Meditations on the Psalms #3

Day 3

The psalms of David pass through the whole range of experience, from the depths of conscious guilt and self-condemnation to the loftiest faith and the most exalted communing with God. His life record declares that sin can bring only shame and woe, but that God’s love and mercy can reach to the deepest depths, that faith will lift up the repenting soul to share the adoption of the sons of God. Of all the assurances which His word contains, it is one of the strongest testimonies to the faithfulness, the justice, and the covenant mercy of God. The Psalms are tuned to the challenges of living faithfully amid life’s common experiences and trials. They offer insights into God’s vision for society and His special concern for the poor, ignored, exploited, and oppressed, and if that’s what God’s about, it’s what we should be about, as well. 

Music is a mnemonic device. We learn the alphabet best by singing it. Likewise, one of the best ways to memorize Scripture is to set it to song. The psalmists implicitly understood this connection between memory and music, between the message God gave them and melody as a vehicle for transporting that truth. No wonder, then, that cries and pleas for God’s mercy and His justice are expressed melodically in the Psalms. In these divinely inspired lyrics, we encounter expressions of eager yearning and longing for God’s presence. We find fervent prayers and sacred songs of joy, of anger over injustice, of praise, repentance, trust, and even of believers wrestling with despair. These prayers and songs are expressed in beautiful and inspired terms. Repeatedly we find exhortations to depend on God’s justice and mercy. Through the vehicle of figurative proverbs, poetry, and sayings, the splendour of God’s infinite wisdom confronts us. In this encounter, God illuminates His people with divine directives to express compassion for the excluded, oppressed, and marginalized. In our encounter with the psalms, we will be taught how to pray, how to worship, and how to walk in communion with our God. We will learn the greatest lessons for our pilgrimage here on earth as sojourners on our way to a better country. 

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