Good morning! Today’s passage (Psalms 90-94) dwells for the most part on the relationship between righteousness and wickedness. In the confident understanding found in most of these psalms, God establishes the way of virtue, then helps law-abiders to stay within it and punishes those who fall outside of it.
Good morning! Today with Psalms 88 and 89 we get a glimpse of two eternals, and the temporary in between them, fraught with inexplicable suffering. Finite human lives are all the more precious when juxtaposed with the realms of heaven and Sheol.
June 28: Good morning! Today in Psalms 83-87 amid what we have read before (pleas for deliverance from enemies, personal devotion to God) comes several beautiful depictions of life at its best. Ancient Israel’s highest aspirations are realized at physical and metaphysical mountaintops.
Good morning! Today’s passage come from a little later in Israel’s history, when the suffering of God’s “chosen people” is a reality clamoring for explanation and response. These psalms (79-82) lament the suffering and plead for the return of God’s protection, then suggest two possible reasons (disloyalty and injustice) for the suffering of God’s people.
Good morning! We are over halfway through the book of Psalms now, and today only have two chapters to consider (Psalms 77-78). Both look backward to salvation history for encouragement and exhortation in the current moment.
Good morning! Today we start the third subsection of the Psalms. Book 3 appears to be from a time after David, perhaps in the time of the temple’s flourishing under Solomon and later rulers. One clue about this comes in the fact that so many of these psalms are dedicated to or from Asaph or “the Korahites”, both of which may be professional music communities that took root in the relative leisure years after the successful establishment of David’s monarchy.
Good morning! Today with Psalms 69-72 we finish the subsection of the Psalms that are attributed directly to King David.
Good morning! Hebrew writers and priests borrowed many things from other cultures, and perhaps the most worldwide religious phenomenon is discovering divinity in the natural world. Some parts of the Bible decry looking for God in nature (see the destruction of trees which were Asherah poles), but the psalms are shot through with references to God in creation. Our passage for today (Psalms 62-68) particularly exemplifies this universal wisdom.
Good morning! We are now past the first third of the Psalms, and closing in on halfway through. Today in Psalms 55-61 we see a wide variety of sentiments and dispositions. One of the only things these seven psalms have (largely) in common is a desire to connect the psalm to a time and a place in King David’s life. These honorary superscripts are almost certainly added after the psalm was written, but they’re responding to a universal human desire to recognize events and ourselves as part of a divine story. When a companion betrays (55), the wicked seem to get off scot-free (58), and one wonders if God is asleep (59), it’s reassuring to keep in mind that the story is not finished yet.
Good morning! Can you imagine reading through one of the hymnals at synagogue or church? What if there was no music there, but the words were clearly arranged in parallel phrases? Individual songs would stand with their own meaning, yet be grouped with similar ones. Every so often there would be a dramatic shift in the topics discussed, like perhaps between Good Friday and Easter hymns. So it is with the psalms—each song is unique and distinct, yet they are bound together as the songbook of Scripture. Some have more meaning or significance than others, or catch the modern eye differently. Today’s passage (Psalms 49-54) leads us past the first third of this songbook. While each psalm has its own merits, 50 and 51 are most interesting to me today.