I will praise Him!
I loved this book. It would make a good resource for anyone to get a different perspective on the book of Psalms. I thought the cover of the book was very appropriate showing the sky with lightning bolts coming down and touching the green grass. Isn’t it like that with God – how He shows his power and majesty?
I really like that the author chose Psalms 19 to begin his look at certain chapters of the book of Psalms. In Psalms the author mentioned the first witness (God) speaks through creation. Then the author continues in Psalms 19 mentioning the second witness (God) speaks to us from His Holy Word. The third witness in Psalm 19 is about our response to God. The author painted clear pictures of these Psalms to make the Bible come alive for me.
There were other verses of the Bible from other books of the Bible that corresponded to the verses of the Psalms for all of us to get a bigger picture of what God says to us. Oh, how we can worship the LORD!
I liked that the author included a section after each chapter that would initiate a response from us to make us think and meditate on these chapters of the Psalms and other Scripture in the Bible.
I give this book 5 stars. Thank you, David Kitz for a wonderful, thought provoking book.
Psalms Alive, has been nominated for the Book of the Month award hosted by Interviews and Reviews.
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Reading: Psalm 105
He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the LORD proved him true.
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom (NIV).
Here is a question for you. Is bad news always bad news, or is it good news in disguise?
Sometimes what initially appears to be a very bad change of circumstances can over time turn out for the better. The story of the patriarch, Joseph, illustrates this truth perfectly. No one would be foolish enough to call Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers a good news event. Being sold as a foreign slave in Egypt was in many respects a death sentence. How could something good or meaningful come from the life of an obscure young slave?
But that obscure young slave rose above his circumstances and changed the course of nations. His faith and actions more than three millennia ago still have ramifications for us today. How would Egypt have survived seven years of famine without the foresight and wisdom of Joseph? Would there be a Jewish nation today without the guiding hand of Joseph, who was strategically positioned at such a critical time in history?
What began as a bad news story, turned into the salvation of a nation. Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).
Sometimes I wonder what thoughts, hopes and dreams sustained Joseph during his darkest hours. God most certainly was with him. He did not go down to Egypt alone. When we receive bad news, is it always genuinely bad? If God is with us in the hard times, great good may yet come from our most negative experiences. He is a redemptive God who turns darkness to light, mourning to gladness, and curses into blessings. Surely, this is why St. Paul admonishes us with these words: give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Response: Father God, when bad news comes give me a thankful heart and a right perspective. Your ways are higher than mine. You know the end before the beginning starts. I choose to trust you. Amen.
Your Turn: Over time has the Lord turned bad news into good news for you?
Reading: Psalm 105
He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”
When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
“Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm” (NIV).
Covenant is a term that is not used much in daily speech. The Encarta Dictionary provides us with this definition of covenant: a solemn agreement that is binding on all parties. By that definition marriage is a covenant that we enter into. A sound Christian marriage is a three-way covenant between the husband, the wife and their Creator.
Encarta also provides a biblical definition of God’s enduring covenant with His people: in the Bible, the promises that were made between God and the Israelites, who agreed to worship no other gods.
There is something very exclusive about both these covenants. In our marriage vows we covenant or promise to love each other exclusively. No other lover may intrude. In the same way no other gods may intrude into the covenant relationship that we have with God. The LORD wants us exclusively for Himself. That is the nature of true love. It is jealous—zealous and jealous in guarding that relationship.
God’s zealous and jealous love for His people is clearly visible in today’s reading from Psalm 105. We read: He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations. A thousand generations is a long time, 25,000 years by the commonly used reckoning. But forever is much longer. What an incredible love the LORD has for us!
We serve a faithful, passionate God who will remain true to His covenant. The question that remains for us is, will we remain true to our end of the bargain? Will we be faithful, passionate and committed in our love for the LORD? Through Christ we have an eternal inheritance by a covenant that is not of this world. Praise be to God for his enduring love.
Response: Father God, thank you for your love and faithfulness even when I have gone astray. You draw me back. Today, I renew my covenant with you. I commit myself afresh to loving and serving you. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you stayed faithful to your covenant? Does your covenant need to be renewed?
