The Heart of the Psalms

The book of Psalms exhibits this beautiful form of writing and expresses the deepest feelings and thoughts of its authors. The Psalms are a unique collection of prayers or hymns to or about God written mainly by King David, however there are also some written by the Sons of Korah, Asaph, and some anonymous writers. There is not any one theme to Psalms, but the majority can fall into the categories of prayers and praises. There are 7 different types of psalms, they are: Laments, thanksgiving, hymns of praise, salvation-history, celebration and affirmation, wisdom and songs of trust.

Impressively, a majority of the psalms are laments. The author is so open and honest and true to the heart. The psalmist expressed completely everything they were feeling and it basically is a full vent to God without masking their personal feelings – yet they always come back to the truth of who God is and declare their trust in Him. That is something today’s church should come to recognize. It seems too often that believers hold back their deepest feelings when they cry out to God as if He doesn’t already see their heart and know the innermost parts of them. More-so, the heart-felt declaration of trust in God’s sovereignty over their current situation is amiss.  This was a personal challenge for me as to how much my trust is in God, and if there is a consistent knowing and realization of His hand in every area of my life.

As with the way that the Psalms are written, it is hard to choose just any one as a favorite, let alone a favorite verse. It is so easy to change your favorite psalm based on which you can currently relate your feelings and your heart’s cry to. Those are often the ones that stand out the most and what we gravitate toward. The Psalms can be a comfort and a reassurance as they generally fall back into a declaration of trust in God. Some of my personal favorites are Psalm 13:5-6: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation 6 I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.”(NIV) Seeing this line starts with a conjunction, it shows that up to this point, everything that said before that may be true, however what comes after – the declaration of trust and the acknowledgement of who God is takes the focus of the psalmist.

There is also Psalm 46:10 which says:

Be Still

This is a call to throw away the distractions and to know and be known at the deepest level by God. This psalm shows the intimacy available to us and His power and place, authority and worthiness. The greatest power in the psalms is the recognition of who God is.

Psalm 103 is a favorite of mine and holds a lot of significance for me. It is a Psalm of David written praising God for His mercies and blessing His name. It is praise to God who forgives and heals and redeems and who satisfies. This psalm proclaims not just his mercy, but his graciousness and his worthiness to be praised. The imagery it creates is so beautiful – especially in verses 11-12 where it says:

Forgiven

“As far as the east is from the west…” can raise the question as to just how far the east is from the west – eternally far! How beautiful the picture those verses create.

This psalm continues describing the fragility of man and ends with the establishment of the power of God and blessing Him for all He is, for all He has done and with everything that is in you. Bless the Lord, indeed!

Another favorite, also written by David is Psalm 139. This psalm describes so well God’s deep-knowing of you and how He is ever-present in your life – even before you were conceived. It contains an invitation for God to come and search the heart and asks for guidance. Verses 7-10 show so well just how present God is in our lives:

“7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

8 if I ascend into the heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Those verses also show the value that God places on our lives. Continuing through the psalm we read how He formed us, and before we were born He had our days written – He had a purpose for us. It is awe-inspiring reading and really recognizing how precious we are to God. What a wonder to think about!

The heart of the psalmist is pure, honest, fragrant and poured out into these psalms. Especially those of David, who was called a man after God’s own heart, to read the words that He had written is to see a glimpse of His heart for God and even through that – to catch the slightest hint of the very heart of God. The psalms are very powerful and beautiful. They show a pattern that we should recognize and be in today – a place where we recognize our circumstances, but choose to dwell on who God is and his mercy, goodness, and loving-kindness. 

Where does your heart relate to the psalms today?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Rock of the Ages | Single Seasons ~ Lady-in-Waiting

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