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 Exploring the Psalms (cont'd)

Additional Help

Following are some examples of the thought process that I went through on a few psalms that may be helpful as you seek to establish a pattern for your own personal paraphrase time.

 In Psalm 62, I noted that verse 1 is almost repeated (with a significant difference!) in verse 5, which is a clue that this is an important thought. Then a contrasting word is used in verse 11. When I first went through this psalm, I circled “silence” in verses 1 and 5, and the words “spoken” and “heard” in verse 11. In verse 1, David makes the statement that his soul waits in silence for God only. In verse 5, he commands his soul to do the same. In verse 11, David records that God has spoken and David has heard Him. Depending on what may be happening in your life, these thoughts may be either convicting or challenging to you, or perhaps both. Am I too busy demanding God’s action in my life to listen to His still, small voice?  

When I got to Psalm 63 I couldn’t help but note that it is filled with words referring to the whole being – soul, flesh, lips, hands, mouth, thirst, see, sing, etc. What does that say to you in your experience? You may be struggling with feelings of inadequate worship when you arrive at this psalm, and see a pattern for worship here. Perhaps you will see something entirely different that speaks to your current need. 

Making Lists
I have found that as I peruse a psalm, a series of truths will often emerge that seem to call for a list. Lists give emphasis and prominence to the facts or issues at hand. In the Psalms, they often give us a more concentrated picture of our need, God’s providential care or the supremacy of His character.

For example, from Psalm 31, 2-4 I wrote:

I call on You to rescue me – to be in my practical moment-to-moment experience all that I need You to be: 

  • my solid, unmovable source of strength,

  • my unassailable place of safety,

  • my leader and guide through all the questions and choices before me, so that Your character is upheld and glorified,

  •  my rescuer from the traps of evil men.

From Psalm 34, verse 4 speaks of the promise of deliverance from fears. As I read the remainder of the Psalm, it seemed to answer the question of the ways God works that out in my life, causing me to write:

Deliverance from the tyranny of worry – how?
By understanding that You:

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       hide me,
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       surround me,
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       teach and instruct me,
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       counsel me,
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       watch over me,
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       provide for me in times of want,
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       help me,
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       shield me,
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       answer me,
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       encamp around me,
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       rescue me,
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       provide refuge for me,
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       provide good things for me,
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       listen for my cry,
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       stay near me,
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       save me.

God's care is overwhelming and complete – what more could I want in addition to what He has already committed Himself to be in, through and around my life? As I carry into my day these promises of the total care of my ‘Surrounding Sovereign,’ every question, problem, and crisis that hits me is another occasion to reckon on the truth of Who He has promised to be in my experience (notice the “me” in each of the promises above), and begin to learn to replace each fear, question and doubt with His promises.

Another example comes from Psalm 25, where the marvelous nature of our God seemed to jump out at me through verses 8-15.

God is:

  • good,

  • upright,

  • ready to lead the humble,

  • willing to guide those who fear Him,

  • ready to reveal the secrets of His nature to those who fear Him,

  • desirous of making me know His covenant.

And one final example from Psalm 37. As noted earlier, the first verse carries the command not to fret because of evildoers, causing me immediately to ask how. I summarized the answer as follows:

God’s antidote to jealousy and fretfulness: 

  1. Determine that God alone is worthy of trust (3, 5, 39).
  2. Seek delight in Him alone (4).
  3. Do the next thing in faithfulness to Him (3, 34).
  4. Commit the future unknowns to Him (5).
  5. Wait for Him to work out His plan regarding me (7, 9, 18, 34).
  6. Rest and delight in Him and His abundant provision (4, 7, 9, 11, 17, 18, 23, 34).

 

 

Going Deeper

 

 

   
   
   
   
   
 

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