Monday, April 16, 2012

The Book of Psalms

The Life Project: Psalms
Candice Roberts

Complaining…. Can I just say I hear a lot of it? I have four boys and a husband and I work as a psychiatric nurse. So believe me when I say, that my ears sometimes literally close up when I hear complaining. One of the funnier complaints I had heard in a while came from my 6 year
old, Owen. He told me that his brother Cael was downstairs in the basement hurt. Well, I had
JUST heard Cael playing his drums in the basement. Plus, I know Cael, if he was hurt, I would
have heard a lot of screaming. But to appease Owen, I just said, “Oh yeah?” “Yes, he is hurt.”
Big Pause…. I did not have the energy for this…… “Well aren’t you going to go down and
check on him? That’s what a real mom would do.” So I am not a real mom. That little fact may
come in handy one day, I am holding onto it.

Truthfully, if I think I hear a lot of complaining, I just need to consider our God. How much
complaining do you think He hears? How many times have I complained to Him? I have lost
count. I do know that I am in good company with many of the men and women of the Bible. In
fact over one third of the book of Psalms are psalms of lament, or complaining.

We can learn some valuable lessons from the book of Psalms. The first of which is that God is
not afraid of our complaining. Unlike me, His ears do not close up when we bring our
complaints before Him. And He always has the energy for us. Psalm 6:9 says, “The LORD has
heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. “ Psalm 34:17 “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;he delivers them from all their troubles.” Psalm 116:1 “I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;he heard my cry for mercy.”

The second lesson we can learn is that there is no true worship without the wilderness. In
Exodus chapter 7 the Lord tells Pharaoh, “Let my people go so they can worship me in the
wilderness.” God intends for us to worship in the wilderness of our life. In many of the psalms we see that it is the wilderness, those seasons in our lives that are full of complaints, which bring us to a place of worship before God.

Psalm 63 says,You, God, are my God,earnestly I seek you;I thirst for you,my whole being longs for you,in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

It is in the wilderness that we become desperately aware of our need for God. It is here that we learn our only hope is in the Lord. This brings us to the third and probably most important lesson that can be learned in the book of Psalms- the power of God’s presence. There is one thing that God wants most from us;relationship, intimacy. And this thing that God wants most is the thing that we need most. We need God’s presence. I heard someone say once that we need God’s presence more that we need His provision. In the book of Psalms, the people of God are constantly facing difficult circumstances. War, famine, murder, enemies of all kinds; when the people cry out with various laments, they are always answered with God’s presence. God does provide. He does heal. He does deliver. To be sure. But the real answer to our complaints is not what God can do for us, but who God is to us.

It is interesting to me that God almost never answers our prayers in the way we think or wish He would. But He always answers prayers with His presence. And in the end, His presence is
enough. If we had nothing else, His presence is enough.

In Your presence is fullness of joy; Psalm 16:11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Psalm 51:11 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139: 7 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth trembles. Psalm 97: 5 When my enemies turn back, they shall fall and perish at Your presence. Psalm 9: 3 Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob. Psalm 114:7 Surely the righteous shall give thanks to Your name; the upright shall dwell in Your presence.Psalm 140: 13

So bring your complaints before God- He is big enough. And be prepared to be met with His
presence as He walks with you through your wilderness. “Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil: For thou art with me” Psalms 23:4

Psalms Reading Plan
Monday -Psalms 1-25
Tuesday -Psalms 26-50
Wednesday -Psalms 51-75
Thursday- Psalms 76-100
Friday -Psalms 101-125
Saturday-Psalms 126-150

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