Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Finding Joy

So, for us to continue, lets look a bit at the book of Psalms in general.  In its most basic form, it is a hymnal.  A collection of the songs sung in Ancient Jewish worship.  Yes, traditionally King David was believed to have written them all.  However, scholarship can see how the Psalms were written through a much larger time frame than David's life.  They seem to have come together much like our own hymnal, a collection of music and song over time.  This doesn't mean that David did not have a huge influence on the writing of the hymns.  In fact, you will see many of the Psalms were written out of his story! 

The name "Psalms" comes from the Greek name of the book Psalmoi from the verb psallo which means to sing with the accompaniment of a lyre or harp.  The Hebrew name for the book actually means "Praises" and is similar to the root word for hallelujah, a word only found in Psalms in the OT.  Look for the Hallelujahs to signal the beginning or end of a hymn or the beginning or ending of a "book".

There are 5 books in the Psalms, much like there are 5 primary law books in the Hebrew Book of the Old Testament.  The books go like this:


Our own modern hymn/song writers have extensively quoted the Psalms in songs we sing all the time. While we go on this journey lets play a game.  If you see verses that corrolate to songs, point them out!  I won't point them out in my posts--I'll only point them out in comments to give everyone a fair shot at finding them!  Lets see how many we can find together!

Psalm 3--
Do you remember the story of David's son Absalom?  You can read about it in 2 Samuel 13-18 or a shorter version here.  The basic story is that Absalom got very angry after his half-brother badly hurt his sister and plotted revenge.  He even overthrew his father from the throne for a bit.  It was a terrible mess!  In the end, Absalom gets himself caught in a tree by his long hair and is killed by David's soliders.

Keep that in mind as you read this Psalm!  David was sad and mad and scared and hurting!  We all know these feelings!  When he says in verse six, "I won't be afraid of thousands of people surrounding me on all sides"--he really was surrounded by thousands of warriors on all sides.  Yet he still can praise God.  Can you praise God in the midst of such trials? 

Psalm 4--
This theme of praising God in trials continued for me into Psalm 4.  Did you see verses 6 and 7?  Here is my translation:

Many people say, "We can't find goodness anywhere.  The light of your face has left us Lord!" But you have filled my heart with more joy athan when their wheat and wine are everywhere"

That makes sense to me.  Sometimes I find more joy when I have less.  Because when things are good, I expect good.  I don't look for the little happiness or joy.  I don't spend time trying to seek out the happy. I get complacent.  What about you?  When do you find the most joy?

What stuck out for you this time?  What messages were these Psalms "singing" to you?

Pastor Emily

Dear God--Let us find ways this day to find happiness and joy in the small things. Let us praise you in the midst of trials.  Let us grow closer to you in love.  In Jesus' name we pray! Amen


Brittany H. said...

Psalm 4 really hit home for me today. I agree that we look for joy more diligently when we have less and it is easy to let material things take power over our happiness. When those things are taken from us we dig deeper for faith and it helps us find the real true joy.

Lindsay said...

Joy!!! I'm all over joy these days... it has been the "theme" of my pregnancy. The verse that I have clung to during this pregnancy has been John 16:24... "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." (the few verses before are about joy after giving birth... I'll be clinging to those verses during labor for sure!!!!)... I went back and read John 16:24 and then read over Psalm 4 again. The Psalm starts off saying "Answer me, God!!" "Here my prayers" "Relief me from distress" Later it confirms that "the Lord will hear when I call to him." John 16:24 confirms this... God will answer us and fill us with joy, but we have to be willing to seek Him, to call to Him, to admit that we are too weak to do this alone.

Mom said...

I like the picture of the Lord's deliverance in Psalm 91:4. "He will cover you with His feathers. Under His wings you will find refuge." I guess I like the mother hen image better than the shield and ten thousand warriors. But all the same God protects us and keeps us safe! When my husband was sick and in the hospital last month, I felt God's peace and comfort even before I found the words to call out to Him! Thank you Lord, for allowing us to lie down in peace and keeping us safe!

Carol Flores said...

Both these Psalms have a comforting message to me. "I lie down and sleep. I wake again because the Lord sustains me." Psalm 3:5; "From the Lord comes deliverance." Psalm 3:8
Then in Psalm 4:8 -- "In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone Lord make me dwell in safety". These verses reminded me how God cares for us even when we sleep, and we should seek our refuge in Him and not in earthly things.

Christopher said...

I have read Pslam 3 a couple of times over now. I have to admit that I find myself drawn to verses 5-6. In my head I see sleep as a metaphor for resting in or dwelling on in the Word of God. I get into His word and I come out "rested, tall and steady". How often however do I slip as in Psalms 4 verse 1 "you gave me room; Now I'm in trouble again: grace me! Hear me!" My pray from this reading is that I can follow suit as in verse 7-8 "At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep (God's word), For you, God, have put my life back together.