Guys, I’m floored by the Psalm I stumbled upon this morning! It reflects like every theme that is dear to my heart — praising God in all times, His sovereignty, His glory among the nations — then ends with a peaceful promise that, of course, brought me to tears. Here is Psalm 113 (emphasis added by me):
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise, O servants of the Lord,
praise the name of the Lord!
2 Blessed be the name of the Lord
from this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting,
the name of the Lord is to be praised!
4 The Lord is high above all nations,
and his glory above the heavens!
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
who is seated on high,
6 who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people. 9 He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!
This morning I came to the Lord with a heavy heart. Last night we went to visit a family we hadn’t seen in several months. It was a lovely time, except that the moment I walked in the door the mother and sisters were asking if I was surely not pregnant yet. And of course, I’m not. And to add to it, one of them had her first baby a couple months ago, and another is 9 months pregnant. So it was the talk of the night. I’m kind of used to it by now, but it inflamed the longing of my heart some. So this morning I came to the Lord in my quiet time with that weighing on me. And in His faithfulness, He spoke to me in His word.
I mentioned recently that I’ve been reading a Psalm or two at random each morning. Today I just sort of opened to Psalm 30, and read on for a few pages. When I can, I like to take the time to read the Psalms aloud. It really enhances my understanding and brings the word more to life. Also, if I have time (today was my day off, so I did), I like to reread scripture that speaks to me, a few times in a row.
I was so touched by Psalms 30-36 this morning, I had to come and recommend them to you all. Several times I had to stop to cry. I want to share a few of the verses that stood out to me, but please don’t let this substitute for your own reading of the full scripture.
One note I will add for guidance is that David wrote these Psalms to the Lord one of his personal great life trials. As king, he was being targeted by the opposition, hunted and hated. So there are many references to that in these Psalms (see Psalm 35, which is pretty much all about that). Instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater (or trying to poetically apply his trial to yours by calling infertility “my enemy” or something), I recommend taking those lines and briefly filling in, mentally, a relevant part of your trial. I’m not saying to rewrite scripture, but to take the idea behind David’s words, many of which were particular to his situation, and apply them to your situation. I tried that this morning, and it really made the passage more alive than just throwing out verses all together, like I’d normally do.
Here are some verses that really stood out to me today. I’m going to post from Psalm 36 tomorrow, with a song. After you read for yourself, please comment with other verses that touched you!
Sing praises to the LORD, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning. [30:4-5]
Into Your hand I commit my spirit; You have redeemed me, faithful God.
I hate those who pay regard to worthless idols, but I trust in the LORD.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your steadfast love, because You have seen my affliction;
You have known the distress of my soul […]
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress;
my eye is wasted from grief; my soul and my body also.
For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing […]
Love the LORD, you His saints!
The LORD preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! [31:5-7;9-10;23-24]
Lately in my Bible time I’ve been reading my “regularly scheduled” passage (I happen to be in Galatians), then I’ll flip to Psalms and choose one or two at random to read and think about. Today’s was Psalm 103, and it was just perfect. Of course it brought to mind Matt Redman’s new-ish song, “10,000 Reasons,” which is based on this Psalm. My husband and I have found this worship song to be very special to our hearts in our infertility. It’s one of our go-to songs. We love the biblical-ness, of course, and it’s so valuable to sing truth to yourself in this time. We also appreciate the reminder to be overflowing with praise and gratitude for all the Lord has done in our lives, as it can be such a temptation to “forget His benefits” when waiting for Him to answer this one request.
Please join me in reading Psalm 103 aloud, then meditate on the beautiful worship song.
Psalm 103 (ESV)
103 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
3 who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
5 who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
19 The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
That is such a precious Psalm (yeah, ok, they’re all precious). It’s always been one of my favorites. I love that he starts with the great cry of every Christian’s life:
Not to us, O LORD [literally, O YHWH, or Jehovah, which is God’s real name],
not to us, but to Your name give glory!
We could stop right there. Close the book. Close the browser tab. That’s all you need. That’s the life prayer, amen and amen.
But ok, we’ll continue…
I cherish verses 2-3. I wrote a long time ago (i.e. 5 months ago, but a long time in blog time) about how often I wrestle with how my infertility presents our faith to non-believers. I wrestle the most with this because I live in a land dominated by another religion, so mine stands out drastically to everyone I meet. Moreover, in this culture having a child is basically the entire purpose of every women’s life. So I fear that God won’t get the greatest glory when they see my barrenness. I literally do hear their voices when I read verse 2…
Why should the nations say, “Where is there God?”
–But, mercifully, immediately, we have our mouth-shutting response. –
Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.
After berating their make-believe gods in verses 4-8, we hear this plea cried out in verses 9-11:
If you feel anxiety about entering the new year in the midst of your trial, this one is for you.
I’ve been thinking of Psalm 23 lately. It probably gets overlooked a lot because it’s really famous and everyone has heard it so much, but I’ve started realizing how many amazing truths it holds that apply to our trial.
God cares for us, so there is nothing we want or need (v.1)
He leads us to calmness and cares for us, He restores us in our weariness, and all for His glory(v.2-3)
Even in our darkest times, He is with us so we don’t have to be afraid; He comforts us (v.4)
He blesses us abundantly and defends us (v.5)
He will bless us, His sheep, and will give believers eternal life (v.6)
Play the audio below… it has piano accompaniment with a reading of Psalm 23. You may want to read along or close your eyes and just soak in the words anew. I hope you can gain a new appreciation for this ancient poem.
A useful practice, which I recommended in my post about Psalm 33, is to choose a Psalm to add to your normal Bible time, and read the same one every day for a week (or longer, if you wish). This helps me to really catch everything in the Psalm, appreciating each part and be able meditate on it more thoroughly. You may want to do that this week with Psalm 23.
I recently fell in love with Psalm 33. I’ve been reading it every morning in addition to my normal Bible reading, and I can’t get tired of it. I actually found it in reverse, when I was searching for another verse and found the last few verses of this one. I plan to frame them in our new house, as they are just perfect for our family.
“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
I love how this Psalm touches on so many important and special themes for us. It starts with worship (v.1-3), then praises the awesome character of God and the virtues God loves and we should as well (v.4-5). It reminds us of God as the great Creator, as well as the Sovereign One who sees all things (v. 6-11). It calls the nations to Him (v. 12-15), then reminds us that all power, provision and strength is found in Him and nothing else (v. 16-19), thus concluding with the prayer quoted above (v. 20-22). In addition to speaking of waiting on God, I love that the verses above speak of all our hope being in God alone, and the power of His holy name. I also appreciate that it mentions finding gladness in Him. It’s just so beautiful, I just can’t get over it.
I want to invite you to just listen to this Psalm. Americans, being a highly literate people, are not prone to enjoy listening to things. But this Psalm was meant to be sung and heard. We don’t have the original tune, of course, so this recording is just a reading. But press play, close your eyes and soak in the truths and assurances contained in this ancient inspired song. You may want to listen a few times in a row. Perhaps you will considering listening once a morning each day this week before you meet with God.