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Thursday: The World of the Psalms — 18 Comments

  1. I have been run off my feet the last few days with U3A work because it is the beginning of the year and everything happens at once. We had decided before New Year's Day that we were going to read the Psalms right through for our evening family worship. Carmel took first turn and read for our first worship, but when it came to my turn, my voice was not up to is so I used the Bible App on my iPad to read the next few Psalms for us. We have liked it so much that Carmel does in when it is her turn. We are using The Message version and although it lacks the grandeur and poetry of the KJV, it does a surprisingly good job and we are enjoying it. I have found it really educational because you can get the ideas that the Psalmists were writing.

    So while I have been working flat out, I have also been thinking, particularly about the issues that others like Esther have raised and discussed so well this week. Here are some of my thoughts.

    Most of you know that many of my comments come from my life experiences, I grew up on a farm with cows, sheep, and chooks, became a teacher and an academic, and retired to become a bird photographer. I write about these things because they are part of me and affect my Christian experience. When we think of David as a Psalmist it is important to remember what sort of person he was. He wasn't a nice kosher Seventh-day Adventist. He was a guerilla fighter. Our first stories of David are where he killed Goliath by hitting him on the forehead with a high-speed stone and then hacking off his head with a whacking great sword. It's not pretty. Then we read about he and his band of guerillas fought up and down the land. We santitise this when we tell it to our kids. There is blood and guts. When he became king the fighting continued. He experienced life as a fight between enemies, vanquishing foes and trampling over their bodies. When he was older and was not quick enough to fight, he sent others to do the fighting for him. (I admit I thought that David would be very much at home in Palestine right now) So, it is not surprising that David sees God in the same light conquering the enemy. Look at the imagery used is the "Cursings" and you will see a soldier talking. That does not make it right, but it does make it understandable.

    The second thought that I had is that David was also a person who valued social justice. It is interesting that in C S Lewis's book, "Reflections on the Psalms", the chapter before the "Cursings" is on "Judgment" C S Lewis notes that the judgment is less about Criminal justice and has a more "Civil Court" tone; putting wrongs right.

    So in a sense, we have the tension between a soldier and a justice fighter using their language to express their spirituality. David lived in the real world and used the language he knew. It is different to our Seventh-day Adventist world and the language we use.

    Keep the Psalms coming. I am really enjoying reading what you have written and delighted that we have so many budding Psalmists in our readership.

  2. The World of the Psalms is a true depiction of its diversity, and expanse. There are various Psalms for each and every situation and through the Psalms we are reminded that “the more things change the more they remain the same.” The Psalms points us to God so no matter what we are going through we see that we serve a great God who has provided all the resources for us to be successful on our spiritual journey. When we measure ourselves against God and His standards we realize our dependence on Him and His word.

  3. Today began with a heavier interpersonal challenge. It hurts to be unfairly dismissed, misunderstood, pigeonholed by a big brother. Jesus knows exactly. I cried out to Him for help. We have one of those small plastic bread baskets with Bible promises on colorful cards tucked in. I pulled one. It was:

    Ps. 84:11, "....the Lord will give grace and glory..."

    What a perfect promise for me right now. God's grace - to have for myself and and to give away - and God's glory - to have for myself and to give away - are all I need. He supplies my character (grace) and my reputation (glory). Our Lord did truly show me His grace today, too, through some friends' calls and messages. I encourage you to read the whole Psalm 84. Such comfort! My home and nest and strength are in God and with God.

    So near, so very near to God-
    I cannot nearer be;
    Yet in the person of His Son,
    I am as near as He.

  4. Its amazing how True we distance God from some spheres of our lives yet he has to lead us even in the smallest of issues we may think, such an amazing fact, oh dear Lord 🙏🥺you so loving

  5. In the classic story of David and Goliath, Over and over again David says: ''I come to you in the name of the Lord''. 1st Samuel 17:45

    Now when we see that in the bible it doesn't mean the actual NAME Jehovah, or Yaweh, or Jesus.

    Here is what it means - Name = Reputation. So when David says, ''I come in the name of the Lord'' he is saying, I fight in God's reputation.

    What was God's reputation? When we read Exodus, Joshua, Judges and other books of the Old Testament. In all those books God has build himself a reputation - He was always faithful to his covenant people.

    Some of the Psalms are an illustrations of God's reputation and an encouragement for us in our daily walk with God. We are not to worry so much about our Name and Reputation and operate in God's name and reputation.

