Today, I thought we might walk through a chapter in the Psalms together.
Each week, we’re reading 5 chapters or so with the intent of discovering (and re-discovering) the true nature of God – who He has revealed Himself to be through the Scriptures. Not letting our imaginations or others’ opinions shape our concept of the high and holy God, but letting the Word of God do that for us!
So, we are combing the Psalms looking for HIM! What have YOU found of our God in the first 25 chapters of Psalms?
I’m finding that my card file isn’t big enough! God doesn’t fit in my box! Every time I look at my growing list, I’m overwhelmed by the magnificence I find there. My God is so much bigger than I imagine Him to be and stunningly beautiful!
Let’s look at Psalm 21 (reprinted here in the ESV) and I’ll show you a little of what my method looks like. Yours might be different and I’d love to hear about it!
1 O Lord, in your strength the king rejoices,
and in your salvation how greatly he exults!
2 You have given him his heart's desire
and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah
3 For you meet him with rich blessings;
you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him,
length of days forever and ever.
5 His glory is great through your salvation;
splendor and majesty you bestow on him.
6 For you make him most blessed forever;[a]
you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the Lord,
and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
8 Your hand will find out all your enemies;
your right hand will find out those who hate you.
9 You will make them as a blazing oven
when you appear.
The Lord will swallow them up in his wrath,
and fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth,
and their offspring from among the children of man.
11 Though they plan evil against you,
though they devise mischief, they will not succeed.
12 For you will put them to flight;
you will aim at their faces with your bows.
13 Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength!
We will sing and praise your power.
My first read-through of the Psalm is simply to gain an understanding of the Psalmists’ overall intent in writing it. Footnotes can be helpful at times for this, as can the Psalm titles. Once I understand the overall flow or message, I read it again looking for how the Lord reveals Himself in it. I have a Bible I don’t mind writing in and make notes as I go, but you could also use a notebook to write down the characteristics and corresponding verse reference. Here’s a picture of a page from my Bible. I write in pencil so I can erase it later if I need to!
At this point, I grab my card file and start writing. Every characteristic has a “title card” and a card or multiple cards with the verses written out. Yes, I write them out – It helps me to meditate on God as He describes Himself, and it is meaningful when I go back to review or find a verse! Here are pics of my file box and a section of cards…
Now for Psalm 21 – Here are the characteristics of God I noted as I read:
Vs. 1: Strength, Joy-giver, Salvation
Vs. 2-3: Generous
Vs. 6: Joy-giver, Present with me
Vs. 7: Steadfast love, Most High
Vs. 8: Searches hearts
Vs. 9-12: Wrathful, Just, Victorious
Vs. 13: Strength, Power, Praiseworthy
As I meditated on these truths about God, I noticed once again that this is a Psalm that begins and ends with the Worthiness of our God. The fact that this is so common in Psalms demonstrates that my God is worthy of my praise AT ALL TIMES – because of who He is, not because of what I think or feel. When I need help figuring out what to praise God for, the Psalms help me and convict me! Just from the first and last verses of this one, I learn to praise Him because of His strength, power, and salvation! If for no other reasons than these, it is enough! And more of what we read this week lends itself to praising our God who is Worthy.
22:3 Our holy God is enthroned in the praises of His people
22:26 The Lord satisfies those who seek to praise Him
25:6-7 & 17-18 Confession of sin is a most necessary component of praise – in fact, you can’t help but turn to God in repentance when you see Him as He is because you will see what you are not!
In Psalm 21, I could clearly see the generosity of the God we serve, and I had to stop to consider with thanksgiving His generosity to me.
In Psalm 22, the picture of the high and holy God making His throne in the praises of His people brought me to my knees in worship and adoration. The picture of Jesus found there is a powerful reminder of His great work on the cross to purchase my salvation.
In Psalm 23, the Lord reveals Himself as my Shepherd. The depth of His love, attendance, and care are inconceivable. Yet He welcomes me in His mercy and goodness.
In Psalm 24, there is great rejoicing in the King of Glory – the LORD strong and mighty! Unapproachable in His holiness, yet who receives those who come to Him covered by the righteousness of Christ!
So, here’s a challenge for this week – As you study Psalms 26-30, write out a prayer of praise to God for who He is. Consider sharing it with us in the comments below! It is always encouraging to hear others give praise to our God – I learn from it, and my heart rejoices and overflows with yet more praise!
I am praying always for you!