day 4 – put a psalm in my heart

Today’s reading is comprised of three psalms: Psalm 12 (this morning), Psalm 13 (noon), and Psalm 14 (tonight).

Note. All three of today’s psalms are pleas for help. However, while Ps. 13 is an individual’s complaint like we’ve encountered before (cf. Ps. 3-7), Ps. 12 and Ps. 14 are a bit different; they are cries on the part of, or for, a group of people (a community lament). Psalms such as these two “group groans” show up nearly a dozen and a half times in the Psalms, but these two are the first to appear.

Morning. Psalm 12 is an expression of grief to God due to reflection on a people permeated with problems; a society owned by sin. As you read this psalm, make a list of the specific matters that trouble the psalmist (vs. 1-5). Do these same matters break your heart about our society today? And if so, do you talk with God about it all?

When it seems to you that no one does right anymore (vs. 1), do you complain to people or do you do the holy thing – gripe to God? Don’t try to carry the weight of the world yourself. Take the weight of this world to the One who made us all.

Noon. When troubles come, we all want them to be over and done with quickly. The individual who cries out to God in Psalm 13 was no exception; they have had to wrestle with the weight of their burden for an extended period of time, and worse still, there appears to be no end in sight (vs.1-4). We’ll all been there at one time or another, haven’t we? Which makes the psalmist’s word of trust all the more of a blessing and instruction to us (vs. 5-6)!

Let me ask you: do your complaints to God conclude with this sort of celebration of God or are you only praying “half a psalm?” Praise him with trust now, not merely pouring out your troubles to him.

Night. Psalm 14 is very similar to Ps. 12 in trajectory. Two notes. First, you’ve likely heard the first half of this psalm many times, but might not have known that it was a psalm that you were hearing. How so? Paul quotes the opening of this psalm (vs. 1-3) in the book of Romans (3.10-18).

Second. The specific people who have the psalmist’s heart in this psalm (vs. 6), the people dealt misery by this society that grieves the psalm writer, are “the poor” (cf. Ps. 12.5). Is your heart truly burdened by the massive weight the poor in our society must carry – as was the case with this psalmist) or do you fail to rightly and sincerely pray to God for the poor among us, reasoning that if they’re poor it is of their own making and fault?

Consider afresh tonight the frustrations of the poor (vs. 6), putting your feet into the sandals of their prayers.

Here’s a Psalm 12-14 (NIV) to today’s reading.