Day 15: half-way through the Bible! I am inspired by all those that have decided to read along. It's been motivating for me and encouraging to read the comments from people all over the world. In the last two days, we read through the Book of Psalms. In order to condense the mass amount of material, I combined both days.
With these two days, I am going to write a very brief summary, and will refer anyone who is interested to read one of the following books in order to better understand and properly utilize the Psalms as scripture.
The Case For Psalms: Why They Are Essential, By N. T. Wright
Psalms: The Prayer Book Of The Bible, By Dietrich Bonhoeffer
THRIVE: Using Psalms To Help You Flourish, By Douglas Jacoby
Reflections On The Psalms, By C.S. Lewis
Summarizing the entire book of Psalms in a short time is nearly impossible, but there are fundamental keys that can assist any reader through Psalms. David is traditionally thought to have written about 73 of the 150 Psalms. Among the remaining 77 Psalms in the Bible, there are many authors, some unknown, including Asaph, Korah, Solomon, Ethan, and Moses. All the Psalms are thought to have been written over a span of about 1000 years, from Moses until the Babylonian captivity in 586 B.C. It's remarkable to read through the Bible chronologically, as you will frequently see a Psalm appear in the middle of a story.
What exactly are Psalms? They are prayers, songs, and praises. It is a book of beautifully written poetry, even more impressive when read in Hebrew! The Psalms teach us how to intimately communicate with God. The Psalms provide the entire spectrum of emotions, from joyous praise of God to lamentation and utter distress and hopelessness. There are also countless Psalms that prophecy about Jesus. Psalm 22 is a popular one. But there are many others: Psalm 2, 16, 40, 68, 72, 78, 110, 118, and 132 to name a few.
Do you have a favorite Psalm that you read when you're feeling funky? Do you ever pray through Psalms, even out loud? Do you ever take a moment to write through a Psalm, word by word, meditating on each word in prayer? I recommend holding on to certain Psalms that you know will lift you out of dark places when you need an extra push. Likewise, have a few to go to when you need help from the Psalmists in connecting with God in prayer. Here are a few of my favorite passages in Psalms:
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules[b] of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. 13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! 2 O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.
There are many others that I like. My absolute favorite is Psalm 119. Typical, huh? If you haven't ever sat down to read through all of Psalm 119 in one sitting, I recommend doing that once a day for a week or two. You will read 176 verses of the wonder and perfection of God's word, and you are bound to fall more in love with it. That's a promise! And, just for fun, here's a comic about the Psalms. It's subtle!