Psalming Things Up

Let’s start this day on an uplifting note. 

Celebrating in song, poetically lifting ourselves higher we can find out together why it’s important to proclaim Psalm things up on this edition of “Becoming Today”.

So what are Psalms? 

Why are they important? 

And if they’re supposed to be poems how come they don’t rhyme? 

Taken from a collection originating in the Old Testament, they are poems that were intended to be sung. In the Hebrew scriptures the term is Tehillim translated as “Songs of Praise”.

So this book is not necessarily meant to be a lecture or a sermon, nor does it outline doctrine or specific community based regulations. It is art. Being used to express and profess love and appreciation. Both for God, and for us by the Creator. 

Understanding that still Martin Luther noted that “the entire Bible is contained in the Psalms” .

So why study the Psalms?

Because they are important reminders of how we can lovingly and creatively express ourselves and proclaim our beliefs, empowering our “Becoming”. That’s why today, I’ll be singing out in praise. 

Before I forget…. Why don’t they rhyme?

Well all poetry does not have and the cadence is different as none were written in English, so that’s how I rationalize that I can be as far off key as I want to be and it’s still beautiful….lol.

Now that we share a common understanding of what psalms are all about, let’s share some time together in expressing them.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been feeling called to teach from The Passion Translation. Personally I enjoy the language. Adapted more to the language of our times, it’s also been done beautifully and truly petically.

So even  if you’ve studied the Psalms before, I think today’s conversation may bring light to them in a fresh way.

While I could go on for a whole month on this topic, for the purposes of our discussion today I’m limiting myself to eight. These are ones that seem to me, to be foundational as well as reflective of our needs at this present time.

Let’s begin with an oft quoted anthem – Psalm 118:24,

“This is the very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee”.

It is indeed  a day that the Lord has made, so why not rejoice and be glad in it? Gleefully celebrating rather than trudging our way through a monotony of tasks is certainly a better way to begin another week along our shared path we call “Becoming Today”.

Notice we have a choice to make here. We can either choose to rejoice or decide to let others or circumstances rob us of our joy.

If you’re leaning towards the latter option, then let me suggest Psalm 27:1,

“Yahweh is my revelation-light and the source of my salvation.

I fear no one! I’ll never turn back and run, for you, Yahweh, surround and protect me”.

Written by David and ascribed as his poetic praise to God before he was anointed king, it teaches and reminds us that no matter what challenge you may be facing, or if you’re feeling dragged down, there is hope readily available.

If you believe that the Lord is your light and salvation, then what do you have to fear? Some translations proclaim that if you are in accord with the Lord, then what can mere mortals do to you?

Really trusting in the deliverance of the Creator, why should we be fearful, as instructed in Philippians 4:6,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.

It doesn’t matter what your current obstacle may be as we can read in Psalm 56. Where even though Davis has been taken captive by enemies and refuses to become fearful and calls out in prayer,

“But in the day that I’m afraid, I lay all my fears before you  and trust in you with all my heart. What harm could a man bring to me? With God on my side, I will not be afraid of what comes. The roaring praises of God fill my heart as I trust his promises”.

And there are many to trust. In the BIble God makes over 5,000 promises. You can also find in the English language translations 365 references to the phrase “fear not”. With one for everyday not only is that readily available fresh inspiration, since it’s repeated so much, it has to be important. 

So for myself, today I will sing out In God I trust; I will not be afraid.

Plus I’ll also recall Psalm 31:24, 

“So cheer up! Take courage, all you who love him. Wait for him to break through for you, all who trust in him!”.

Are you feeling more inspired yet? I hope so, however if you’re not feeling it yet, fear not we’re only halfway through today’s list.

Psalm 143:8, is definitely a good starting point for any day of the week.

“Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love.Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you.”

Everyday brings us fresh opportunities. It allows for the possibility of receiving God’s love, mercy, grace, joy, peace and protections. Offered daily renewed each morning and all we have to do is ask and receive, while believing in the infinite wonders.

That’s the path traveled by David as he professes his faith in the 23rd Psalm, 

“Yahweh is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.His tracks take me to an oasis of peace near the quiet brook of bliss”.

The peace and bliss along a quiet stream. A place to rest offering us the peace to be still enough to hear the Creator reassure us that He is and always will be with us.

The more traditional versions of this passage begin with The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want, and whether your peaceful place is the quiet brook of bliss or green pastures thre message remains the same, your sense of life is revived by taking time to heal and feel your soul being restored.

It does not have to be a seven step process it can all happen in an instance, in a mere moment that small still voice can inspire you to make this your turning point day. Once you accept that it can then be revealed to you as verse three continues, 

“That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me the right path and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honor to his name”.

I’ve been asked a number of times, if I”m hurting, if I’m in pain, if circumstances are conspiring against me, why should I praise?

The answer?

Because good triumphs over evil, and when we are at the weakest, the one who created us is always there for us.

As Psalm 34:18 reminds us,

“The Lord is close to all whose hearts are crushed by pain,and he is always ready to restore the repentant one”.

Not only is he promising to stand by you when the world has left you down, he also is there when you have made mistakes. If you understand you played a role in your perceived trouble his forgiveness is present and his reassurance is readily available.

Why because He loves us. Unconditionally without limitation or reservation. As is sung in Psalm 117:2,

“For he has conquered us with his great love, and his kindness has melted our hearts.

    His faithfulness lasts forever, and he will never fail you…”.

He is faithful to His promise and adapting the words of a more modern song He says to each of us, “I’ll stand by you. Won’t let nobody hurt you I’ll stand by you…”.

With that in mind and embraced in our hearts we can then finish the psalm’s verse by singing out, 

“So go ahead, let it all out! Praise Yah! O Yah!”

Just a note on that translation. I know it’s something that many may not be accustomed to seeing. In The Passion Translation it’s intended to be praising God, as Yah is an adaptation of a Hebrew symbol Jah which also is derived from Aramaic as an abbreviated form of Yahweh, one of the Scriptural names for God.

I also understand that in British slang, yah is defined as  yes. It’s used when someone is really excited about something.

So for me I’ll take the double meaning as I celebrate ‘Psalm Day This Is!’,  by proclaiming Praise God, YES, YES!

I hope you found today’s discussion uplifting and a positive motivator to get your week started off right.

If you have a favorite Psalm, it doesn’t matter what version of the Bible you’re familiar with or prefer, go ahead and share it with us. In your comment also include why it’s helpful and encouraging for you. 

That way we can all continue to grow and learn together, perhaps even tomorrow here on this shared path we call “Becoming Today”.


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