Tag Archives: Psalms

Worshiping God

The Book of Psalms is 150 mostly shorter poems that instruct and inspire God’s people in authentic worship. This ancient book of praise reveals a rich and complex variety of attitudes and actions when God’s people encounter God’s Presence.

So extensive and varied is the picture of worship in the Psalms that one lifetime could not possibly be sufficient to fully explore and experience all the subtle nuances of praising God. Approaching the Presence of God is an ever-unfolding experience that pulls worshipers upward to greater heights of rejoicing and onward to deeper places of faith.

An important part of worship is remembering God’s mighty works. God’s people remember that he spoke the universe into existence and so his beauty and power are reflected in nature. God sustains and supervises the entire cosmos, from electrons and protons to spiral galaxies and black holes; from sun, soil, and water for a blade of grass to security, love, and purpose for each of his people.

God’s people also remember God’s great works in salvation when they worship. The psalmists recall and celebrate God’s deliverance of Israel from cruel bondage in Egypt. Inspired by God’s Spirit, they also heard the voice of prophecy in their worship, looking forward to the day when Christ would fulfill the promise, being the one and only Savior sent from God.

Not only is the vast array of God’s attributes and acts on display in the Psalms, but the encounters between God and his people include the full range of human emotion. Worshipers at times approach the Lord from the depths of despair. They come asking God for his protection, for his forgiveness, for his answers to difficult questions, and much more.

At other times worshipers approach the Lord with a melody in their hearts and a song on their lips, praising the Maker of heaven and earth for his majesty, wisdom, justice, power, love, mercy, or one of God’s other marvelous characteristics. In short, real worship calls God’s people to come with honest hearts.

So if you are feeling down and out on the next Lord’s Day, or if you have a heart full of happiness, make it a point to gather with God’s people for another meeting with God’s Presence. A lifetime of enriching encounters awaits us in worship.

May God’s Spirit always fill us when we gather in his holy Name,

Brother Richard

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King David’s Support

David was an extraordinary man. He was a mighty warrior, a wise king, a gifted musician and poet. As a king in the ancient Near East some 3,000 years ago, he was in a position of almost unquestioned power and authority. David united the people of Israel into a strong and successful nation, subduing all his enemies. He captured Jerusalem and built his capital there, forging a well-deserved reputation as an effective leader.

David’s successes could very easily have persuaded him that he was invincible. Such power and notoriety could have resulted in a man who was proud to the point of arrogance. But in addition to David’s military might, political ability, and musical talent, he was a deeply spiritual man. David trusted the God of heaven and earth implicitly. In fact, it was his trust in the LORD that inspired him to fight and defeat the giant Goliath when David was still a lad.

David is credited with writing many of the Psalms in our Old Testament. In Psalm 18, he expressed his deep love for the LORD in passionate worship. David recognized that the LORD was his strength, his security, his song, and his salvation. In verse 18 he remembered that his enemies confronted him in a day of disaster, but the LORD was his support. David gave God credit for his victory.

In Psalm 18:6 David recounted how he cried out to the LORD when he was in distress. His response to distress is remarkable. When people are in distress they tend to reveal what their real support truly is. Under stress we discover what we really believe, what or whom we really trust. When serious stress hits, different people run to different things for support. Some people simply go into despair. Apparently they have no support at all.

When you are being pressed hard, where do you go for strength, security, and deliverance? What or who is your support? If a man as powerful, popular, smart, successful, and talented as King David needed the LORD for support, surely the rest of us do, too. David cried out to God, and as David recorded in Psalm 18:16, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me.” What better place to be than in the grip of God?

May Almighty God be our support in all that we do,

Brother Richard

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The Very Words of God

In Psalm 19, we read that the Lord’s law revives the soul and his precepts make glad the heart (Psalm 19:7-8).  These phrases might sound a bit strange to our twenty-first-century ears.  How can laws and principles bring gladness to our hearts?  How can instructions and precepts revive our souls?

Before writing about the joy of the Lord’s precepts, the psalmist first marvels at the greatness of God’s creation.  The breathtaking beauty and unmistakable design of the cosmos point to a powerful and wise Maker.  Seeing the fingerprint of God creates a desire to know the mind of God.  Nature, however, is silent about God’s personal traits.  How can we see beyond the handiwork of God and hear his thoughts, know his mind?

After noting the glory of God in the sky, the psalmist turns to the perfection of God’s laws and precepts.  When the psalmist writes about the Lord’s laws and precepts, he is referring to God’s written Word: the Bible.  In the Bible we read the thoughts and plans of the Maker who called into existence the starry host and who calls them each by name.  From the Scriptures we learn how we can know this mighty Lord of heaven and earth, and how we can experience his blessing.

Most of us have owned a Bible since we were very young.  In fact, most of us have several copies of the Bible, and we can buy as many as we want.  We have grown up being taught what God has revealed about his thoughts and plans.  As a result, we might take for granted what an honor it is to have in our possession the very words of God, who manages spiral galaxies and forms subatomic particles.

What if we started out life without the Bible?  What if we lived for decades in awe of God’s greatness, seeing his handiwork daily, wondering if we could know his thoughts, wanting to find out if this magnificent God can be known?  What if we were in our thirties or forties before we heard Scripture or held a Bible in our hands?  Perhaps then we would experience the reviving of spirit and gladness of heart that the psalmist describes.

The psalmist looked at the sky and marveled at the handiwork of God.  As a result, he expressed a great appreciation for God’s Word.  Greater appreciation for the majesty of the physical world in which we live leads to a greater appreciation for the honor of knowing the thoughts and the plans of the one who made and manages the universe.  Let us never forget how blessed we are to have the very words of God.

May God’s Holy Spirit fill us with unending gratitude for his perfect Word,

Brother Richard

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