PSALMS in the biblical corpus offer the reader, singer and player an expansive landscape of the human emotions for life. Everything that could viably be felt and theologically deduced is captured in these one hundred fifty eternalised sonnets.
On a recent night of lament, imprecation, reflection, praise and worship one dozen psalms were played by the Sons of Korah — a group of musicians in their twenty-first year.
The one dozen psalms were: 19, 79, 94, 42, 77, 84, 96, 92, 121, 23, 139, and 91. Although personal favourites (Psalms 35, 51, 93, and 123) weren’t played, there was such a sense of the special nature of singing these divine songs of depth.
Psalm 19 is regal in nature and never too far away from being representative of royal virtue over the entire collection.
Psalm 79 is a classic psalm of imprecation — of complaint to God for the sheer abstemiousness of Jerusalem’s suffering. “How long, O Lord?” (Verse 5a) How long will injustice rain down over God’s people?
Psalm 94 profiles God who is the Avenger of the righteous. “Shine forth!” the first verse of 23 booms. Even in such dire circumstances as command this plea there is faith enough to say, “When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.” (Verse 19)
Psalm 42 is, of course, rich as a dirge to the power of life to sweep us away on a torrent that disdains our very being. When “tears have been my food day and night” (verse 3) no wonder “deep calls to deep” and our souls are “down cast.”
Psalm 77 features the very famous words, “yet your footprints were unseen.” The works of God’s mighty deeds are recalled, but it is intermingled with complaints and praises, as faithfully as many of the psalms do.
Psalm 84 refers to the Valley of Baca — the place of desolate weeping — but in a way that envisions victory if nothing else by the imagery of “springs” when springs might become the least and pettiest of our concerns. God is the carer of our souls. He really does care.
Psalm 92 — a Sabbath psalm — demonstrates the justice of being and doing that the psalmist knows (beforehand) he is blessed in the company of God.
Psalm 96 tells us that there are times when we wish to sing a new song. And the typical pattern of justice in an unjust world takes place. This psalm gives us confidence.
Psalm 121 is such a sweet psalm… “[H]e who keeps you will not slumber” gives us hope that God will never sleep or slumber.
Psalm 23 is replete with eternity in the gaze of life where God sets “a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” that, no matter what, God will be with us, “Even though [we] walk through the darkest valley.”
Psalm 139 tells us so much about how and why God created us. We are so precious in his sight. He planned us meticulously.
Psalm 91 is such an appropriate psalm to reflect upon as a blessing. But what about disasters? No disaster will befall us who would do anything to obey God. Nothing can happen that should dissuade us from God.
One thing worse than losing everything in life is losing everything in eternity.
Those who lose every good thing in this life will receive abundantly more in eternity.
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.