Reading Note – Psalm 69 – In Search of Vengeance

  • The Psalmist appeals to God to answer him at an acceptable time. (69:13). That’s patience.
  • Steadfast love and abundant mercy are God’s attributes (69:17).
  • In the proud tradition of the psalms, the psalmist pleads for vengeance against his enemies. He does not go after this vengeance himself. He leaves it to God, but he seeks the harshest punishment. (69:22 – 28). It is acceptable to seek reparation for wrongs. It is not merciful, but it is not wrong. After all, executing justice is one of God’s responsibilities.
  • The Psalmist claims that praising and thanking God is more acceptable to God than an animal sacrifice (69: 30 -32). It’s probably true. What point is a sacrifice if you’re not really grateful? Proclaiming what God has done will also encourage the other faithful, the psalmist says.

Reading the Psalms Means Gaining Confidence in God

If you’re like me, you’ve always thought the psalms are rather boring. And there are 150 of them, there is no way you’re going to read them. With a great deal of determination, though, you can learn a lot of them. I’m learning that they can help you trust God.

Reading the psalms means hearing the same things over and over, said with eloquence and confidence. Psalm 1 tells of the way God blesses those who commit to him. Psalm 2 speaks of his victory over his enemies (and the enemies of his chosen). Psalm 3 talks about his strength as protector, sustainer, and savior. Psalm 4 says to trust God because he hears the prayers of his people. He is good to them. He keeps them safe. Psalm 5 expresses trust in God’s goodness and the security that all who follow him enjoy.

After 20 chapters of that, you actually start believing that God is good, strong, and on your side (not that *ahem* you didn’t believe that before). And those words do not nearly express it. Here’s a brief sample:

But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
    let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
    that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
    you cover him with favor as with a shield. – Psalm 5:11, 12

Scared yet? I am. I don’t know what I’ll be thinking after reading all 150 chapters. I might start writing poetry about how the breath of the Lord brings thunder and stuff. We’ll see.

Reading Note – Psalms 3 & 4 – Confidence in God

We can have confidence in our God. He watches over the godly. He hears when they call to him. That’s going to be a recurring message in the psalms. It might seem very obvious, but it’s good to remind ourselves sometimes that God watches out for us.

If you’re like me and hate to even think of yourself as ‘godly’ because you’re scared it’ll sabotage your efforts to become more godly, have courage. By the time we get through all 150 psalms, the word won’t make you cringe any longer. Maybe.

Reading Note – Psalm 1

Blessed: Happy, Fortunate

Psalm 1 is about keeping God’s law and good friends. Good friends give you good advice. Bad friends draw you away from God. Of course, we no longer have to keep all those laws in Deuteronomy, but that just gives us time to meditate on the other laws. How do we love God and out neighbor?

And just how blessed is anyone who does those two things? He’s a very well situated and very productive tree, they say. That’s not necessarily a statement about his financial situation, Job notwithstanding. A productive tree reminds me more of Jesus statement about trees planted in good soil producing great amounts of fruit. The fruit is usually said to be more eternal than money.

The wicked (ungodly, criminal, guilty one, unrighteous – aka those who have bad friends who teach them to scorn God’s law?) are not blessed. They are “like chaff which the wind drives away”. So, they are definitely not productive trees. They don’t even last that long. What’s more, they shall not “stand” (what does that mean) in the day of Judgment. Their way will perish.

The point is this: the ungodly are headed towards disaster. Sometimes in this life, definitely in the next.