The next four psalms, Psalm 97-100, were written during the dedication of the Temple that Solomon built for God’s presence. Today’s psalm paints a dramatic picture of the holiness and fierceness of the Lord. He is supreme over all the earth and exalted far above all gods. In 2 Chronicles 7: 16 God tells Solomon:
“I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.
He continues to instruct Solomon saying, if Solomon faithfully follows God like his father David did, then God will continue to bless him and Israel. But if Solomon or his people abandon God and disobey God’s commands then He will reject the Temple, in addition to other consequences.
The psalmist, in verse 10 keeps it simple and gives these instructions to the people:
You who love the LORD, hate evil; He protects the souls of His godly ones (believers), He rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
This simple instruction would help them stay focussed on following the Lord’s commands.
It’s a good baseline for us as well. Paul tells us in Romans 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Take a look at your hands. What are you clinging to?
This psalm is an excerpt of a psalm from 1 Chronicles 16. The psalm was written to celebrate and worship God. The ark was returned to David’s city. All of Israel participated in the Ark’s return and the Levites ministered before the Ark and sang this song, proclaiming God’s name and his wonders over the land, the people, the earth and the seas. They clarified and declared God’s Lordship over all. As it is today and always was.
O, Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His lovingkindness endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16: 34
Can you hear this psalm and it’s truths echoing over you today?
To let God provide for us is vastly different than the ways we may provide for ourselves. I lived in the rat-race for 30 or more years. Carrying the burden for providing for my family. Always trying to advance my career so that the value of my work per hour would continue to increase year after year. My street smarts served me well, so I thought. I was able to continually increase my value and push up my salary. But, I also added responsibilities and consequently tied myself to my work in an unbalanced way.
When I suddenly found myself unable to work and had to trust God to provide for me, it was the crash course I never signed up for. A dear friend of mine taught me to write my needs down and put them in God’s hands, then let go and wait.
Within 18 months, God worked everything out in ways that I never could on my own. He flooded me with his provisions: much needed time with my family, new grandkids to snuggle, a new interest in cooking, a new ministry to be involved with, and my financial provisions were met in creative ways. My trust in Jesus multiplied significantly.
Did I sit quietly and wait patiently while He worked things out? Heck no. I flopped around in agony for longer than I’d like to admit (14 months). Eventually, I started to calm down and fully enjoy my new God-given provisions. It’s been so good for my soul. His lovingkindness towards me has humbled me in profound ways.
“Come, let us bow down and worship him; Let us kneel before the Lord, our maker! He is our God, we are the people He cares for, the flock for which he provides.” Psalm 95:6-7
I have yet to meet another person who can soothe my anxious thoughts. Usually, other people tend to ramp up my anxious thoughts or try to negate them with platitudes.
“Everything will work out ok”
“Tomorrow will be a better day”
“You worry too much”
Some may say, “Pray about it”, “Bring it to God”, or maybe “Let go and Let God”. These are helpful because they at least point us in the right direction. But, we have to go and do to make these suggestions work. We have to shift our focus from worry to seeking God. We might have our hearts set on a fast resolution but what we really need is to meet with our King, share our anxious thoughts, and rest under His presence. He will be faithful to calm us.
When my anxious thoughts become overwhelming, your comfort encourages me. Psalm 94:19
I had a season in my life where I was surrounded by lies. I was married to a man who had a double life. His whole persona was based on a full encyclopedia-set of lies. His lies started unwinding about 6 months into our marriage. I felt like I was drowning in lies. I didn’t know what was true, what was a lie and frankly, I didn’t know who he was. As his lies were revealed, he became more and more like a stranger to me.
I would go to my close friends and ask them to tell me something that was true. I didn’t care what it was; the sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, we will have snow this winter, the news comes on at 5:00. Hearing truth helped me get my bearings. One of my friends went the extra mile and met with me once a week. She would read scripture to me and we’d talk about the truth it revealed. She planted eternal truth in my soul. The marriage ended. My feet were firm on a foundation of truth.
Today’s psalm is a “mic-drop” of truth, what else needs to be said? It’s an anchor rope of truth from beginning to end.
This psalm is full of wisdom to measure ourselves against. The last four verses offer us hope and a measuring stick to use as we age. The amplified bible helps us see the meaning behind the words.
