battled with restful sleep. When I was a single mom I had a hard time shutting my mind down at the end of the day. There was always something that was left undone, kids to care for, schedules to remember, strange noises to wonder about and an aching loneliness to contend with. Reading the bible at night always helped me, and sometimes, it would put me right to sleep. I would be so grateful in the morning, when I woke rested and saw my bible laying beside me. I could lie down and sleep soundly, knowing the Lord would keep me safe.
This psalm is both a reflection and projection of God’s faithfulness, strength and availability. David looks back with gratitude and forward with confidence as he is again faced with an enemy that pursues him.
My current struggle is not with a person, but, with my visual ability. Having lost my central vision five years ago, I’ve had to learn to see by using my full visual field. With Jesus at my side, encouraging me, I have slowly expanded my ability and capacity to do the things I enjoy the most. When I stand in an unfamiliar and intimidating place, like an outdoor event full of people, or have to navigate a grocery store that was just redesigned, I know that somehow, Jesus is going to help me succeed. He truly has restored my courage by being present (and helpful) in my daily life. How has he helped you?
I felt an echo when I read through Psalm 2. It speaks of the ever-present conflict between the world and The Kingdom of God. Our present-day strife fits snuggly into the first verses and the victory that Christ has and will have is confidently proclaimed. The tone of this verse makes me think of Jesus’s words in John 16:33; “Hear on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”.
Things are not worse than they’ve ever been, it’s more like, “here we go again”.
The last verse, as translated in The Message gives me great hope and assurance. “If you make a run for God, you won’t regret it”. This kind of run is the kind you do on your knees. In a humble and surrendered way. We say, “Jesus, please help”….and He helps.
There are 150 days left before the end of the year and 150 Psalms in the bible. I felt a nudge, challenging me to read through the Psalms, one per day, looking for God’s wisdom that I can apply to my life.
Day 1, Psalm 1
This psalm is timeless in its description of living in a world where we are surrounded by people who think differently and have different values than our own. Sounds like my entire life experience. Who’s advice should I follow? A friend, a classmate, a teacher, a co-worker, a neighbor, an author, a podcaster, a blogger – (for that matter)? Taking someone else’s advice has worked out for me at times but more often the advice I followed was like wearing a shoe that didn’t quite fit. It did not solve my problem and caused more problems.
The hope in this psalm is that for those who love the Word of God and meditate on His Word day and night – they will be like a tree planted by a stream of water. Producing fruit and succeeding in all that they do. What a great psalm to kick off my 150-day blog journey. See you tomorrow for Psalm 2.