day 2 – put a psalm in my heart

Today’s reading is Psalm 6-8. Do this: read Ps. 6 this morning, Ps. 7 at mid-day, and Ps. 8 just before you go to bed. Four observations follow:

[1] Psalm 6 and Psalm 7 are just like Ps. 3-5 in that all five of them are cries out to God for help. Psalm 8 is different from any psalm we’ve encountered thus far, it being not a cry for help, but a hymn.

[2] MorningPsalm 6 is also a first, but within its kind. The psalmist is desperately physically ill, and believes – whether rightly or wrongly so we’re not told – that his affliction is God’s direct rebuke/discipline of him. And so, he calls for God to have mercy on him and to save him from death. He is convicted and contrite. Thus, this psalm was recognized early on as the first of seven psalms known as penitential psalms (cf. Ps. 8,32,38,51,102,130,143).

[3] Mid-day. The author of Psalm 7 is one who feels wrongly accused of something(s). He maintains that he is innocent of what others charge him with, and so, calls on God to judge rightly and “decree justice,” namely to deliver him from those who falsely judge him and to “bring to an end the violence of the wicked.”

[4] Tonight. There are about thirty hymns in the Psalms and there are three different kinds. Psalm 8 is the first hymn psalm and therefore, the first of five of its kind, a hymn about the wonder of creation and the Creator (cf. Ps. 8, 19, 65, 104, 148). Try this: if the full moon is visible from where you are tonight, go out and look at it and read this psalm in its light (cf. 8.3). Meditate on this psalm as you fall asleep.