The Psalms in our Bible are a collection of songs inspired by God, and then kept and used by godly people in Israel.
We don’t find it easy to walk before God—given the troubles and questions that arise in this world. But these God inspired songs provide ways to navigate this difficult territory.
Jesus himself joined his disciples in singing a psalm before heading out to his death (Mark 14:26). These prayers have been treasured, sung and prayed by the whole church for centuries.
So, here’s some comments on various Psalms to help understand what they say. And then, I’ll ‘pray the Psalm’, using it to guide how we may pray today.
Here’s Psalm 1. Read it first. Then see how we need its counsels now. (The words in italics are the points of reference to the Psalm.)
We all need to work out what will guide our life. Here, the choice is clear. We either live by what God says or by what the world says. And we are told why one is a happy or blessed choice and why the other way perishes.
God’s word is delightful—not a burden. It’s worth thinking about often. Worth living by.
God’s law isn’t just commandments. It’s God’s guide for our relationship with him as we travel towards the future he is making. Think of how the 10 commandments begins. ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery’ (Exod. 20:1).
If we know God loves the world and has sent his Son to us, and that he has paid for our sins and reconciled us to God, we’ve got good reason to think that living with him in his congregation is a good idea.
And it doesn’t take long to realise that doing what God says rather than following our instincts makes for a better life, and a better community, as well as a better future.
Godly people—that is, people who love what God does and says, grow like healthy nourished trees. They are useful and eager.
On the other hand, ungodly people are not believing in, fearing or following their Creator. But they give counsel about how to live, they provide a way to fulfill this advice, and scoff at anything different. It’s easy to want to fit into this world, but we’re being told that it’s not worth the risk.
God sees these ungodly peopleas chaff that blows away in the wind. They will perish. The world may not think about God, but God is thinking about them. This is his world. It works by his rules. He remains kind to all that he’s made (Matt. 5:45). But he’s still in charge and determines what works, and what happens when he is ignored.
This judgement has already begun. People who leave God out are revolving without a centre, striving without the needed power and with nothing sure to aim for. They don’t have a Father (Eph. 2:12). God has decided that everything must revolve around Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:10).
How much better to be in a community of the righteous! God knows these people—and in the Bible, this means God is near to them, and helping them. He has chosen them to inherit his future.
So, let’s pray.
Our Father in heaven, the world you have made is warm and close and provides many things we need. But when it turns against you, when it invents its own wisdom, creates its own way and emboldens itself with distain, it becomes cold and distant—even threatening.
Father, enliven us to hear your commands, cherish your ways and trust your counsels. Teach us to see Christ as the Lord who brings us to you, and who will unite everything into the future you have planned.
Thank you for the promise of blessing or happiness when we follow your way. Thank you that you know us and that you make all that we do to prosper. Make us like fruitful trees. Amen.