I love the intimacy of God in Psalm 139. God knows me. He made me and assembled me into who I am. I am not just one of many, I am unique and I was created. I have purpose and meaning. There is a reason God created me the way he did, the time he did and in the place he did. I need to know that God knows me like this. I am special…as corny as that sounds!
Psalm 136 seems to be written in a response format. The worship leader reads the first line and the congregation replies with “His faithful love endures forever”. 26 times the people repeat this phrase and 26 times the people remember that God is faithful. How many times do you remind yourself throughout the day that God is faithful to you? It might not be such a bad practice to get into.
It is true, as it says it Psalm 133, that harmony is precious. To have harmony is to be living in the reality of the Kingdom. Christians have a reputation for disharmony. We fight over doctrine, music, programs, money and even the color of carpet. They (the world) is to know we are Christians by our love. I pray for harmony between followers of Christ because our reputation has taken a big hit.
Psalm 126 is one we sing often. The title is “You Have Done Great Things”.
Psalm 120-134 are Pilgrim songs. They were to be sung by Jews that were returning to Jerusalem and by the priests as they walked the steps of the Temple. They are still sung as a regular part of worship in many orthodox denominations. We sing these Psalms in various worship songs like this one; “I Lift My Eyes Up”
Back on December 13th (2009), I gave a message on the Word of God. The Word is Jesus. In Psalm 199:105 so many people see this passage as talking about the pages of Scripture but it isn’t. The Word is Jesus as it relates to Wisdom and the light is the Law of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Law and is the one who guides us into this truth.
Psalm 119:105 PDT (Pastor Doug’s Translation)
Jesus is a guide for my journey through life
His example and commands show me the way
There seems to be some tension between freedom and sin in this psalm. I find it interesting that to cover sin I like to justify it as freedom. I am comfortable to not conform to the teaching of Jesus to care for others if I can justify that I’m no worse off than the rest of my culture. As long as I’m not as bad as others, I’m comfortable to disobey God. I need to cling more to the words in Psalm 119:61 Evil people try to drag me into sin, but I am firmly anchored to your instructions.
Psalm 119 is an example of the most fully developed form of alphabetic acrostic. Each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is represented by an eight-line stanza. All eight lines of each stanza begin with the appropriate sequential letter. This psalm is a didactic meditation on the characteristics and blessings of God’s law. Eight distinct terms for God’s law appear repeatedly throughout the psalm. This may explain the eight-fold repetition of each letter in the psalm.
The purpose of this acrostic and the dozens of other alphabetical acrostics in the Scriptures seems to be there to show the comprehensiveness or completeness of the text and subject matter. With 176 verses, I didn’t need an acrostic to see the fullness of Psalm 119!
Another great worship song comes from Psalm 115 that we sing often as a church.
I have always been interested in the creativity of a good acrostic. An acrostic is a list of words or sentences that form another word when you line up the first letters of each word or line.
A classic example of acrostic poem in English written by Edgar Allan Poe is entitled simply An Acrostic:
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
"Love not" — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe's talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside --
His follie — pride — and passion — for he died.
Psalm 111 and 112 are both acrostics. Each line begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There is not a lot of significance to this but it shows the poetic nature of these psalms. We will cover more on these acrostics when we get to Psalm 119.
This blog was originally written by Pastor Doug Bartel of Hillcrest Church, starting in Spring 2009. Keep that in mind if you read anything that doesn't quite add up to the time of year.