day 37 – put a psalm in my heart

Today, we give our full attention to our Lord the King who is our God and Maker (Psalm 95-97).

Morning. Psalm 95. As you read this psalm, imagine yourself (and those with you) having been granted an audience with “the Lord” who “is the great God above all gods” (vs. 3). Having been a part of a processional into his presence (“let us come before him” – vs. 2), you now, upon arrival, “bow down in worship … [you] kneel before the Lord …” (vs. 6-7). As the King’s subjects, you are keenly aware of the fact that you have been granted this audience for the express purpose of hearing what the King has to say to you (vs. 7b). And what the King has to say is a word of warning: “Do not harden your hearts …” (vs. 8a)

Reflect: might I be hardening my heart in some way against the Lord and if so, how might I come to realize it, and then, if so, what will I do about it? Ask the King to reveal these things to you.

Mid-day. Psalm 96. Picture yourself as a leader of God’s people in worship. You stand in the temple courts, the temple being a thing of beauty in itself. Strong and beautiful it is, glorious and majestic! But, you realize the temple’s beauty is not an end in itself, but is meant only to be an aid of reminder for the infinitely surpassing beauty and glory of the God for whom this temple exists. And so, the vision you now cast for all to see is to be caught up in the wonder of “the Lord” (vs. 1-2,4-5,7-10,13). Though none of you can see the Lord with your physical eyes, you can see some of his attributes, namely his “splendor and majesty,” “strength and glory” (vs. 6). And so, your heart swells in worship of the Lord even as you call on all the Lord’s people (vs. 1-6), all the peoples of the earth (vs. 7-10), and ultimately all of creation (vs. 11-13) to join you in praise and worship of him. “… great is the Lord and most worthy of praise … ‘The Lord reigns.'” (vs. 4a,10a)

Consider: who am I calling on to worship the Lord with me, how am I doing that, who am I rehearsing the Lord’s glory and marvelous deeds with, and how is my joy in the Lord made obvious to all who are around me?

Evening. Psalm 97. Fill your mind with the living Lord seated on his throne. Your picture his attributes. Then your eyes move down the throne itself to the foundation on which the throne stands. What keeps his throne steady and secure is solid as a rock! “… righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” (vs. 2) That is, it is God’s goodness, not his Almightiness, that makes our God the Lord. He does the right thing, always, and toward all. Thus, he alone is fit to rule. And rule he does, whether that be in fending off foes (vs. 3-7) or in his protection and care of those who are belong to him (vs. 8-12).

Meditate: since the Lord is righteous and just – ever doing what is right and doing right by others – what am I to do today so as to live righteously and so, rightly “praise his holy name?”

Note: This three-part cluster psalms (Psalm 95-97) is the opening portion of a five-part collection of enthronement hymns (Psalm 95-99). Have you noticed how often things happen in groups of five in the psalms thus far?