Ask my daughter to hum you the music that plays before Darth Vader hits the screen in the Star Wars movies and you'll get a sly grin and the tune pours out. We like Star Wars for the excitement and the costumes and the creative fun. But the soundtrack is what builds the characters in our minds.
The Psalms work as the sound track of the Bible. This collection of songs and poems add the emotional depth and beautiful language which make the stories linger in our memory and add comfort to our soul.
About half of the Psalms are attributed to the great King David with the rest authored by Solomon, Asaph, the sons of Korah and a random assortment of other authors. The Psalms are broken into five smaller books organized in harmony (get it? Harmony?) with the first five books of the Bible. I continue to be amazed at the symmetry of the entire Bible and the cohesiveness of its grand story.
My favorite things about the Psalms?
Gratitude The Psalms are full of thanksgiving and gratitude. Its a new year. Try starting with thanks.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalm 107: 8-9
Honesty. Some of the Psalms are raw and painful in their terms. Painful questions, depression, thoughts of suicide and violence. The Psalms tell me that God is okay with my questions. The idea of Sunday morning-starched-shirt-faith is out. "I’m a mess but you love me anyway" is revealed in the book of Psalms. Don’t believe me? Read a few.
I am overwhelmed with troubles and my life draws near to death. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am like one without strength. Psalm 88:3-4
If you feel like your faith is fake – try writing your own gut wrenching Psalm. Writing it out helps you process. God has big shoulders, he can handle your truth. It also helps you lay it down and see it for what it is. Some of what you carry is not truth but lies you've believed. Writing down your ugly thoughts can help call them out as false. The Psalms wade into ugly spaces but this gorgeous book also swims back to the truth. When you tell your current spot make sure to finish with a declaration of God's truth. It'll ground your feet.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2
Praise. Putting my life in perspective generally helps me move my mood. The Psalms spend a lot of time in praise. Praise for creation, for forgiveness, for God’s good character. For He is worthy. If you need perspective go somewhere dark and look at the sky. I have a theory that part of why we have lose sight of faith in society is we have too many stinking lights. We can’t see for all the light. Our false lights in Hollywood and in our living rooms obscure the great grandeur of the real light. Turn it all off and look up. Then read a few Psalms. My guess is your perspective will fall back into the right space.
"The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day by day pours forth speech, And nigth to night reveals knowledge. Psalm 19:1-2
Prayer. Many of the Psalms are pleas for help, for guidance, for rescue and for judgment on our own actions and the actions of others. The Psalms put words to the times I’ve been unfairly judged or when wrongs have gone uncaught. The truth is that God is the one who sees clearly and when I call upon His name I can trust his to rescue. He sees you there and he wants to help. The Psalms tell me that I’m never too lost to be found in Grace.
The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them." Psalm 91:14-15
Comfort I have memorized some of the Psalms and in dark and scary times I will say them to myself. Brain neurology tells us that our thoughts run in patterns. If I think “I’m no good, I’m not enough, I have to try harder” then those thoughts repeat. If I think “He’s always that way, I should leave, how would that work” then my heart follows the easy prepaved road. The Psalms provide a way to build new paths.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 21:1
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you along Lord, make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8
God is our refuge and strenght, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into teh heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2
For this God is our God forever and ever, he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105
In moments of fear or anxiety if I say to myself the true words of the Psalms its like a guiding light through the muck. If you struggle with anxiety or depression or fear or hate then do the work of memorizing new patterns. They can become the new patterns forward. You can break free but you have to add in the new input. The Psalms are a gift to be used.
The songs are powerful tools for your lives. May the true force be with you.
I had never heard about the structure of the Psalms until I watched this video. It was fascinating. Thanks to the Read Scripture series!
Oh my goodness this is too fun. The Psalms Project is a group of musicians setting all 150 Psalms to modern worship music. Fantastic.
Check it out HERE. Below is a YouTube of their version of Psalm 23.
Do you color yet? The Psalms is a great place to start if you haven't found this relaxing way to focus in on a scripture.
New Spring Church has a great list of devotions to work through as you read the Psalms. Read them HERE or check out their useful infographic below.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
Sign up to receive Mindy's Quirk-E-Mails