Psalm 32-34 B

When my son, Taylor, is in trouble, he runs and hides behind the church pew pulled up to our dining room table. He has to know I’ll come find him, right? But no matter what, if he makes his sister cry, or he’s caught with stolen treats in his sneaky hands, he makes a run for it. His hiding place. His best effort at avoiding the burden of a confession, consequences and guilt. (And relinquishing the treats.)

“For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble.” 32:7

It’s speculated that this chapter is something David wrote following his affair with Bathsheba, and the murder of her innocent husband. If anyone knows about wanting to run away and hide, it’s David.

Where do I hide instead of running towards God’s presence?

How do you escape? I’m prone to seeking out distraction, and clouding up my mind so I don’t have to dwell on the pain, guilt etc etc.

“Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, ‘I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.’ And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.’” 32:5

Don’t hide alone. Confess your sin to God (who knows exactly where you’re hiding spot is, by the way) and find solitude and safety with him.

 

-Carly

 

 

Psalm 29-31 B

“O LORD, You have brought up my soul from Sheol; You have kept me alive, that I would not go down to the pit.” (30:3)

Lately, I’ve been thinking about death, and near-death experiences, since I drudged up a post on my other blog about my history of close calls.

Being spared from death so many times has always made verses like this jump off the page. He has kept me alive. It is a decision He’s made to have me alive until now. This naturally sparks a myriad of emotions, but the biggest one has always been gratitude, laced with a new found joy (and lease on life). This is why I feel it so natural to see this line appear only a few verses later:

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosened my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, that I may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.” (30:11-12)

Often times wading back through trauma can be exhausting and emotional, but I find it always ends here: in thanksgiving. The human experience is a messy array of emotions. This is the beauty of storytelling, songwriting, poetry and yes, the Psalms: they capture a full range and find them a home. These are a great companion through any season of life.

“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; worship the LORD in holy array.” (29:2)

When might not live our lives here–in a bursting desire to worship the LORD–but I think we reach that place eventually, many times throughout life. Let’s worship Him today, from wherever we currently stand. It is due Him.

-Bethany

Psalm 26-28 B

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” 27:14

I am loving our time in the Psalms. I really appreciate the inside look we’re given at dialoguing with the Lord over hard things. Don’t abandon me! This is scary! Hear me!

What does it look like to wait patiently for the Lord? For the author of this psalm (potentially David in the midst of the battlefield or in a hide-out from Saul), it meant a dose of courage.

“Teach me how to live, O Lord.” 27:11

What a great anthem! And what a reminder that godly living is taught. 

Teach me how to speak gently.

Teach me how to love selflessly.

Teach me how to serve my family.

Let’s remember to be students of godly behavior.

What verse grabbed your hearts in today’s chapters?

 

-Carly

Psalm 23-25 B

I really appreciate the New American Standard Version (NASB) of the Bible. It’s the closest we have to a direct translation, but it’s still readable. People don’t understand how nuanced translating can be. I’d love to know Hebrew and read the Bible in Hebrew, but I’m stuck here in English, appreciating a translation that’s as close as I’m going to get (for now).

Reading Psalm 23, or any other passage deeply ingrained by memorization, feels different. It feels like my mind is reading it faster than I want to. I stumbled, a bit, when I reached verse 9:

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

The version I have in my head doesn’t say lovingkindness, it says mercy. Today, I was struct by how different those words feel to me. I think I’ve given a weird connotation to mercy. I’ve defined it as a withholding of consequences. Where grace is getting a good thing I don’t deserve, mercy is not getting a bad thing I do deserve. It’s nice, but I don’t know why it feels like it comes with a side-eye and an, “I’ll let you off the hook this time.” Plus, there’s that association to the horrible game we played as kids where you interlocked fingers and tried to bend each other’s knuckles the wrong way. Yelling “mercy” is like tapping out. Stop beating me! Then the other person agrees to stop inflicting pain. That gets a little twisted for me.

But lovingkindness?! That sounds amazing! A kindness fueled by love. This word is everywhere in the NASB translation. Psalm 136, where we usually find the line “His love endures forever” in every verse, is translated as “For His lovingkindness is everlasting.” That definitely doesn’t fit into a Michael W. Smith song as seamlessly, but it’s so rich! It’s also posed as the reason to praise Him.

