Last year at Bible study fellowship we studied several chapters in Proverbs. Our lecturer referenced something she’d read that referred to Proverbs as the smelling salts and Psalms as the ointment cabinet of the Bible, respectively. Every analogy breaks down at some point, but that one has stuck with me.
My three and a half year old daughter Regina is currently in the toddler “wound phase” – she’s obsessed with cuts and scrapes. Mostly her own, but occasionally other people’s as well. We have a pretty strict policy of no band-aids unless there’s actually a real need (there would be a bandage shortage otherwise 😉 ) but nevertheless I keep a tube of bacitracin and a box of Disney Princess band-aids in my purse at all times. It can’t hurt to be prepared!
I currently have three Psalms memorized. The comfort, conviction, strength, joy, and many other blessings dwelling on these Psalms has brought so far is immeasurable, so I legitimately can’t wait to learn the remaining 147 in the coming years!
In this post I’ll share a few insights and stories from these three chapters. I would love to hear from you about your favorite Psalms as well!
I memorized Psalm 9 in the KJV translation with a wonderful friend by her suggestion. It was really meaningful to text back and forth for a few weeks as we added verses and gleaned insights from the text. I review it frequently (every three days or so) and am always spurred to deeper certainty of God’s just judgment of sin and His great mercy to all who put their trust in Him.
Just a few weeks after finishing it, that same friend and I went to pray and sidewalk counsel at the abortion clinic. It was bitterly cold out and it was a heartbreaking morning, full of rejection from the clinic staff and parents intent on aborting their children. I went home, survived until the kid’s nap time, then collapsed into bed. I felt the deepest despair I’ve experienced to date, but the Spirit prompted me (and gave me the energy) to say Psalm 9 aloud. These verses in particular filled me with so much hope that I got out of bed, confident in His sovereignty and goodness, ready to press onward:
“And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name will put their trust in Thee: for thou, Lord, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing praises to the Lord, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people His doings. When He maketh inquisition for blood, He remembereth them: He forgetteth not the cry of the humble. Have mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That I may shew forth all Thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in thy salvation.” – Psalms 9:8-14
The next Psalm I memorized and one that I pray through nearly every morning is Psalm 19. If last week’s post spurred you to memorize something, I’d really commend this one to you. Starting the day with this petition to God does truly revive my soul, rejoice my heart, and enlighten my eyes to His worthiness:
“Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” – Psalms 19:12-14
Every Tuesday I review Psalm 103, which I memorized a few years ago with my awesome sister-in-law. I would really encourage you to dwell on this one often as well. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, this passage lifts my eyes to the Creator King’s righteousness and the compassion He shows to His children, remembering that we are dust. The ending of the Psalm is so marvelous too:
“The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all….Praise the Lord, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise Yahweh!” – Psalms 103:19, 22
David first records that God’s Kingdom rules over all things, then urges that all His works ought to praise Him. We know from Revelation 5 that they indeed will! David ends the Psalm the way he begins it, exhorting his own soul to join in that praise. I love joining in with the myriads- glorifying and enjoying God today, tomorrow, and forever!
I hope this post has been edifying. I’m so very aware that this present life is really grueling and all too often absolutely painful and deeply sad. As Christian pilgrims we live in the already but not yet. That means we still gotta keep ointment and band-aids on hand in our backpacks. So be sure to leave home with plenty of Psalms-truth on hand, dear brothers and sisters.