As we age and our lives transition from careers to retirement, are we experiencing the growth and fruitfulness this psalm describes? Do we see our lives flourishing, fruitful, content and prosperous? Are we growing in grace? This psalm encourages us – if we are planted in the house of the Lord, we will flourish in the courts of God.
There is always work to be done in the Kingdom of God, even when our “day-jobs” end. We find our eternal employment, so to speak, in the Kingdom of God. Maybe the most important thing we can do today is to examine where we are planted? Where does our nourishment come from and how are we sharing that with the people around us?
Psalm 91 is spiritual advice from father to son, as King David hands the throne to his son, Solomon. It is also advice left for us to consider.
Love and trust the Lord, make him our refuge and strength. When we do, the Lord will rescue, protect and provide for us. He will order His angels to protect us. They will hold us up with their hands. He will give us salvation.
These words, written long ago, have instructed and encouraged all who read them to seek the Lord and to experience His promises.
When we compare the length of our lives to eternity and to God, our lives are so short. The psalmist describes our life span as withering grass or a dream that disappears. Although short, we wish to make the most of our lives. To have more joy than pain, to see God at work around us, to please the Lord with our choices.
So, teach us to number our days, That we may cultivate and bring to you a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
Lord, regardless how our life’s circumstances change, please help us to continually adjust our lives to your service. Maybe I can’t do all I used to, but I can continue to help others find you, Jesus.
Psalm 89 is a thoughtful reflection on God’s promises to David. His unbreakable promise that David’s descendants shall always rule. The psalmist describes how God’s qualities are incomparable. Even when He punished Israel for their sin, his unfailing love stood by the promise he made to David.
Maybe you have had relationships fail. Maybe you walked away from a painful relationship or maybe someone walked away from you? We’ve all experienced broken promises. It’s an amazing example to witness someone keep a promise, when there is pain and betrayal to work through. God is the ultimate example to us of faithfulness. There is no one like him. He loves you because he loves you and he will never forsake you. You will experience this through time. Even when it’s hard to believe, his faithfulness remains true.
LORD, God of my salvation, I cry out to you by day. I come to you at night. Now hear my prayer; listen to my cry. Psalm 88:1-2
We have all had times when our prayers have been as desperate and serious as the psalmist in psalm 88. We’ve had times when we knew the only help that would help – is the help that comes from the Lord.
We ask, and we wait and things change.
They may change suddenly, they may change slowly over time, or His comfort may change us. The blessed assurance we have is that He will hear our cry and He will respond in his lovingkindness. We are secure in Him.
Thank you Lord for being with me in the good times and the bad times. I trust you.
“The home where’er the heart is, Where’er it living treasures dwell;”
These lyrics express what I hear in psalm 87. God’s favorite city is where his heart is, where his living treasures, his people, dwell. The psalmist expresses Jerusalem as the location of God’s affection. He didn’t know how the story would continue – to Bethlehem, to Nazareth and then into our hearts.
Since the Garden of Eden, God has longed to live with his people and dwell with them. We are living in a blessed time. He is always with us and in this psalm, we are considered citizens of his favorite city, Jerusalem. Oh, Emmanuel, Christ within us.
On my journey through the psalms, my heart has become fond of David’s voice as he sings to the Lord. I especially love the ones he penned towards the end of his life. His relationship with the Lord is so intimate and sure. He speaks to the Lord from a place of knowing the Lord’s heart and motives. He knows what to expect in this relationship and his words teach us.
O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help. Psalm 86:5
When we need help, we have a loving Father to go to.
This psalm has inspired several contemporary Christian songs. It was written around 535 B.C, during the time that the foundation of the second temple was laid. As I read this psalm, I heard these words as foundational to our faith today.
We will find our strength in the Lord
Our trust in the Lord will bring us Joy
One day living in the Lord’s courts is worth a thousand years elsewhere
When we love the Lord, we long to live with Him. He is with us every day, but it is easy to forget that and battle on within our own strength. But when we call to Him for help, He will be faithful to help us.
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right. Psalm 84:11
I am grateful today that the Lord calls us home. He lives within us today and welcomes us to spend eternity in His courts.