Reading: Psalm 105
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth (NIV).
This past Sunday during the children’s church time the pastor led the children in a rousing chorus of “Jesus Loves Me.” In case you need a quick refresher, here is the first verse of that much loved children’s hymn: Jesus loves me! This I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
I remember singing this song with much gusto as a young tyke at Vacation Bible School. I took special comfort from this line: Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong.
As a child I was well aware that I needed the strength of Jesus, since I had so little strength of my own. As we grow up and mature into adulthood we can forget to depend on the Lord’s strength. We have plenty of our own strength. Soon we can find ourselves relying on our own intellect and resources to solve problems as they come our way. Who needs Jesus when we can make our own way in life? Maybe we don’t consciously say that, but our actions reflect that line of reasoning.
The children’s song “Jesus Loves Me” might have been inspired by a line from Psalm 105 where we read, Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
The plain truth is that I need the LORD and His strength at every stage of my life. My strength on every level is minuscule in the sight of God. That’s why I need to seek his face continually. His wisdom surpasses my limited understanding. I have so little strength on my own, but His power is all surpassing. How foolish we are to rely on our abilities, when the Lord offers to walk through this life right beside us. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29).
Response: Lord Jesus, you are strong—strong enough to carry the cross on my behalf—strong enough to purchase my redemption. I look to you for strength and salvation. Always guide my steps. I confess that I need you at every stage of my life. Amen.
Your Turn: Did you find it easier to trust in Jesus as a child than as an adult?
Reading: Psalm 104
All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face, they are terrified;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works—
he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the LORD all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the LORD.
But may sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
Praise the LORD, my soul. Praise the LORD (NIV).
There is a line from today’s reading from Psalm 104 which is particularly relevant as we think about life and death: when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.
In context of this psalm, the author was speaking of all creatures, in other words the animal kingdom, but these words apply to all that breathe the breath of life, including humans. For Victor, who struggled for every breath during the last years of his life, the words of this psalm had true meaning. But the second part of this psalm reading is also pertinent in the context of a funeral: When you send your Spirit, they are created.
I believe in the resurrection of the dead. The grave is not the final end for those who have placed their faith in Christ. A great re-creation will happen. The grave could not hold Jesus, and a day is coming when it will not hold Victor, or any who have died in the faith. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
Response: Father God, send your reviving Spirit. Come, Lord Jesus. I long for your return. Amen.
Your Turn: Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead? Who do you long to greet on the other side?
Reading: Psalm 104
He made the moon to mark the seasons,
and the sun knows when to go down.
You bring darkness, it becomes night,
and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar for their prey
and seek their food from God.
The sun rises, and they steal away;
they return and lie down in their dens.
Then people go out to their work,
to their labor until evening.
How many are your works, LORD!
In wisdom you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious,
teeming with creatures beyond number—
living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro,
and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there (NIV).
Yesterday, my wife and I collected beautiful ripe tomatoes from our garden. But I expect in another month a hard frost will be on its way. By the end of October we will be digging out the potatoes and root vegetables and putting them into storage. The seasons are changing. They always have. In this part of the world, all we can do is prepare for the transition; we can’t prevent it from happening.
In reality, transitions are about rest and renewal. The setting sun lets us know that it’s time to stop our labor and get the rest that is essential for our well-being. In the same way as winter approaches trees and vegetation go dormant, but after a season of rest the great spring renewal will surely come. It always has, and so it will continue until the end of time.
In the same way there is a renewal promised to us at the end this life. Resurrection happens every spring and it will happen to this old clod of earth as well. That’s the great hope we have because of Christ. The word of God has been planted in our hearts and it will bear fruit now and in eternity, which has been promised to those who believe. Do you believe? Do you have faith in the changing seasons? Do you have faith in the One who created the seasons?
Response: Father God, thank you for designing the days, months and seasons. I want to draw near to you in every season of life. How many are your works, LORD! You are worthy of all praise. Renew and refresh me in the seasons of my life. Amen.
Your Turn: What is your favorite season? Why?