Many of Israel’s corporate songs used the word lovingkindness. It’s actually a translation of the Hebrew word chesed (which is kind of hilarious to me, because it reminds me of my favorite way to say you’re super mad about something: royally cheesed). I love language.

Anyway, it is a frequently used word to describe the relationship, not only between God and man, but prescribed between man and man. This love and kindness, and lovingkindness is the way we are to approach one another. It is related to the word charity, which also has sadly gained negative connotation. The application, however is beautiful.

How can we be chesed toward each other?

First, we must understand the beauty of it being true about our relationship with God. These three Psalms have a lot to do with being in God’s house. Lovingkindness is linked to forgiveness in 25:10-11.

I want my three applications today to be:

  1. Considering how I can be loving/forgiving: “Above all, be fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8.
  2. Considering how I can be charitable/generous: “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.” 1 Peter 4:9.
  3. Considering how I can be kind: “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:10.

-Bethany

Psalm 20-22 B

“Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Yet you are holy.” 22:2-3

Take note of David’s faith here. He feels ignored by God, abandoned in his distress. Yet he knows God is still holy. It takes deeply anchored faith to respond that way during a crisis, and even then sometimes it’s hard to get there. To recognize that God is good, even when things are not.

Turn to the Psalms. Ride the coattails of David’s belief and lean into his belief that the Lord will ultimately rescue us. Reading the Word has a way of filling up a hopeless situation with truth. Read it out loud!

“…You have been my God from the moment I was born.” 22:10

I love the deep intimacy of chapter 22, and how David draws upon his experience with God since birth. Even before we submit to God, he is with us. He has been God since before we were even born.

What verse stuck out to you? 

 

-Carly

Psalm 17-19 B

“Keep me as the apple of the eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.” (17:8)

“He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.” (18:19)

What a rich cluster of Psalms we have today. David introduces us to the secret of his success: a dynamic relationship with his Creator. The One he serves, loves him, protects and exalts him. David is fully depending on this relationship for life. With beautiful poetry and glorious word pictures, I especially enjoyed chapter 18 in my teen years, as I imagined this fire breathing dragon of a savior coming from the skies to my rescue.

As an adult, I discovered this verse: “For You light my lamp; the LORD my God illuminated my darkness.” (18:28)

I remember the first time it struck me, was as I read it on a flight back from somewhere. I see it leap off the page, which lay on downed seat try. Carly and I had started our Bible study together in March of 2013 as a way to combat “the dark place”. Many may be familiar with this sentiment, as it references the dark recesses of our minds, which swirls with half-truths and worst-case-scenarios. We had discussed “the dark place”, at length, and often sighted our staying of out it as a by-product of studying the Word, daily, leaving less space for half-truths.

It’s not a fix all, and we historically know, David was in many-a-dark place throughout his life; not just this occasion for Psalm 18: another deliverance from the hand of Saul, who was hunting him. There would later be the affair with Bathsheba, followed by a murder, followed by the death of an infant. Then the rape of his daughter at the hands of his son, the mutiny and subsequent death of Absalom. David’s life was full of grief. Darkness.

I don’t think this made 18:28 less true. Why? He always returned to the source of his power: a relationship with his Creator.

There is a lot these days to overwhelm us. Meditation on truth, quieting my mind to think of the LORD, shuts down the noise for a moment, to remember no-matter-what, Psalm 19:7-11 is true.

The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul;

The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;

The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;

The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.

They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;

Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of a honeycomb.

Moreover, by them Your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Make sure to take time today to remember the LORD, Who and all that He is. Remaining squarely focused on my relationship with Him is my only hope in life.

-Bethany

Psalm 13-16 B

Oh man. I failed at all the requirements in chapter 15 by mid-morning today. Can you even believe we are allowed to be in relationship with the Lord?

I deeply love the Psalms and the opportunity they give us to peer into intimate conversations with God. We are deeply loved by him, and deeply unqualified to be.

“Lord, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine. The land you have given me is a pleasant land. What a wonderful inheritance!” 16:5

I really enjoyed Beth’s breakdown of chapter 16 last time around. I also liked her suggestion to put yourself in the Psalms.

Take advantage of the privilege we have to openly and honestly communicate to the Lord!

-Carly