Sunday July 5 – Saturday July 11
Psalm 57– Psalm 70
What to look for in Psalms 57-70
Psalm 51 kicks off a section of Davidic Psalms – Psalms either written by, commissioned by, or attributed to King David. The section lasts through Psalm 70. Heather wrote about why King David is such a key figure in Scripture and the Psalms in the Week 2 reading guide (review here: https://1stpres.com/psalms/), so we won’t cover that this week. What strikes me in this collection of Davidic Psalms are the titles. Take a quick look at some of the Psalm titles in your Bible.
The titles describe times when David found himself in distress:
When David had fled from Saul into the cave
When Saul had sent men to watch David’s house in order to kill him.
When David fought Aram Nahariam and Aram Zobah…..
When David was in the Desert of Judah
Scripture says that God called David a man after his own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22). A man after God’s own heart found himself, time and again, in distress. This tells us something important. It tells us that when we are in distress, as individuals or as a community as the people of God, our distress is not an indicator that God is far from us – that we have messed up so poorly God would leave us, or disappointed God so terribly that he has caused us distress. Instead of assuming that God is far from us, our response can be like David’s: to cry out to the Lord, both praising the Lord and asking the Lord to act. David even went so far as to make sure these prayers were put to song so that others could sing and pray them too. Why do you think that turning these prayers, from past events, into song was important to God’s people?
The second thing I noticed about this week’s Psalms were the ways in which David appeals to God’s character and what God has done:
That God cares about making things right (look for the words justice, injustice, equity, defend)
That God is faithful, full of steadfast love, and keeps His promises.
That God has rescued David time and again in the past.
That God rescued His people from slavery in Egypt.
That God forgives transgression
In the same ways, our prayers can also include and appeal to God’s character and what God actions in the past. Of course, it’s not as if God needs to be reminded about who He is and what He has done. But as we pray in this way, it helps remind us, and so can increase our trust and even shape how we pray.
Questions to ask of Psalms 57-70
From the content of the Psalms, what types of situations does David find himself in? Do any of these echo a situation you find yourself in now, or a situation you know others to be in right now? How can David’s prayer shape your own?
How many times do you read about the Psalmist appealing to God to “make things right”? (Check out the number of times the words justice, injustice, or equity appear.)
How does appealing to God’s character and actions shape these prayers? In what ways can doing the same shape our prayers?
Does anything about these Psalms increase your love and devotion to God? Your love for others?
Lord, your love is better than life itself. And your love is constant, faithful, and able, even when we find ourselves in distress, or are distressed at all that is not right around us. Increase our trust in you. Give us the courage to cry out to you in every situation. Continue your work of making all things right and empower us to be a part of that good work, through our prayers and in our actions. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.