Psalms – Prayers of Honesty and Praise
Do you have trouble remembering all the different passwords to your accounts and computer programs. Passwords “secure” what you have so well that if you forget them, YOU can’t touch what you know, the account you need to pay, the fun of a game or even open your phone to get a call. You must have a password for everything in this life. That’s why I am a bit amused at Eugene Peterson’s paraphrased words in our next psalm…
“Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise, who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.”
As we read the whole prayer of praise, which also asks why at the end, we learn that the “passwords” are trust and obey…for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. (Yep, everything reminds me of a song.) When we don’t know and live these passwords of praise in our lives, God will allow us to live with the consequences of our disobedience until we mature in His ways. But, know this, He never leaves us. He always loves us.
“Delighted, they dance all day long, they know who you are, what you do–they can’t keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us–you’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air!”
“All we are and have we owe to God.
Holy God of Israel, our King!”
“Blessed be Yahweh forever and always!
Yes, Oh, yes.”
Psalm 89, The Message
An Ethan Prayer
1-4 Your love, God, is my song, and I’ll sing it!
I’m forever telling everyone how faithful you are.
I’ll never quit telling the story of your love—
how you built the cosmos
and guaranteed everything in it.
Your love has always been our lives’ foundation,
your fidelity has been the roof over our world.
You once said, “I joined forces with my chosen leader,
I pledged my word to my servant, David, saying,
‘Everyone descending from you is guaranteed life;
I’ll make your rule as solid and lasting as rock.’”
5-18 God! Let the cosmos praise your wonderful ways,
the choir of holy angels sing anthems to your faithful ways!
Search high and low, scan skies and land,
you’ll find nothing and no one quite like God.
The holy angels are in awe before him;
he looms immense and august over everyone around him.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies, who is like you,
powerful and faithful from every angle?
You put the arrogant ocean in its place
and calm its waves when they turn unruly.
You gave that old hag Egypt the back of your hand,
you brushed off your enemies with a flick of your wrist.
You own the cosmos—you made everything in it,
everything from atom to archangel.
You positioned the North and South Poles;
the mountains Tabor and Hermon sing duets to you.
With your well-muscled arm and your grip of steel—
nobody trifles with you!
The Right and Justice are the roots of your rule;
Love and Truth are its fruits.
Blessed are the people who know the passwords of praise,
who shout on parade in the bright presence of God.
Delighted, they dance all day long; they know
who you are, what you do—they can’t keep it quiet!
Your vibrant beauty has gotten inside us—
you’ve been so good to us! We’re walking on air!
All we are and have we owe to God,
Holy God of Israel, our King!
19-37 A long time ago you spoke in a vision,
you spoke to your faithful beloved:
“I’ve crowned a hero,
I chose the best I could find;
I found David, my servant,
poured holy oil on his head,
And I’ll keep my hand steadily on him,
yes, I’ll stick with him through thick and thin.
No enemy will get the best of him,
no scoundrel will do him in.
I’ll weed out all who oppose him,
I’ll clean out all who hate him.
I’m with him for good and I’ll love him forever;
I’ve set him on high—he’s riding high!
I’ve put Ocean in his one hand, River in the other;
he’ll call out, ‘Oh, my Father—my God, my Rock of Salvation!’
Yes, I’m setting him apart as the First of the royal line,
High King over all of earth’s kings.
I’ll preserve him eternally in my love,
I’ll faithfully do all I so solemnly promised.
I’ll guarantee his family tree
and underwrite his rule.
If his children refuse to do what I tell them,
if they refuse to walk in the way I show them,
If they spit on the directions I give them
and tear up the rules I post for them—
I’ll rub their faces in the dirt of their rebellion
and make them face the music.
But I’ll never throw them out,
never abandon or disown them.
Do you think I’d withdraw my holy promise?
or take back words I’d already spoken?
I’ve given my word, my whole and holy word;
do you think I would lie to David?
His family tree is here for good,
his sovereignty as sure as the sun,
Dependable as the phases of the moon,
inescapable as weather.”
38-51 But God, you did walk off and leave us,
you lost your temper with the one you anointed.
You tore up the promise you made to your servant,
you stomped his crown in the mud.
You blasted his home to kingdom come,
reduced his city to a pile of rubble
Picked clean by wayfaring strangers,
a joke to all the neighbors.
You declared a holiday for all his enemies,
and they’re celebrating for all they’re worth.
Angry, you opposed him in battle,
refused to fight on his side;
You robbed him of his splendor, humiliated this warrior,
ground his kingly honor in the dirt.
You took the best years of his life
and left him an impotent, ruined husk.
How long do we put up with this, God?
Are you gone for good? Will you hold this grudge forever?
Remember my sorrow and how short life is.
Did you create men and women for nothing but this?
We’ll see death soon enough. Everyone does.
And there’s no back door out of hell.
So where is the love you’re so famous for, Lord?
What happened to your promise to David?
Take a good look at your servant, dear Lord;
I’m the butt of the jokes of all nations,
The taunting jokes of your enemies, God,
as they dog the steps of your dear anointed.
52 Blessed be God forever and always!
Yes. Oh, yes.
Does God no longer keep His promises? The faithfulness of the Lord is the major theme of this psalm (vv. 1-2, 5, 8, 14, 33, 49). Of course, God’s great promises to David have their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus Christ, the son of David (Luke 1:26-38, 68-79). The psalm gives us four assurances about the faithfulness of the Lord.
1. God Is Faithful in His Character–Praise Him (vv. 1-18).
2. God Is Faithful to His Covenant–Trust Him (vv. 19-29).
3. God Is Faithful in His Chastening (vv. 39-45).
4. God’s Faithfulness Will Never Cease–Wait for Him (vv. 46-52).
How does nature praise the Lord?
How can your words glorify the Lord? How can your life praise Him?
Dear Heavenly Father,
You have gotten inside us. Your Presence is always with us as you, in good times and bad, just as you promised. We praise you above all gods and kings. You are our God and we are not. We don’t even come close. We repent of going our own way. We live to praise you. We live to trust and obey, focused on you, keeping in step with your steps. Help us, still, Lord. I’m listening. I’m right behind you, Lord!
In Jesus Name, Amen