Friday, March 31, 2017

Psalm 37

Summary: David again compares the wicked to the godly. The latter group has God's protection and gains land that the former group loses.

Response: I guess my big problem with us-vs-them is that it gives up. Yes, there are people who are just plain wicked, who know they are doing wrong and delight in it. And I certainly know very few truly godly people, though the ones that come closest are still bright diamonds in the rough. But I feel like most of us are just tossed around, almost too busy to fight a lot of battles without God's help. To give up on someone like that, lump them in with the truly evil, and carry on just irks me.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Psalm 36

Summary: David describes evil people, being selfish to the core. He then describes God, ever loving. Finally, as he's done before, he asks God's protection from evil in his life.

Response: I'll be honest: many times, I feel less like the righteous in this chapter and closer to the wicked. I don't like to be there, but if I'm honest, I know I can't get to that other side on my own. For me, it's not "save me because I'm righteous" so much as "save me from my own wickedness."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Psalm 35

Summary: David tells God to protect him from his enemies. In return, David will praise God wherever and whenever.

Response: Again, even knowing that David and I are different beasts, I spent the whole psalm going "nope nope nope."  Telling God what to do, more us vs them (including "I'm perfect" and "kill them"), making praise conditional... The list goes on. I'm trying to find a pivot here. The best I have is that I'm sure I'd say much of the same if I was actually in the life-or-death situation David was in.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Psalm 34

Summary: David praises God, who protects and provides for those who trust Him. Unlike the wicked, who destroy themselves, God's natural act is to defend the godly.

Response: Again, this is the goal. I'd love to be here that whole time, but I know I'm not there nearly often enough. Side note, I loved the us mentality of the psalm up until he had to go in the direction of us vs them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Psalm 33

Summary: David sings God's praises because He created and cultivates the world and everyone in it. Not only is He in charge of little details in Earth's physical makeup, but He guides each heart.

Response: I'm a musician, and sometimes my mind will do what animators call "Mickey Mousing," where a song will fit into the scenario in question. But my brain will tend to focus on a song's technical aspects before the lyrics, which kind of defeats the purpose. I guess what I'm saying is, I hope to have given more control up in what/how I think so God can give me more focus.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Psalm 32

Summary: David talks through God's forgiveness. Without it, he wastes away. Once he has it, he is safe and hears praises to God from others who have it. And he gets to make those praises himself!

Response: If I remember correctly, the selah thing here is a break in the action. If this had had musical accompaniment at any point, I'm pretty sure the guitar (or more likely lute) solo would have gone there. But it helps chop the song up so we get these different aspects of the story, which I greatly appreciate. And we have yet another glimpse of Human David, who is less than perfect and will admit it! I like that guy because I know that I'm that way, too.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Psalm 31

Summary: David paints a picture of the end of his days, where enemies are still persecuting him. He thinks it is his end, that God has abandoned him because of his sin, but God steps in and serves as his shelter.

Response: I'm not sure if David was actually older when he wrote this, but a less brash and more pensive tone is good evidence toward that notion. Lord, I too have failed again and again. Yet you continue to shelter me and provide for me. Your love really is amazing!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Psalm 30

Summary: David praises God, recounting a time when God turned His back on him only to forgive him again out of love.

Response: I am often short-sighted in the same way I feel David is here. It wasn't "I screwed up so God turned away," it was "God turned away until I convinced Him to turn back." The second implies that David didn't do anything wrong, just that God for whatever reason decided to abandon David. Lord, I know full well that, if I feel distant from You, it's that I've moved. Keep me close to You daily and hourly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Psalm 29

Summary: Definitely a praise and worship psalm, David describes God's power through His shout. It calls to attention, it breaks the power of surrounding nations, and it strikes both fear into Israel's enemies and love into His people.

Response: As a worship leader, I often hear songs of our shouting to God; it's not happened, I don't think, that I hear about Him shouting back. Help me to listen, Lord, for what feels like screaming to You but that I can barely make out.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Psalm 28

Summary: David cries out to God, knowing that He will come to his aid. Even while waiting, he rejoices in God's provision.

Response: I'm having a hard time getting my spiritual vision in focus and have been all weekend. It feels like I've been blocked from seeing God's hand in things because of how busy the minute-to-minute is. Lord, save me from myself!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Psalm 27

Summary: David again asks for and claims God's protection over him. He says that it's this confidence that allows him to stay strong even in the face of danger.

Response: The general vibe I got from the last verse and a half is that David knows he could not have let God change his life if he didn't have the super bold faith that he did. In little ways, I know that's true for me, too, even if I haven't slain a giant or danced nude during a religious ceremony (you'd have to look that second one up).

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Psalm 26

Summary: David wants God to test his mettle, finding anything that would destroy his integrity so he can live blameless before and fully worship Him.

Response: Lord, I know there are things I struggle with daily. Help me to let them go, that I might be able to give You the praise You deserve.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Psalm 25

Summary: David asks for God's help. He knows that God teaches people how to act and certainly rescues those who seek His will.

