The thirsting soul of Psalm 143

Christians battle the devil, the world, and our own flesh. The conflict often wages on all three fronts. We grow weary and long for victory, or at least furlough from the front lines. In Psalm 143, David conveys his weariness and his awareness of personal sin. Hear my prayer, O LORD;     give ear to … Continue reading The thirsting soul of Psalm 143

Poured out complaint, Psalm 142

While David was hiding in a cave, he poured out his heart in this lament to God. Most of us become uncomfortable when praying aloud, but David emphasizes that this prayer is vocalized. With my voice I cry out to the LORD;    with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. I pour out … Continue reading Poured out complaint, Psalm 142

Passing by safely, Psalm 141

David was obviously in deep distress when he wrote this psalm. No biblical author, inspired by the Holy Spirit, portrays a wider range of human emotions than David in his psalms. When we struggle emotionally, we can remind ourselves that we are in good company. David was a man after God's own heart. The psalm … Continue reading Passing by safely, Psalm 141

Executing Justice, Psalm 140

Psalm 140 begins darkly, but ends in the light. It was written by David, who was persecuted and maligned by Saul and his counselors as well as betrayed by Doeg. It applies to believers today who are persecuted and betrayed, not only in other lands, but also in our own society where evil flourishes and deceit thrives—sometimes … Continue reading Executing Justice, Psalm 140

Completely known, Psalm 139

Psalm 139 contains well-known verses that have become a rallying cry for the pro-life movement, but I maintain that the entire Bible affirms the unborn child's personhood. And Psalm 139 contains so much more than those few verses speaking about God creating a child in the womb. The entire psalm speaks about God's intimate and … Continue reading Completely known, Psalm 139

Fulfilled purpose, Psalm 138

What a gift the Lord gave in setting aside one day each week for worship and rest! Although Old Testament Israel celebrated the Sabbath on the last day of the week, we worship on the first day to mark Christ's resurrection. As we worship and rest today, Psalm 138 reminds me that I should thank … Continue reading Fulfilled purpose, Psalm 138

Weeping in Exile, Psalm 137

Psalm 137 is a sad dirge that records the Israelites' lament in exile. They had been torn from their homes, their infants ripped from their arms; they had watched in horror as those homes were torched and those babies were dashed against stones. After that horrible trauma, their captors had the audacity to taunt them, asking … Continue reading Weeping in Exile, Psalm 137

His steadfast love endures forever, Psalm 136

No question about what title to choose for Psalm 136! The first line of every verses praises God for his wonderful works, while each second line in this antiphonal psalm proclaims, "for his steadfast love endures forever." We've used this psalm in the past as a litany at Thanksgiving gatherings. The leader reads initial lines and … Continue reading His steadfast love endures forever, Psalm 136

Above all gods, Psalm 135

As we leave the "mini-psalter" of the 15 "Song of Ascents" psalms, we find a longer psalm bookended with calls to praise God. The first three verses of Psalm 135 sing with a rousing call to praise. These verses are primarily directed to the priests (or modern-day church leaders), but are applicable for all of … Continue reading Above all gods, Psalm 135

Standing in the house of the Lord, Psalm 134

Psalm 134 seems especially appropriate for Sunday. It is the last “Song of Ascents” and reads like a call to worship. The psalm specifically addresses the Levites who stood at night in the temple, but may include others who joined their vigil and definitely is a call for all of us to praise and pray … Continue reading Standing in the house of the Lord, Psalm 134