day 7 – put a psalm in my heart

Three psalms – Ps. 19-21 are before us today: Psalm 19 this morning, Psalm 20 at mid-day, and Psalm 21 tonight.

Psalm 19. In terms of style and content, Ps. 19 instantly reminds us of both the first creation psalm we encountered (Ps. 1) and the first wisdom psalm (Ps. 8). This psalm is structured like concentric circles. The outer ring speaks to us of how God addresses us through the cosmos/nature; what is above/around us, if you please. The middle ring reminds us of God verbalizing his will to us through revealing his word to us; what is before us. And the central ring, consists of a heart-felt response in prayer to all that precedes; what is within us. The movement from without to within – creation (vs. 1-6), revelation (vs. 7-11), and conviction (vs. 12-14) – is beautiful.

Psalm 20-21. Like the first royal psalm (Psalm 2), both Ps. 20 and Ps. 21 are songs regarding the earthly king reigning over God’s people and his response to hostilities from other nations. As we meet these psalms, we are doubly struck by just how very, very different God’s people and their ruler are from others. Their reliance is not on technological superiority, numerical strength, or cleverness of strategy. Rather, God’s name (i.e. – his presence) is where their confidence/trust resides (20.1,5,7). “The king rejoices in your strength, Lord. How great is his joy in the victories you give!” (21.1) And to God’s people, it is “the Lord” who grants each and every victory of deliverance (21.9b), nothing or no one else. It is God the King, not the king of Israel, who brings all good things and this, and both people and king believe so (21.2-7). The greatness of their God, not themselves, is their rallying cry and pursuit.