Read Psalm 131 here
This is a short but powerful and beautiful psalm. There is a sense of a somber and deeply reflective heart. It is a prayer of humility and trust in God. The psalmist has “Calmed and quieted his/her soul” and simply comes to God with perhaps a heavy heart and, one that desires to rest and trust in God.
Have you ever had those moments? Maybe you have had those times when life is hard to describe but you know that your heart is carrying much, and you desire to simply come and be with God? Not many words are said here, but the psalmist is quieting and stilling his/her soul to simply be in the presence of God.
Don’t miss the words, “I am content.” What does it take to be content? Sometimes we are so busy in the midst of our own troubles or in the pursuit of “happiness” that we can miss the quiet, calm contentment that God brings into our lives.
At the end is a plea for the community to have hope in God. I love that. We live in a world that is in desperate need of hope. Many times in our own lives we can feel a sense of hopelessness. Yet, the psalmist becomes still and reverent in the presence of God and invites us into a hope “From this time and forevermore” that can only come from God. May we still our selves before God and believe in this amazing hope offered by putting our trust in God.
Read Psalm 130 here
In today’s psalm we begin to see a different shift in the psalmist’s prayers. We see deep emotion and a deep cry for God’s mercy and listening ear. These types of psalms, called psalms of lament, are some of my favorites because they give us permission to be real with God.
We are able to come to God with our questions, fears, angers, and deep heart-felt emotions. Even in the midst of the psalmist’s crying out, there is still a rooted belief that God is good, God is loving, and that God has the power to redeem! It’s an acknowledging that even in uncertain times, we can believe that God is at work and that God listens to us and meets us with forgiveness and strength. God is faithful!
Today be real in your prayers between you and God. If you are grateful and joyfilled then praise God in that. If you are sorrowful, hurting, or struggling express that to God from your heart. The psalms give us permission to come to God in the fullness of where we are in life: in joy and in pain, in assurance and in questioning. God is a big God and can handle our deep emotions. If the psalmist can be real with God, then what is stopping us from being real as well?
Read Psalm 126 here in the New Living Translation
This is a powerful psalm of praise and renewal of life. It was written to celebrate the return of the Hebrew people from exile in Babylon. This event was a dream come true. They couldn’t believe the good news that they could return home to Jerusalem. They were so happy that they were singing and shouting for joy. Most importantly, they gave all the credit and glory to God.
How many times in our lives has the amazing thing that we dreamed about come true? This could be a wedding, a good job, a baby, a good grade, a new friend, whatever seemed to be the impossible. Did we shout for joy? Did we dance? Did we give the credit and glory to God?
This was true renewal of life itself. The writer tries to describe this renewal as best as possible. Then the writer begs for more. Lord, now restore our fortunes like a stream flowing and giving life in the desert.
We are reminded that the people of God live “by both memory and hope.”(Clinton McCann’s words) Even if you are in a time of tears now, new possibilities await. God is the author of all good things. You might be planting in tears now, but the harvest will come. Be patient and continue to make your request to God in faith that through God, all things are possible.
“ And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Read Psalm 125 here
The psalms we are currently reading continue to be psalms of ascent, psalms that were sung as the pilgrims made their way to Jerusalem. It is no wonder that the pilgrims sang of Mount Zion, as that was, at the time, synonymous with the Temple. The Temple of course was the Holy place, and the Israelites understood that God was in residence in the temple. The temple housed the Ark of The Covenant, which was the most holy relic for the Israelites. It was often said that the Ark of The Covenant was the footstool of God. So, it is no wonder that the people sang of what they were about to see as they approached Jerusalem; they spoke of the places they were going to see in relation to their God. (Note, they would not have seen the Arc itself, as that was in the most holy place within the temple.)
Notice that the closing statement is, “Peace be upon Israel”. This is no ordinary peace, this is the Shalom that is full wholeness–completeness for all people and all lands. The Hebrew word is Shalom, and this Shalom refers to the final reign of God. This is the Shalom that existed in the Garden of Eden prior to what we call The Fall, when human disobedience ushered in Sin which destroyed the Shalom.
Christians see this ultimate Shalom in the fulfillment of the second coming of Jesus. Jesus’ ministry brought in the beginning of the Kingdom of God, the spark that was the beginning of what will come. Ultimately Jesus is the one that offers peace to all followers (See John 20.) Christians understand that the final peace will come when Jesus comes again and a new heaven and earth will be ushered in where the “lion and the lamb” will lie down one with another.
May peace reign in your home, in your land, and in your hearts.
Read Psalm 122 here
Here we have a psalm of David with a focus of a prayer for Jerusalem. This psalm is a Song of Zion that was sung on pilgrimage to the holy city. The first two verses of the psalm speak of a joy that is in anticipation of seeing Jerusalem with others and the joy of arriving there.
In verses 6-9 we see a prayer for Jerusalem’s peace and well-being. This prayer is much needed today. What would it look like for us to pray for peace for our cites, nation, and world? Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) May this psalm remind us of the need for peace and our part in bringing peace to this world.
Perhaps this psalm can most remind us of two things: First, to pray for peace and be the peacemakers. Secondly, we are called to be filled with joy when entering the holy and encountering the presence of God. May we be filled with joy, awe, and thankfulness as we are able to come into God’s holy and gracious presence.