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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, July 30, 2012

PSALMS - YOU CAN'T READ JUST ONE!





I took this photo of the boy and his camel in 1999 while traveling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is a special place in the Holy Land, desolate, not far from Jericho, and near the 'Valley of the Shadow of Death' mentioned in the 23rd Psalm. Yes, this valley is a real place!  There is a long, narrow winding road that cuts through steep mountains. It was a dangerous road traveled often by merchants who were threatened by thieves and murderers. 
And, this is why it was called the 'Valley of the Shadow of Death'.

Imagine attending a school for Biblical studies.  From Genesis to Job, you study history and what God has to say about people. Then, we stroll down the hall to a room marked 'Literature 101' and begin a study of the Book of Psalms and discover what David, and others, have to say about God and to God.  You will find that, like eating potato chips - you can't eat just one - you can't read just one psalm. Once you whet your appetite, you will literally hunger for more!

The psalms are the largest known collection of ancient lyric poetry. They cover the whole range of human emotion, from dark depression to exuberant joy. Nearly half the Book of Psalms, 73 of them, are thought to have been written by David. All of the psalms are part of the religious life and worship of Israel. They are intensely personal - we have a very personal God!  You'll find Jesus Christ in the psalms. 

On a Mother's Day, many years ago, my daughter bought me a Torah, the Jewish Scriptures, as a gift. She and a Jewish friend came for the day. She was eager to see how different the wording in the Torah might be from our Bible.  "Let's pick something familiar that we all know", she said. "How about Psalm 23?" I started to read, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want". . .I paused and looked up.  The look on the young man's face stopped me from continuing. He was in total awe of what he had just read. "Wow, that is an amazing statement",  he said.  He was so right - "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."  Period.  I was not only touched by his reaction, I felt somewhat ashamed that as many times as I'd read those words, they hadn't fully resonated with me. . .I shall not want! In other words, God will give me all I need, I will lack nothing. What peace this brings.  Fear and worry should not be a part of a Christian's  life.

As the psalm writers meditated on who God is, they begin to see the totality of Him - creator, king, judge - yes, but so much more on a very personal level - our shield, shepherd, father, redeemer, savior and Lord. The psalms contain heartfelt prayers and praises to God. You may be stunned by their honesty.  By reading them, we are able to become more honest with God. He knows our every thought, but it is a powerful privilege for us to be able to express what we're feeling. . .the good, the pain, praises, fears, sorrows and joys. 

The Lord often meets me in a psalm. In fact, I've come to rely on it. I've been taught to avoid much of the pain in life by reading them. For example, when I am tempted to get 'shook' over a situation, I think of Ps. 16:8

"I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken."

Of course we need the Lord to remind us of spiritual truth or we go 'bonkers' at the least little thing that disturbs our peace!  Actually, I think I'll tape this verse to my computer.  Would you like to know what I went through to insert the photo of the boy and his camel?  Best that I don't dwell on that, you don't want to know! 

I thank you for all 150 beautiful psalms Lord.  Only you could have put them into words to be recorded for us to enjoy and give peace to our soul.