May they know that you alone are the LORD, supreme ruler over all the earth. Psalm 83:18
This prayer will one day be completely answered. It was prayed during the Babylonian exile, and we pray it again today. We pray it over those we love that are not yet believers, and we pray it over the world we live in, that one day, the Lord will be recognized for who He is – the supreme ruler over all the earth,
The last line in today’s psalm, reminds me who is in control. It is impossible for me to truly judge some of the situations that are occurring in my nation and the nations around me. I don’t have enough information or context to judge who is right and who is wrong. To discern what is true and what is not true. But God does and all nations belong to Him and are ultimately accountable to Him alone. He will judge each nation and each of us accordingly.
Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance. Psalm 82:8
I trust you God. Help me live my life according to your expectations of me, all I have control over is myself.
Answered prayers sometimes require a change in our behavior in order to complete God’s work. This psalm is a perfect example. Judah is back in Jerusalem and they are dedicating the new temple. They are re-establishing the festivals and returning to the Law that God gave them to follow.
We don’t always wake up brand new when our prayers are answered. There is often some work to do to align ourselves back to God’s expectations. Most notably, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our mind and all our soul – and to have no other gods before Him. Help us to return again to you, Father God, our first love.
As I was reading through this psalm, I could hear the psalmist trying to change his atmosphere from despair to rejoicing. He is in captivity, far from home and what he loves and what brings him comfort. He does what he knows he must, he must praise the Lord, he must remember the Lord’s lovingkindness and power. He is pushing uphill because he knows that’s the only way to find God again.
This made me think of the times I am stuck in a fibromyalgia flare. I know exactly what I need to do to turn things around. I need to go for a walk, even if its a very short walk. I need to drink more water, cut out all sugar and be kind to myself. It can take me days to start on this path to wellness. Even though I feel held back by pain, I must start moving up hill. It’s always worth even the very first tiny step.
We are moving towards you today God, even if it’s only with a glance.
The psalmist paints a picture for us of how the days of the Babylonian exile felt. It was devastating to witness such death and destruction. The remedy he calls for, God’s vengeance towards the other nations and God’s forgiveness of their sins, is ultimately answered. God seeks revenge on the nations around them. Then for his name’s sake, he brings them a Messiah who brings to them the full forgiveness of their sins.
The psalmist did not witness all of the answers to the prayers he lifted to God. This is true for us today. Our prayers are also in process of being answered. Some we will witness, some will be answered after we have left this earth. But, not one prayer is forgotten, and all are considered. What an amazing God we serve.
This is one of David’s final psalms. He tells his people the story of when God brought Israel out of Egypt. He highlights the ways God cared for and provided for His people and the miracles that took place along the way. He also tells the cautionary tale of Israel’s rebellion and how God responded. A full – 360 view – of Love.
I am so grateful for these words left behind for us to read and study. I am also grateful that we are living in the time of Jesus. God continues to take care of His people. Providing for us more than we could even ask for.
The sermon our pastor shared today was about victory. He encouraged us to keep a record of the moments in our lives when God won a victory for us. An answered prayer, a healing, a word, a reconciliation, a miracle, or, what my husband and I call a God-incident. The times that you know, in your knower, God intervened on your behalf. These records help us during difficult times when we are waiting for God to respond to us. Remembering how God has responded to us in the past, helps us expect that He will again.
Thank you God for the records of encouragement we can stand on. Like our pastor said today, when we fight, we don’t fight for victory, we fight from victory.
As we were listening to the sermon, I nudged Bill and said, “he is basically talking about most of the psalms I have studied this year”. Like today’s psalm that celebrates a victory. A record written for the day and for future generations. This psalm can give us confidence of what God can do and will do for the ones he loves.
My journey through the psalms is at the half-way point. Reflecting on a psalm a day for the last 75 days has expanded my trust in God. I trust that He is approachable and able to hear whatever is on my mind in whatever words I can muster. I trust that He will respond to me. I trust that even though I don’t understand what is happening in the world around me, God is in control. I have found a camaraderie with the psalmists, their feelings, the questions they ask while waiting for God to act and their shaky yet unshakeable faith.
Today’s psalm appears to be an answer to the troubling questions asked in psalm 73. The answer is: God’s got it. He will bring justice to the wicked and uphold the righteous. His economy of justice is sure and pure and right on time.
