Psalm 146-147 B

What a wonderful pair of chapters to study today!

“He covers the heavens with clouds, provides rain for the earth, and makes the grass grow in mountain pastures. He gives food to the wild animals and feeds the young ravens when they cry. He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse or in human might. No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.” 147:8-11

I needed this today. Honestly, I need it every day! I need to remember what’s true about God, because my tendency to return to slavery and performance runs deep.

Things that are true: (you know I love making a good list)

-God brings the rain. He brings the rain that quenches thirsty people and he brings the rain that washes houses away in a flood. He’s sovereign; he gives and he takes away.

-God feeds the wild animals, he tells the wildflowers when to bloom and he hears the cries of the baby birds. He sees & knows every need. Again, he sees and knows every need.

-He is not impressed with human (or animal, apparently) strength. He’s not asking you to be strong, to meet every need, accomplish every task or fix every problem. What delights him and when we trust him and when we hope in him. I love this reminder! There’s so much pressure to be strong, and cool and not need anyone or anything.

Hope has been on my heart lately. I tend to get it mixed up with my superficial optimism, or let it be smothered by my anxious doubt.

What situation in your life needs a dose of hope?

What does it look like to truly hope in God?

-Carly

Psalm 144-145 B

“The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His world. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, and Your godly ones shall bless You.” (145:9-10)

This made me think of nature shows like Planet Earth. It’s incredible to think about the LORD’s care for all living things. His mercy covers creation, from the sensitive grass blade to the rough and tumble mountain goat. His ability to sustain and flourish is wondrous.

In turn, creation sings back praises of thanks, and those who know Him, bless Him.

What does your worship life look like these days? How do you bless the LORD?

-Bethany

Psalm 140-143 B

“When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.” 142:3b

Admittedly, I get overwhelmed easily. Psalms like this are great to underline and memorize, but even better when we apply it in the midst of anxiety.

I’m overwhelmed easily, but God is calculated, intentional, all-knowing and he speaks to us.

He knows what you should do; he has the answer to the things that keep you up at night.

What are you overwhelmed about? Take it to him!

-Carly

Psalm 136-139 B

Today’s chapters have much to do with identity; individual and corporate.

On an individual front, we’ve got the wonderful 139.

“You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways.” (139:3)

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mothers womb.” (139:13)

Knowing everything there is to know about a person’s internal organs, plus when and where and how they will lay down, is very intimate indeed. It’s both soothing and mind boggling how the LORD knows us, perhaps even cause for concern that He knows what we are thinking or what we will say before we say it. However, there’s something about this passage that is more comforting than anything else. A lovingness is woven throughout.

Perhaps it is a lingering feeling from 136’s “His lovingkindness is everlasting”

That passage reiterates Israel’s identity as belonging to the LORD, as it praises Him for all the times and ways He’s taken care of them.

While it’s less obvious when 136 was written, 137 seems to be a song from the days of Babylonian exile, when the people of Israel would be desperate for their identity. Being a captor in a foreign land threatens more than just your physical safety. A psychological aspect is in play, with the possible anecdote lying in the remembrance of who you were, informing who you can still be.

It’s important to remember individual, as well as corporate, identities.

It’s important to remember that every living person was fearfully and wonderfully crafted in their mother’s womb.

It’s important to remember that we are connected to larger bodies. I don’t know how far this goes, but I know there was a remnant if God fearing people who went into exile for the sins of the majority.

I’m currently quite bothered by the way both of my countries are treating immigrants and asylum seekers. Italy’s government is forcing sailors to let refugees drown in the Mediterranean. While America’s government is forcing boarder patrol agents to cage asylum applicants like animals. I don’t know what the retribution for these crimes against humanity will be, but I know that the LORD is very serious about the poor, oppressed and displaced.

We cry out for His mercy and praise Him for the times He slew mighty kings (136:18).

What does the LORD want to say to you concerning your personal and corporate identities today?

-Bethany

Psalm 132-135 B

“The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of humans hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; they have eyes, but do not see; they have ears, but do not hear, nor is there any breath in their mouths.”

Sometimes we need it spelled out for us: the things we worship instead of God are lifeless and dead. They don’t hear us, answer us, love us, or have a solution for us. They’re meaningless and will break, spoil or die.

God is eternal, breathing and alive. He listens, he responds, he answers. He loves, he cares, he provides and he solves.

What are you choosing to worship? What are you building an altar for? Who do you turn to?

-Carly

Psalm 128-131 B

A couple years ago, a friend handed me Psalm 131 during a worship service.

“O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child RESTS against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.”

I was in a major season of overthinking, anxiety and second guessing. I think this was her gentle way of saying, “you can, and should, calm the heck down.”

Imaging myself as a child on the lap of my mom, simultaneously mirrored as my soul leaning on the LORD, evoked a hearty SIGH.

HAAAAAAAAAHHHHI’m okay

Pride can often look like getting in way over my head and pretending like, “I’ve got this.” It can look like feeling obligated to have a fully formed opinion on a complex matter I don’t know much about.

Instead of all this, why don’t I just calm down and take the position of a child; leaning with all my weight on the ONE who can do the real sorting out?

What great matter have you wrongfully involved yourself in? What are you taking upon yourself that is too much and perhaps more for your pride than “for the Lord”?

-Bethany