contains three stanzas corresponding to the Hebrew letters Zayin, Heth, and Teth. The Revised Standard Version entitled these stanzas as; “The hope and comfort in God’s law,” “The Lord our portion,” and “God’s law taught by affliction.” The part of this reading that spoke to me was from the Heth stanza (verses 57-64), “Your love, God, fills the earth! Train me to live by your counsel.” What a wonderful thought, God’s love filling the earth.
Psalm 23: 1-6: Most people in the United States would probably say that they are familiar with this psalm. This was the first psalm that I memorized as a small boy. For many people it is the only psalm that they ever memorize. Today, as I look out at our society and hear the various commentaries on our nation’s economic and social condition, I am struck by the seemingly pervasive mood of fear that has seized us. This fear is not limited to just our secular world. In many ways, it has seized the church. It is often displayed in terms of worry about the shrinking number of people on our church rolls and the financial challenges that some of our congregations face. If we took seriously the first declaration of this psalm, we would be freed from this spiritual prison of fear. “You, LORD, are my shepherd. I will never be in need.” (CEV) If this is true, we don’t have anything to worry about. The question is, “Do we really believe this?” Or more importantly, “How can we come to believe this?” Rest and be at peace for God will care for you.
Psalm 79:1-13: In this psalm of Asaph, we hear a lament for the destruction of Jerusalem. The horrible scene is laid out before us in poetic fashion. The emotion of the lament swells as the recounting of the destruction proceeds. Then in verse nine, we hear the psalmist petitioning God for forgiveness, “Help us, O God of our salvation, Because of the honour of Thy name, And deliver us, and cover over our sins, For Thy name’s sake.” (YLT) The answer to this petition was and still is Jesus. We need God to cover over our sin. We need God to make a way for us to God: God has done this in Jesus. The psalmist concludes with a promise to praise God, “So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations.” (KJV) Let us do likewise.