    The Psalms gives us several portraits of individuals who finds themselves in several circumstances beyond their control who calls on their God when everything seem impossible and God shows up on their behalf and was able to work out things together for their good.

    God's hands are still big and strong as they are, it doesn't matter that circumstances are out of our hands. If we can find a way to put it in God's hands, he can give us victory over our adversities.

  6. Where are You?

    Where are You when I fall?
    Where are You when I am enraged or filled with rancor?
    Where are You when they treat me like I'm less than?
    Where are You when I'm busy ignoring you because all is well?
    Where are You when I sense a deep need for restoration?
    Where are You when I beg for healing for myself, family or friends?
    Where are You when I'm experiencing the greatest joys of those I love?
    Where are You when I'm done, when I cannot endure another thing?

    I know where; and I believe; help my unbelief.

  7. I used to think that the Psalms were "All Written by King David." Then when I heard that there were others that also wrote some of them, I figured that King David still had the "Upper Hand" and wrote at least 75% of them. But now, with this quarter about the Psalms, I sure wish that we knew exactly which ones King David wrote and which ones whoever else wrote and which ones?

    Jesus said that the Psalms spoke of Him. I only know that the one that the Apostle Paul quotes about King Melchizedek on "Three Chapters of His book of Hebrews," he mentions Jesus (From Psalms like King David does) as being "A Preist after the order of Melchizedek." So where else do the Psamls speak of Jesus other than a Psalm of King David?

    But I certainly did appreciate what Maurice Ashton posted here about reading the Psalms from start to finish for family worship.

    I did that with the book of Hebrews about 20 years ago.

    I think that I will follow Maurice example and do the same with Psalms now.

  8. Here is another Poem written by my father and put in his memorial book. This particular poem was beautifully put to music by Lucas Pimentel, the music director of or church.

    Perfection of Beauty
    John Williams

    Out of Zion, God shined forth His love
    In perfection of beauty from Heaven above
    Let the earth be glad and Heaven rejoice,
    for all men will hear the sound of His voice.

    "Well done, thou faithful, the Light has come,
    the night has ended, you are going home.
    Yours trials are over, your labors are done
    for you have believed and trusted my Son.

    Come now and inhabit My earth made new.
    Enjoy all the things that are waiting for you.
    And now never more any tears there will be
    for you will be spending eternity with Me.

    Even so, come quickly!

    If I can figure out how to post the song/music Lucas wrote I will post it. It was performed at his memorial and it is beautiful! see if this works. Music : Lucas Pimentel

    • This link worked. Thanks for sharing your father’s beautiful poem in song, Jim. I especially liked the lines, “ Yours trials are over, your labors are done, for you have believed and trusted my Son.” It’s like a double meaning- true for the future and somewhat true for now …. the more I trust Jesus the less things feel like overwhelming trials and labors.

  9. My Daily Prayer

    Open my eyes,
    That I may see my sins.

    Open my ears,
    That I may hear your Holy Spirit speaking to me.

    Open my heart,
    That I may confess my sins.

    Open my mind,
    That I may purpose in my mind to repent.

  10. I considered the Psalms in the context of the times in which they were composed – sharing the thoughts and feelings of the people at the time when their God Supreme was still establishing Himself with His people as their God.

    It appears evident to me that the Holy Spirit moved mightily among them teaching them to express their feelings and thoughts with Songs of Praise and admiration for Him, and to establish their choice to look to Him for the help needed to sustain themselves in their new land surrounded by their ever present enemies.

    Everyone is gifted to express their thoughts and feelings toward God, though the psalmists were given this gift especially to edify the people of the 'new' God of Israel; making sure that all could hear the praises given to His Name when meeting in His temple or gathering for the religious festivals. He was not only the God of the Laws and ordinances, He was also their God of the rescue from their enemies.

    The people’s willingness to observe their God’s commandments enshrined in the Laws and ordinances was infused/undergirded with the powerful, emotional expressions by those who personally experienced the presence of their approachable God in their life.

    And so it is in our days – we are still edified by the words of those inspired to express their love for God. We still receive the understanding “to wisely consider His doing” in order to worship Him in Spirit and Truth – Psalm 64:9; John 4:24.
    By the Grace of God - Christ in us and our place in Him reveals to us the Father whom we believe, prompting us as well to share with our fellow man in word and deed what He has done for us – Psalms 16:8; Psalm 24:7-10;


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