This psalm gave me a lump in my throat. I felt a pang of anguish as the psalmist described how God’s temple and altars were destroyed and turned to ruins. That would be a horrifying scene to witness. The psalmist feels powerless over this violence. He continues the psalm by reminding God of His mighty power, listing many great acts God has done. He asks God to arise and defend his cause and his people.
We can look back and see that God did defend His cause, in His perfect timing. He always does. He will again. That’s our assurance.
I’ve written a version of this psalm in my heart long before I ever read it. My version goes something like this…. Why do some people prosper and sail through life with few problems? Why does it appear they don’t pay any consequences for their bad behavior? It looks like they do whatever they want and remain carefree and wealthy. I chose you Jesus and I try to live my life in a way that honors you. Yet, I have face challenge after challenge. In some seasons, it feels like all I do is wait for you to help me.
When I only consider my problems, the truth gets fuzzy. The truth that my eternal victory is secured in you, Jesus. Nothing can take it from me. Even when I struggle, I have my ever-present savior by my side. I can ask my questions and you will answer me in your perfect timing. You have always helped me. I am forever loved.
My body and mind may fail, but you are my strength and my choice forever. Psalm 73:26
This is a beautiful “royal psalm”. David is praying for and prophesying over his son Solomon as he becomes King. His proclamations also sound like a foreshadow of Jesus’s reign. If a king on this earth could walk in the promise David is proclaiming, we would be living in a wonderful world. To imagine this psalm coming to be has been an inspiring exercise for my imagination today.
May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise. Psalm 72:17
We look forward to your return Jesus and to our eternal life with you.
David is writing this psalm in the last years of his life. His son Absalom is pursuing him, trying to dethrone him. As he pleas for help from God, he is also reflective, recalling the mighty way the Lord has supported him – his whole life. David’s desire is to reach the new generation and teach them about God and His ways. This is a great psalm for all of us to reflect on.
As our lives change, we may look back and miss the past. We may not feel satisfied with our new normal. David is encouraging us to set a new course for our lives. To reach out to the next generation. To share our faith and testify what the Lord has done in our lives. To become translators for God’s Kingdom, teaching others to seek God. Our lives can speak of God’s love and faithfulness.
Now that I am old and gray, do not abandon me, O God. Let me proclaim your power to this new generation, your mighty miracles to all who come after me Psalm 71:18
This psalm is a short and urgent plea from David to God for help. It also includes a blessing proclaimed over all who follow and will follow the Lord. David’s life is an example to us of how to be in relationship with God. He pleas for help when he is in need and at the same time, he praises the Lord for His strength and love.
This is the blessing David proclaims over you. May you walk in it’s promise today.
May all those who seek You [as life’s first priority] rejoice and be glad in You; May those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God magnified!” Psalm 70:4
This psalm is a sorrowful lament. David is in deep water, feeling overwhelmed and persecuted. When He praises the Lord, the people around him scoff. You can feel the oppression he feels as he describes his situation to the Lord. He also gives the Lord a lot of suggestions on what to do to the people who are hurting him and dishonoring God. These curses can be hard to read, because when Jesus came, he taught us a new way. To hate the sin and love the sinner.
One of my sons and I talked about this a few days ago. We were talking about some of the changes in our culture and the new definitions for acceptable and unacceptable behavior. What should our attitude be towards people who are caught up in a sinful lifestyle? This is a good question to think and pray over. What would Jesus do?
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me in your saving faithfulness Psalm 69:13
We put our requests in your hands and we trust you Lord. May your will be done.
This Psalm takes us back to time of David’s kingship. The ark of the Lord is being brought back to Jerusalem. This is a time of great celebration. It must have been the most magnificent parade as all the tribes of Israel lined up to bring the Ark home.
To be united in a mission with other believers is a powerful experience. Maybe it’s in a church setting when you are all united, learning and growing together. Maybe it’s with a group on a missions trip. Maybe it’s in a season of a ministry outreach to your community. Being united with others in pursuit of God’s work among us, is a time to witness God’s strength together. It’s the best of times.
Our God, show us your strength. Show us once again! Psalm 68.28