Monday, January 30, 2012

Not just an old poem

I love the book of Psalms, don't you?
It is not only lyrical, but can be read in bite size pieces. There are poems about being afraid, being thankful, asking for guidance,
crying out for help, on and on it goes.
It is one of those books in the Bible
that is easy to read and hard to get tired of.
Although I know all of this, there are times when I take the book of Psalms for granted. I can open it up and grab an emotional high and then just go about my day, not giving anything I read a second thought. Yes, it felt warm and fuzzy while I was reading it and maybe even a few moments after, but then I allow life to take over. And really, if I need another shot of the warm fuzzies I will just read it again.Somehow that sounds alright in my head, but as I read it, it sounds really shallow.

It is really shallow.

The truth is that all of God's word is precious,
not caffeine to get me through the day.


It is also instructive.
Teaching us how to live, act, react, cope, and ask for help. 

My favorite go to Psalm right now is 116. It is chock full of instruction.
If I could just embrace what the psalmist wrote here,
it seems my life would have the aroma of grace.
I love reading it in various versions and paraphrases.
It helps me to imagine how the psalmist would have sung it as a song.
Here is one version:
I love the Lord,
because He listens to my prayer for help.
He paid attention to me,
so I will call to Him for help as long as I live.
The ropes of death bound me,
and the fear of the grave took hold of me.
I was troubled and sad.
Then I called out the name of the Lord.
I said, "Please, Lord, save me!"

The Lord is kind and does what is right;
our God is merciful.
The Lord watches over the foolish;
when I was helpless, He saved me.
I said to myself, "Relax, because the Lord takes care of you."
Lord, you saved me from death.
You stopped my eyes from crying;
you kept me from being defeated.

So I will walk with the Lord in the land of the living.

I believed, so I said, " I am completely ruined."
In my distress I said, "All people are liars."

What can I give the Lord for all the good things He has given me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation, and I will pray to the Lord.
I will give the Lord what I promised in front of all His people.
The death of one that belongs to the Lord is precious in His sight.

I am your servant;
You have freed me from my chains.
I will give you an offering to show thanks to you,
and I will pray to the Lord.
I will give the Lord what I promised in front of His people,
in the Temple courtyards in Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!

See what I mean. It is beautiful, like a song.
But read it again and you will find nuggets of instruction.
We can read how God hears us when we pray,
He is near when we need help,
He answers when we cry out to Him,
We see how to acknowledge who God is and for what He has done for us,
even when everyone else disappoints.
We read what our response should be to The One who always hears us,
never disappoints and frees us from bondage.
We pray to Him, we serve Him and we shout from the roof tops what He has done for us.
How awesome is that!
All that from one little old poem written thousands of years ago.
Not bad huh?  

What is your favorite Psalm and why?

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