Response: I have a hard time with this line of thinking. "I'm good, so save me" doesn't work if you're not good enough, and we soon find out that no one (except One, but He choose to save and not be saved) is good enough. But God chooses to save us anyways! Yes, I believe we should try to act godly, but not in order to be saved. It's the other way around: since we've been set free from sin, we are to actually stop sinning by relying fully in the power of God. It's a bit nuanced and might​ look the same on the outside, but whereas David is very raw, I tend to overthink.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Psalm 24

Summary: David proclaims God Creator and Defender of the earth and its people. As Creator, His every action was and is creative; as Defender, His every stance inspires.

Response: This kind of worship is infectious. I love this kind of psalm that focuses on God. Lord, You are worthy of all praise. Help me not to get so bogged down in my own struggles that I forget to worship You.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Psalm 23

Summary: David compares God to a shepherd, leading him to everything he needs; and to a dinner host, providing even in the face of unwelcome guests.

Response: Hey, odds are you've heard this one. I tend to try to find the nuggets hidden away, avoiding the moments with the biggest splashes. I'd much rather study anything but the most oft-quoted psalm ever, but God still does provide and I hope I can continue trusting in Him for all I need.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Psalm 22

Summary: David starts by describing himself crying out to God continually, yet with no answer; he continues and finishes by proclaiming God's might and power even without a response.

Response: (If you're somehow reading this and haven't heard, this is one of the last seven words of Jesus. Dying on the cross, he starts the psalm, which sounds hopeless to those who don't get it but triumphant to those who know the rest of it.)

David shows humility! Wow! Help me to do the same, Lord, even as I ask for boldness before You.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Psalm 21

Summary: David recounts God's faithfulness and protection specifically to kings, of which he is one himself. He says that God not only grants kings long life and prosperity, but defense against their enemies.

Response: Again, I try my best to have respect for the context of David's thoughts. I know that kings were just a thing instead of a distraction as they usually are today. I think I get that, without a long-reigning king, disaster would befall a kingdom. But I have read through I and II Kings, and they're really bad at ruling anyway as well as short lived even when they do obey God. Lord, I pray that, where I lead, help me to serve more and more. Where I follow, help me to respect the position and the one who holds it, and guide my hand to help.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Psalm 20

Summary: David passes on the promise of God's protection to the reader, praying for victory and celebration of God's people. He also proclaims God's hand on their leader the king as the people trust in God rather than military might.

Response: My first reading felt very celebratory, but that ignores some parts and words that really give it an air of desperation. Lord, if I don't get Your help, I'm done for. Help me to hear Your word and follow Your plans.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Psalm 19

Summary: David praises God with the sun and sky, whom he says show God's handiwork. God's craftsmanship is also evident in His Law, he says; David prays not only to be forgiven of sin he knows about, but also of sin he doesn't as well as guiding him away from sinning in the first place.

Response: I like this one! There are like five different feelings here, but I agree with them. God's creation is wonderful; His Law is the ideal way to live, though we can only fall short of it; I need God's hand to stay me away from sin; even when I do sin, I need His forgiveness; even when I sin and don't know it, I still need it. They flow pretty well, all from the majesty of the sky. Neat!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Psalm 18

Summary: Saved from Saul, David rejoices in God's protection. This is a very long psalm, so let's have a look; David calls God:

Source of strength, high ridge, stronghold, deliverer, rocky summit, shield, horn (like the attacking kind), refuge, lamp, protector, king; worthy of praise, sovereign, loyal, reliable, trustworthy, true, alive, praiseworthy, faithful.

He also recounts (again) God's might, his innocence, his enemies' guilt, and what he got God to do to his enemies.

Response: God, I know you are protecting me from things all the time. But I don't think any of them are individuals who want my death. Thank you for your protection, but be with my enemies; I really do feel I want them to succeed. Not in hurting me, of course, but in becoming better people, drawn closer to you, maybe through me.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Psalm 17

Summary: David bookends calling for God's judgement on his enemies with calling for God's judgement on himself.

Response: I'm not sure I could be so bold. I know I'm guilty of quite a bit. Maybe if it were one of a bunch of passing judgements instead of a singular, permanent one?

I had a thought for a metaphor last night at our Ash Wednesday service: which is cleaner, the cup that sits in the China cabinet or the cup that gets used and washed every day? Obviously the former starts out cleaner but, unless you come and dust it often and well, it gets dirty over time, requiring cleaning that is more difficult because of how fragile it is. Holiness is not a one time thing and trying to keep it that way. It gets neglected that way, and is less useful. Holiness, to me, is a daily surrender and cleansing, in the hopes that less and less will need rinsed off each day.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Psalm 16

Summary: David proclaims his trust in God, who protects and delights him in the present and provides for a future where he is used and not cast aside.

Response: So in the last bit, David says that he won't be sent to Sheol; as I understand it, this was basically a large ditch outside Jerusalem where people would throw stuff away that had no use anymore. It was also sort of their version of hell, to be cast aside and left out of God's future plan. I'm thankful I still get used from time to time, but hopefully I can start to see and act on more opportunities to be used by God for His purposes.