About a week ago I challenged my friends on Facebook, posing the question when was the last time they actually read their Bibles? Really read it – not just looking for the supporting verse to help them win an argument with their least favorite relative. But rather, for the sake of relationship with God and learning from His Word, chapter by chapter and verse by verse. It’s something I haven’t done for a long time.
It’s so easy to find excuses and reasons why I don’t have the time to read. But I was challenged earlier in the month by a friend of mine that said, “Instead of saying we don’t have the time for something, we should say ‘that’s not really a priority for me right now.'” I was astonished at the simplicity of his statement that yet packed a powerful punch of wisdom within it. How often have we told someone we don’t have time for a certain activity, when really we just don’t want to do it? And I realized…it was true. Reading the Bible wasn’t a priority for me. I’d grown far from it and had been relying on my own strength, my own wisdom, to make it through. I’m sure you can guess how the rest of the story goes – me, by myself, is not enough. There’s something missing. Some ingredient of grace that is left desired.
That ingredient is the Sunday school answer, “Jesus.” But it’s packaged in the form of the gracious wisdom provided for all Christians within the living and active Word of God, The Bible. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
So Allie (my wife, if you’re new to the blog) and myself decided that we’d start simple. We’re going to read one Psalm each day. The chapters in Psalms are only a handful of verses long and packed with wisdom. Not to mention, David’s style of writing is so eerily similar to my own heartbeat – very up and praise-filled and then very down and heartbroken, filled with deep angst. It’s the perfect mix of daily, applicable wisdom and the soft relation of understanding that comes from listening to and empathizing with another’s laments.
Today marks the 7th day of our study, so this morning I read Psalm 7. For the next few months I’d like to attempt my hand at writing weekly and sharing what I learned from that week’s 7 chapters. Since this is the introduction, I’ll keep it simple and share my favorite verse from each chapter and what I learned from it. It’d be awesome to hear your feedback and what you’re learning from your own, personal study of Psalms if you’re joining in and following along as I know several friends and family are.
- Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.“
- This passage really called for me to consider my own heart and whether or not I ensure that I am not in step with the wicked of this world. I think about how easy it is to fall into gossip mode or to partake in activities that are really to no one’s benefit. And instead of participating in gossip and slander, what if I were filling my heart with the Word of God and meditating on it day and night? How would I change? How much brighter would I make the lives of the others with the Light shining within me?
- Psalm 2:11 “Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.“
- What happened to the felt-board Jesus? He was playing with sheep and telling the children to come to him. And yet here we are told to celebrate his rule with trembling and serve the Lord with fear? Conflicting messages to hear, especially for someone that’s not versed in reading and understanding the Bible. Growing up in the church, my understanding of passages like this is that it’s a reverent fear, such as respect for the Lord. An example would be that when I consider the depravity of my sin and how I’ve avoided listening to God calling me home for so long, it can leave me lying awake at night in fear of his wrath for my sin. The good news? The New Testament hadn’t been written yet when Psalms was written. And in there, we learn that Jesus died for our sins and has blessed us with eternal life in Him if we’ll accept His gift called Grace, and I’m been writing about Embracing God’s Grace for almost a decade now.
- Psalm 3:5, 8 “I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me. From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.“
- I think it’s interesting to consider how the Lord gives us strength each day. I’m able to take a breath right now and breathe in the sweet air because God has allowed me to. That’s amazing! My life “is but a breath” and yet I have to take so many of those individual breaths in order to stay alive. From the Lord also comes deliverance, and boy how I needed that many times this week. Deliverance from myself – my shortcomings and my own self-pity. Deliverance from the hands of the enemy and his way of twisting my perception of the world and feeding me lies that I’m not enough. Anyone else relate?
- Psalm 4:2 “How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”
- You can sense the weariness of God’s patience. Reminds me of when Allie or myself have told Harvey “no – off!” until we are blue in the face and yet he’s still jumping on the counter and trying to lick where the food had been resting a moment ago. It’s a good question though – how long will we turn his glory into shame and how long will we love lies more than the truth? I heard it said by one of the men in my inner-circle, “How long do we want to wait until we allow God to redeem the situation?”
- Psalm 5:9 “Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with malice. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they tell lies.“
- David is writing about his enemies here, led by the evil one, Satan. I think it’s so important that we remember just how deadly the lies of Satan are. They literally and figuratively lead to the grave. James 3 teaches about the powerful nature of our words and how they can steer the direction of our lives just as a small rudder steers a large ship. It’s important to consider the words that we allow to impact our hearts – are they lies that lead to the grave, or truth that leads to further life?
- Psalm 6:2-3 “Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?“
- If David, “the man after God’s own heart” can feel this way, then surely it’s okay for me to feel it. And if I feel it, then I can’t be the only one. Sometimes it’s just good to read something that you can relate to. Winters bring on a dark season of depression for me. And spiritual warfare has intensified as I’ve done the hard work of breaking sin cycles in my life. Evil is angry because it’s losing its foothold in my heart and life and the more of myself I turn over to Jesus, the more authority I gain from Heaven to send the demons running back to Hell where they came from. And sometimes, we’re weary and faint and wonder, “For the Love, God! When? When will we have rest?” It’s a valid question and it’s okay to ask it.
- Psalm 7:10 “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.“
- Captain America had his shield. It protected him from the bullets of opposition forces and could be used as a weapon, itself, on occasion. Having weapons in our tool-belt like Scripture memory and the Holy Spirit on our side are good, but sometimes we are going to need to defend ourselves. How awesome is it that God, Himself, is our shield?
That does it for this week’s blog! It’s far longer than the rest of the series will likely be. A solid portion of this one is the set-up introducing what I’d like to do with it. Please feel free to join us in our Psalms study. Tomorrow we will be reading Psalm 8! Also feel free to follow, comment, and share. Blessed be just one part of a much larger body. May the Lord our God bring Heaven here for us now.