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Exploring the Psalms
Exploring the Psalms (cont'd)
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.
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:
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?
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.
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: