Breaking teeth, Psalm 3

David wrote Psalm 3 when he fled from his son, Absalom. That chaotic scene appears in 2 Samuel 15:13-16:14, but the roots of this complex narrative go back to Ammon's rape of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13 and even further back to David's sins that begin in 2 Samuel 11. Much could be written about not only … Continue reading Breaking teeth, Psalm 3

Raging Nations, Psalm 2

Last week's quandary revolved around today's meditation. Should I go on to Proverbs or should I return to the beginning of the Psalms? When I began these psalm meditations in 2010, I posted reflections on only some of the first 55 psalms. I started the New Year with a meditation on Psalm 1 called "Happiness … Continue reading Raging Nations, Psalm 2

Praise God! (Psalm 150)

The last psalm in the psalter rings with praise. It particularly emphasizes instrumental praise, and since it begins with a direct reference to God's sanctuary, it seems a powerful argument for using all kinds of instruments in worship. It begins with a call to praise God in worship and in the vast expanses of his creation … Continue reading Praise God! (Psalm 150)

Singing and swinging, Psalm 149

Psalm 149 contains an unusual combination of joy and justice. It begins with a lilting song of praise, but it ends with a swinging sword of vengeance. Amazingly enough the concepts aren't conflicting, but complementary. Because this particular psalm emphasizes the context of corporate worship, it's an appropriate subject on the day after the Lord's Day. Verse 1 … Continue reading Singing and swinging, Psalm 149

Surviving or Thriving?

We've all had times in our lives when we feel we're hanging on by our emotional fingernails. We do the necessary minimum to keep ourselves and our families alive. We meet deadlines and keep engagements, but we don't enjoy life. We're in survival mode. We feel overwhelmed and pray with Moses: Make us glad for … Continue reading Surviving or Thriving?

Creation’s Praise, Psalm 148

If you're familiar with the blue Psalter Hymnal, published by the Board of Publications of Christian Reformed Church in 1976, you may well know and love #304, "Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah," which is based on Psalm 148. The song's rousing refrain contains antiphonal singing between the men's and women's parts. You may be able to listen … Continue reading Creation’s Praise, Psalm 148

Broken hearts and changing seasons, Psalm 147

Praise builds as we near the end of the Psalter, and Psalm 147 overflows with praise. It also begins with a section of great comfort to the brokenhearted then cycles through sections with seasonal imagery. Identical praise phrases bookend the psalm. Praise the LORD! For it is good to sing praises to our God;    for … Continue reading Broken hearts and changing seasons, Psalm 147

No trust in princes, Psalm 146

After two great sermons yesterday from Philippians that stressed our need to delight in Christ and imitate his servant attitude, my spirit rejoices as Psalm 146 conveys delight and trust in the Lord as our only hope. The psalm begins, as so many do, with a rousing call of praise: Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD, … Continue reading No trust in princes, Psalm 146

Generational Praise, Psalm 145

As a new church school year begins, the covenantal character of Psalm 145 particularly strikes me. Instruction of covenant youth occupies a huge portion of my thoughts lately. I serve as the secretary for our church's Youth Education Committee and we've been busy getting materials and instructors lined up for the church school year.  I … Continue reading Generational Praise, Psalm 145

Plants and pillars, Psalm 144

Reformed folks emphasize the covenant, God's promises to believers and their children throughout all of history, and Psalm 144 contains two beautiful similes for covenant children: sons like plants full-grown and daughters like a palace's corner pillars (Psalm 144:12, ESV). What beautiful images of children who grow into godly adults doing what God created them to … Continue reading Plants and pillars, Psalm 144