Letter To Our Children
by Pastor Joe | January 10, 2024 | Letters To Our Children
Hello friends! Happy New Year!
According to all the major Bible websites, the Book of Psalms is the most-googled book of the Bible. Psalm 91, followed by Psalm 23, was the most googled Bible chapter by the six largest cities in America in 2022. Most Christians have a favorite Psalm. Do you?
People who are or are not Christians have found ways to connect with the Psalms because they speak to what it means to be human in our broken world. We can be afraid. We can worry terribly. We can be happy to the point of feeling like we will explode. We can be white-hot angry. We can lose hope and be in despair. We can be oppressed and have our hearts broken; we can be renewed and refreshed and see our lives return to good form. In all this and more, the Psalms teach us not to bottle up these things inside. The Psalms are medicine for the soul.
In the national newspaper of Australia, a gentleman named Peter Craven wrote:
If ever there were poems for troubling times, they are the Psalms. These poems were written in Hebrew some nine centuries before the birth of Christ and (most) attributed to King David – but in fact, they’re a collective effort on the part of the Jewish people to make sense of the exaltations and desolations of the world.
They are fundamental to whatever culture we have, regardless of whatever religion we might come…from. In the streets of Karachi, people will know at the back of their minds that the phrase “My cup runneth over” is from the 23rd psalm: “The Lord is my shepherd, he maketh me to lie down in green pastures… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death… surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.” It is a supremely tranquil poem, and part of the radiance and comfort of this Psalm is the way it doesn’t blink at death; instead, it speaks of order, calm, and peace.
This article makes a great point on why the Psalms continue to capture our imagination and how many of the common phrases people use daily come right from the Psalms!
Sometimes, the Psalms, such as Psalm 35, can confuse us. In verse eight, David wants those trying to harm him to fall into a pit to their ruin! (The Hebrew word for ruin means to be overwhelmed by force so they will be knocked out or even die!)
This will help us. We should understand that unless David is speaking as king or judge, the psalmist leaves the justice and revenge to God and does not personally take revenge, just as the New Testament commands (Romans 12:19). He may ask God to do something, but he leaves it there.
With that kind of thing, the New Testament reminds us that our enemies deserve what we deserve, too, but Jesus took our punishment so that we could be forgiven and have peace with God. We are to want the same for them.
Biblical scholar, pastor, and writer Alec Motyer reminds us that the inspired psalmists knew less about God than Christians do. Therefore, we should glory in the cross, love, and pray for our enemies, recognizing, although not impossible, it is tough to be angry at people and not sin. (Ephesians 4:26)
God bless you this week in all ways, great and small.
P.S. When speaking to, calling, or texting a person in need, I often read or text them verses from a Psalm. Sometimes, people will ask, what chapter and verse were that again? I am glad when they do.