Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Psalm 83

Summary: The psalmist asks God to defeat Israel's many enemies.

Response: God, help me to rely on You to fight my battles for me. Help me to trust that Your arm will show love in all You do. Help me to be honest with my feelings, that we might more easily communicate.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Psalm 82

Summary: God talks to an assembly of fake gods. He calls them out on their wickedness, charges them to serve, and reminds them of their mortality.

Response: This one was, uh, just a bit weird. If we're going metaphorical (sounds like a 90s cartoon catchphrase), I guess they could represent opposing nations and their religions and possibly leaders.

So even to the sworn enemies of God's chosen people, God instructs and guides toward receiving and giving compassion and hope. He's really serious about this love thing.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Psalm 81

Summary: In the middle of praising God, the psalmist records a message from Him. God remembers bringing Israel out of Egypt and just needs His people to listen and obey.

Response: I can't chide biblical Israel too much; after all, I'm just as bad. It's my hope, though, that God would keep changing me so that I could more consistently obey Him.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Psalm 80

Summary: The psalmist compares God to a shepherd and a mighty warrior, and Israel to a plant. God uprooted Israel from Egypt, planted it in the Promised Land, and tended it until it spread. But as the people left God, He left them open to threats. Three times the psalmist asks God to deliver them by "smil[ing]" on them.

Response: Here I'd almost compare more to a parent who, on the sight of their child crying, would smile to pacify them. But you don't smile at a child in trouble (not usually, anyway).

God, help me to take stock of Your blessings. Teach me to follow and rely on You.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Psalm 79

Summary: The psalmist cries out to God as His people are in the midst of a great crisis. Foreign powers have reduced cities to rubble and left many dead. The requests are twofold: that God save "us" and kill "them" back.

Response: My heart grows heavy in times of hate and violence. Still, I do my best not to have a vengeful heart. Help me, God, to pray for those I might hate or resent, that Your hand can be seen acting in those situations.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Psalm 78

Summary: The psalmist urges Israel to remember God's provision, grace, and judgement through a short history of their people to that point, including Egyptian captivity and rescue, wandering in the desert, settling in the Promised Land, and many (many many) times when they turned their backs on God.

Response: God's acts here are great, but it was easy for His people to forget them. I have a hard enough time keeping thankful for what happened earlier in the day. Lord, help!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Psalm 77

Summary: The psalmist recounts an all-nighter of desperate prayer. He doubts momentarily that God would hear and answer the prayer, then affirms his belief that God will do those things. He remembers just how much power He has over even the sea and storm, and how God has already proven His love.

Response: I've been there, when praying with seemingly no answer gets frustrating. But the psalmist's attitude improves, even without an answer. Instead, it is his perspective that changes. It goes from "I've been suffering so long; how could God ignore me?" to "God has proven Himself time and time again, and I can't wait to see what He has in store for this time!"