Thursday: The World of the Psalms

Daily Lesson for Thursday 4th of January 2024

Read Psalms 16:8; Psalms 44:8; Psalms 46:1; Psalms 47:1,7; Psalms 57:2; Psalms 62:8; Psalms 82:8; and Psalms 121:7. What place does God occupy in the psalmist’s life?

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The world of the Psalms is wholly God-centered; it seeks to submit, in prayer and praise, all life experiences to God. God is the Sovereign Creator, the King and Judge of all the earth. He provides all things for His children. Therefore, He is to be trusted at all times. Even the enemies of God’s people ask, “ ‘Where is your God?’ ” when God’s people seem to be failing (Psalms 42:10, NKJV). Just as the Lord is the ever-present and never-failing God of His people, so God’s people have God always before them. Ultimately, the Psalms envision the time when all peoples and the entire creation will worship God (Psalms 47:1, Psalms 64:9).

The centrality of God in life produces the centrality of worship. The worship in which the Psalms lived was fundamentally different from worship as understood by many people today, because worship in the biblical culture was the natural and undisputed center of the entire community’s life. Therefore, everything that happened, both the good and the bad, in the life of God’s people inevitably was expressed in worship. God hears the psalmist, wherever he may be, and responds to him in His perfect time (Psalms 3:4, Psalms 18:6, Psalms 20:6).

The psalmist is aware that God’s dwelling place is in heaven, but at the same time, God dwells in Zion, in the sanctuary among His people. God is at the same time far and near, everywhere, and in His temple (Psalms 11:4), hidden (Psalms 10:1) and disclosed (Psalms 41:12). In the Psalms these apparently mutually exclusive characteristics of God are brought together. The psalmists understood that proximity and remoteness were inseparable within the true being of God (Psalms 24:7-10). The psalmists understood the dynamics of this spiritual tension. Their awareness of God’s goodness and presence, amid whatever they were experiencing, is what strengthens their hope while they wait for God to intervene, however and whenever He chooses to do so.

How can the Psalms help us understand that we cannot limit God to certain aspects of our existence only? What might be parts of your life in which you are seeking to keep the Lord at a distance?


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