Week 4: Psalms 11-15


Reading:  PSALMS 11-15

           Click on the link for the reading to read the Psalms for this week.  As we read, let us not do so in haste.  Take time to read each Psalm at least three times:  once to understand the content, once as a poem or song to feel the meaning, and once as a prayer to appropriate the Psalm into your life.   There will often be a hymn attached at the bottom of the page that helps bring meaning to one of the Psalms for the week.


PSALM 11: Flight or Faith

            When the righteous are threatened by the power of the wicked, what should they do?  Psalm 11 answers that question: “In the LORD I take refuge.”  Do not give up but stand up for righteousness.  In the face of today’s evils and injustices, we cannot close our eyes and put our faith in security systems, gated communities or those who would tell us that the evils do not exist.  God’s people should be motivated by hope to do the “righteous deeds” that God loves.


PSALM 12: The Faithful Have Disappeared

            Psalm 12 is a prayer for the LORD’s saving help in a time when wickedness is dominant in society.  The world seems to be populated only with the wicked, who are everywhere.  As people of God we claim not to buy into the credo of the wicked that we are masters of our own destiny and that we are accountable to no one but ourselves.  We profess that we live by the Word of God.  We profess that God is our master, which positions us as servants whose lives are not our own.  In Jesus’ words, we have been sent “into the world,” but we “do not belong to the world” (John 17:16,18).  Psalm 12 is a challenge to the church to claim its distinctiveness.


PSALM 13:  But I Trust in Your Steadfast Love

            Psalm 13 is the shortest of the prayers for help in the Psalter.  It teaches us how to pray, but it also shows us who we are when we pray.  We are the anxious, fearful, dying, historical person who cannot find God where we want God to be.  At the same time, we are the elect with a salvation history, a life hid with Christ in God.


PSALM 14:  No One Does Good

Like Psalm 12, Psalm 14 instructs and encourages the lowly righteous in the face of dominant wickedness.   The is concerned, not with the plight of the individual, but with the state of society as a whole.  “Fool (nabal)” means a person who decides and acts on the basis of the wrong assumption.  A man named Nabal in 1 Samuel 25 is the classic portrayal of a nabal.  Nabal was prosperous and prominent, but he made the wrong assumption about Dav id, while his wife, Abigail discerned the danger and destiny of David.  A nabal is a person who, whether shrewd or powerful, makes a mistake about reality. 

Verses 1-3 assert that all humans are sinful.  This is the message Paul derived from this Psalm and used to argue that all people “are under the power of sin” (Rom 3:9).    What Psalm 14 calls foolishness, and what other psalms call wickedness, is essentially what our culture teaches people to be—autonomous, self-directed, self-sufficient.  To live among “the company of the righteous” is to trust that the reality of God’s grace is the ultimate reality, the final work about our sinful human existence.  Thus, we are to live not by what we see so pervasively around us, but by what we believe and what we hope for.



PSALM 15: Who May Be Present Before the Presence?

            What is at issue when we come into the presence of the LORD?  Who are we, and what should we be, as we come?  Psalm 15 begins with this question and gives one answer to it.  The question is a serious one for all of us.  The answers to the question in verse 1 are not requirements or prescriptions.  Rather, like the Sermon on the Mount, they portray what life is like when it is lived under God’s reign instead of in reliance upon oneself.






This is the Psalm in hymn form.  Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension. 


We’ve attached a video clip for a different version of a musical adaptation of Psalm 8 below.


We thought this adaptation from the Durham Cathedral Choir was beautiful too.

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