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Exploring the Psalms
Psalms Home
Why Are They Unique?
How Should We Use Them?
The Power of the Paraphrase
Getting Started
More About Getting Started
Coupling With Prayer
Additional Help
Going Deeper
More Going Deeper
More Going Deeper II
Then What?
Psalms Categorized

 Exploring the Psalms (cont'd)

Recognizing bridge thoughts

 Somewhat similar to the idea of extending a theme beyond its immediate context, recognition of thoughts which bridge sections of a psalm can also expose new and thrilling truths. Psalm 103 was a prime example in my study. I had written my personal paraphrase, but in my second circuit of the Psalms, I looked at this marvelous psalm somewhat differently. In verses 15 Ė 18, the beautiful contrast between the shortness of manís days and Godís everlasting-to-everlasting lovingkindness to His children is expressed. Then verse 19 shifts the picture from Godís concern and care for His children on earth to His heavenly, sovereign throne and rule, concluding with a call for all to adore and worship Him. But as I mused on the flow of thought, it occurred to me that verse 19 is more than just the introduction to a call to praise. It is also the linchpin of the preceding thoughts. His promise to display His lovingkindness to His children and their children is guaranteed because His throne is established in sovereignty over all. We donít have a God who just desires and intends to display His loyal love to us forever; His unchallenged power guarantees His ability to do so! And so I jotted down the simple but newly-powerful thought:

 Text Box: His sovereign throne is both the basis for my security and the reason for my worship.


 Another example comes from Psalm 33 where a sharp transition seems to take place between the thoughts in verses 13-15 and the picture drawn in verses 16 and 17, with another turn yet taken when we get to verse 18. Letís look at the truths involved here.

 First, verses 13-15 depict Godís sovereign, all-knowing view of all mankind, with the thought expressed that, since He made them Ė fashioned their hearts Ė He understands the motives behind all they do. If verses 16 and 17 hadnít intervened, we would have the side-by-side contrast between that thought and the beautiful one that follows, which is that, although Godís eye is also on those who fear Him, His intent, purpose and actions toward them are not just based on an understanding of their hearts, but on the basis of His heart, which is forever bound in lovingkindness to protect, provide for and deliver us, His people, in times of distress. Why, then, are we told in verses 16 and 17 about the failure of armies and horses to bring victory?

 After just a momentís thought about what precedes and follows it, the purpose comes into focus. God, knowing the thoughts and heart of the mankind as a whole, is well aware that the way they deal with danger and crisis is to summon up their own strength and resources and look to the power and influence of others to deliver them. And, as believers we will have to admit that our first thought in crisis is often along the same line Ė do I have the strength to deal with this? But, unlike the men and women whose eyes are only on the world, who have only their own strength and the frail and fickle assistance of others just like them to rely on, our ultimate hope for victory and our underlying confidence for the future is not based on the human plane! Why? Because Godís eye is on us, not just in observation, but in powerful, purposeful love, intent on being strong where and when we are weak. Perhaps the value of verses 16 and 17 in making the contrast stronger and more personal was evident to you as you read this Psalm the first time through, but it only came to me after many readings and meditation. So it is that the Spirit, as we linger over His truth, will connect delightful and soul-stirring truths by thoughts that at first glance seem incongruous and unconnected. The verses that seem out of place are often the ones in which you will find a new vein of riches.



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