The English Standard Version (ESV)
Psalm 1 – The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
I took the first part of this Psalm to mean that as a Christian community we need to encourage one another in the pursuit of God, but also in the quest for understanding one another despite obstacles or barriers that may exist. These may be perceived or real. Regardless, we should strive for consistency in how we relate to others as well as ourselves because this is a law or instruction of the Lord and it needs to be meditated on in a conscientious manner.
6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
I interpret the above as meaning that everyone makes mistakes and we will err in judgement, but that these human foibles will not be harbored. Our lapses in the choices we make will be let go of, but what I have taken from this is that I know that my Father’s hand will not let go of me.
As the eighteenth-century English poet and essayist Alexander Pope stated “To err is human to forgive is divine,” it goes far to reaffirm that all people commit sins and make mistakes. God forgives them, and other people are acting in a godlike (divine) way when they forgive.
Psalm 2 – The Reign of the Lord’s Anointed
The main question that came up from this Psalm is why do some people and nations for that matter, seem to assemble in opposition or mistrust in the Lord, without recognizing that the plans He has already made are in favour of us. It is easier said than done though to put into practice the patience of listening to and adhering to what God actually wants us to do and say in our daily lives; we just need to ask. This is something that I have to remind myself of on a daily basis!
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.
Psalm 3 – Save Me, O My God
The speaker in this Psalm seems to be in distress and is crying out to the Lord for help, guidance and refreshment. Even if we feel that our troubles are many and our enemies are seemingly outnumbering us, we need to seek out advice through prayer and consultation with family and friends for solutions to what plagues us.
5 I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me.
Psalm 4 – Answer Me When I Call
There seems to be an expression of frustration and an overall sense of angst in this psalm, however there still appears to be a sense of hope and forward looking despite the tone of the passage.
5 Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the Lord.
I am unsure of what “right sacrifices” might be and how these may play out in our modern world, but I am aware that as long as I am forward looking and try not to let the past influence my future, and I do what I can to listen to God, things will work out; it may not be always how I want it to work out or be done at the speed I want, but it will be done.
Psalm 5 – Lead Me In Your Righteousness
What does righteousness look like and how can one be led to it? Is it an innate quality, or do we have to ask for it through prayer? These are just two of the questions that came to mind while reading this Psalm. We have enemies (challenges) whether perceived or real, and we can pray to God to lead us down the right path for us, and will protect us from things that might hurt us.
8 Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.
12 For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.
Psalm 6 – O Lord, Deliver My Life
The speaker seems to be crying out for help from the Lord. Physical and mental anguish seems to be an overall theme in this Psalm and healing for these ailments, whatever their specific origin or nature, is being requested for through weeping and prayer.
1 O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath. Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
Psalm 7 – In You Do I Take Refuge
In this Psalm it appears as though that forgiveness through the Lord is being asked for. It seems that even though the person is experiencing trials, they are still seeking God. I have difficulty following this in my own life. It is often a challenge to figure out what is best for me. I do not necessarily feel guilty for not knowing what the “right” thing to do at all times and in all situations because it’s very hard to know sometimes what to do when you’re in the midst of having to make a decision to be made. It’s hard sometimes to trust what is best for you, let alone take refuge in what God desires for you, and to follow through with it!
1 O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
2 lest like a lion they tear my soul apart, rending it in pieces, with none to deliver.
Sometimes, we are own worst pursuers (enemy) and can cause the most distress to ourselves through and by ourselves. I think this is where conversation through prayer to God comes into play, so we can figure out where we are at and where we want to be in the long run.
Within these first seven chapters of the Psalms, there seems to be an overarching theme, or focus on specific body parts and what they do in relation to how the speaker(s) feel which I find particularly significant because it offers support to what is being said within the passages.
3:7 For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.
4:4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent.
5:1 Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.
These parts of the Psalms that I was asked to read may not be referring to the parts of the body in a literal sense, but may be more applicable in a figurative sense. I feel that I lean more to what might be alluded to in the figurative end of things, rather than the actual literal sense. Regardless of perspective, either approach could be significant to examine further.