FACE TO FACE
Have you ever wondered what Jesus’s day-to-day life looked like? I have often wished I could be a fly on the wall of Jesus’s world to see His expressions, hear the warmth of His voice, and melt into one of His hugs. I wonder what it was like to see firsthand His habits and quirks. Did He snort when He laughed? Did He act quieter and more reserved when He was tired? Was He a morning person or a night owl? What was the cadence of His voice when He taught and read Scripture? How exactly did He pray? Which words would He emphasize? Where did He pause in wonder?
The book of Psalms connects some of these dots for me. Jesus quoted from Psalms more than any other book in the Old Testament. It’s safe to say He loved this book. It was woven into the fabric of His life and should be woven into ours.
As we journey through Psalms, we experience the authors’ suffering, hurt, rejection, abandonment, deliverance, salvation, exaltation, victory, and great joy. It is a book full of every emotion imaginable, and at times it can be messy—just like life. Because Jesus often referenced this ancient book of poetry that is filled with such rawness and honesty, I know I have the freedom to be raw and transparent with Him, too.
The book of Psalms gives us a beautiful road map of how to approach the Lord and communicate with Him, especially in prayer and worship. Through it, I’ve learned how to pour out the adoration of my heart to Jesus.
The words in this book remind me of Hannah praying when she was desperate from her barrenness and crying out for God to fill her womb with life (1 Sam. 1). Or David dancing with joyful abandonment before the Lord, completely unashamed and unmoved by what people thought about him (2 Sam. 6). Or the words that may have streamed from the mouth of the woman who used her tear-soaked hair to wipe the feet of Jesus in overwhelming love and gratitude for who He is and the relief and freedom she found in Him (Luke 7).
I genuinely love to indulge in the psalms. They are like water for my thirsty soul and dessert for my heart. Sometimes I memorize portions of them; sometimes I read them and reread them. I love to pray paraphrased versions of them and sing them in song. The book of Psalms is unique to any other book in Scripture, as it traverses through a variety of human experiences and emotions and proves to us that no matter what we experience, God is present with us when we call on Him. He listens to us, cares about us, walks with us, encamps around us, covers us, strengthens us, and most importantly, reigns above us and our circumstances.
Consider how many different people wrote the psalms over centuries of time. There are at least seven named authors, as well as fifty psalms that were written anonymously.1 Yet the style is largely the same—honesty and transparency before the Lord paired with praise and adoration of Him.
The psalms typically fall into one or more of these categories:
|WISDOM||Instructive for godly living|
|ROYAL||Describing the coming messianic rule of Christ|
|LAMENT||A cry to God for divine deliverance|
|IMPRECATORY||Asking for judgment upon the psalmist’s adversaries|
|THANKSGIVING||Expressing profound gratitude for God’s blessings|
|PILGRIMAGE||Festive psalms that fostered celebration and praise as they traveled to Jerusalem for their annual feasts|
|ENTHRONEMENT OR PRAISE||Describing the majesty of God over His creation|
|TRUST||Reminding us of our need to put our hope and trust in the Lord and His ways|
OFFERINGS OF PRAISE
. . . speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord.Ephesians 5:19
My husband, Jeremy, and I are both musicians, so we are often asked if we sing to each other. But I have to chuckle when I envision all of us serenading each other on a daily basis. As much as music does flow in our home, I believe Ephesians 5:19 is less about serenading one another and is more about how these spiritual songs (whether sung or spoken) connect our hearts to one another as we pursue the Lord. It’s about finding God in the midst of each of our circumstances and grabbing the hand of our friends to do the same.
Today, I pray we will experience the fullness of what God has for us and none of us will get left behind in our journeys of growing in Him.
Spend a few minutes in prayer. Ask the Lord to open the eyes of your heart to understand and know Him more deeply through His Word.
And here are some fun wallpapers for your desktop and phone! Click the images below to download.
1. Bob Utley, “Introduction to the Psalms,” Bible.org, December 10, 2012, https://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-psalms.