Psalms: Blessings renown

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Reading: Psalms 66-69

Focus: Psalm 67

In Jewish theology, there is an aspect of their understanding of God’s blessing which is fascinating. However, even in Jewish thought, blessings are often seen as God’s gift and pleasure for the recipients. We are blessed because God sees fit to give us good things or grant us success in life’s endeavours. We praise and thank God for His blessing, but we often miss out on a key aspect regarding blessings reflected in Jewish theology (which should be ours, also).

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Psalms: You are worthy!

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Reading: Psalms 58-65

Focus: Psalm 65

So often, it is easy for us to get lost in our situation and lose sight of things which are more important. Especially when things are difficult, when life seems dry, it is in these moments where it seems difficult to look outside our circumstances. However, despite how we feel, it does not change the fact of the matter: God is worthy of praise. It is during these times when worship is most difficult, yet it is when we find ourselves recognising the magnificence of God that we begin to rise above our circumstances.

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Psalms: leave it to me!

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Reading: Psalms 51-57

Focus: Psalm 55

The psalms are often raw with emotion, honest and open, and simply, human. They don’t pretend as if the world should be perfect; they don’t try and justify God’s actions; rather, they often reflect the reality of the heart, struggling to come to terms with the wickedness which afflicts them, calling out to God as they seek a resolve to their circumstances. However, at the end of all this, they always come back to one place, a place of trust: they trust God, they trust Him with their life.

This psalm (Psalm 55) is one of those psalms. It begins with the plea of David of God to hear his prayers. As David continues, he reveals his struggle and turmoil which is in his heart. He seeks resolve from God, David seeks God to undertake his situation and find an answer. In the end, this is what it all comes down to: “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Regardless of life’s situation, whether it was positive or negative, whether they were finding success or overwhelmed by their enemies—this is what it comes down to, in all things, casting all your cares on the Lord. The psalmists all come back to this point, there is nothing to do but trust God, to cast all our cares upon Him. We can try and rise up in life’s circumstances, through our own strength and ability…but often have we tried and come up short. Or, we can leave it to Him and enjoy the journey ahead. When God says, “Leave it to me!” He means it.

Next Reading: Psalms 58-65

Psalms: praise, praise, praise!

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Reading: Psalms 45-50

Focus: Psalm 47

One of the curiosities of modern Christianity is the aspect of worship. Indeed, most religions have an aspect of worship, but they are often solemn and reserved. The images often associated with worship are rituals, chants, ceremonies, liturgies, etc. However, worship in the Judeo-Christian movement is marked by something often lacking in other forms of worship. It is marked by praise. Yes, it is filled with awe of the deity, at times even fear, it is filled with recognition of authority and power; but greater than all of these, worship is marked by praise—joyous, elated praise!

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Psalms: the cry of the soul…

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Reading: Psalms 39-44

Focus: Psalm 42-43

So many Christians struggle in times when they feel down, discouraged, or despondent. They think to themselves that they should never feel that way, that as Christians, these circumstances should be easily overcome. Yet the harsh reality is that our faith does not take away these struggles of the heart. In fact, they are heightened by our faith and we wrestle with these struggles even more, and like quicksand, we find ourselves sinking in our struggle.

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Psalms: God, fight for me!

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Reading: Psalms 35-38

Focus: Psalm 35

Nowadays, it seems almost sacrilegious to consider that we would ask God to get involved in our fights. The notion of God fighting our battles almost seems foreign to us, rather we often, instead, ask for strength and wisdom to deal with our own situation and problems. However, as we look through the Old Testament, and here in this psalm (Psalm 35), the notion that we would simply ask God for strength doesn’t appear. The picture painted throughout the Old Testament and this psalm is that God plays an active role in our battles. In fact, for most of the ancients, life was seen through the will of the heavens.

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