Reading: Psalms 31-33
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 31: My Life and Future are in Your Hand
Psalm 31 holds a special place for Christians because Jesus used verse 5 as the final prayer of his life: “Into your hand, I commit my spirit.” We read into the description of affliction a witness to the suffering Christ endured. The psalm has been called a model of a prayer that is confident to be heard. This confidence is based on the character of the one to whom the prayer is made. Psalm 31 is a prayer that teaches us about trusting God, both in dying and in living. To entrust our lives and futures to God in living and dying means ultimately that we derive our identity, not from the worthless idols of our culture, but from the character of God, to whom we entrust ourselves.
PSALM 32: I will Confess My Transgressions
This is a psalm in which the practice of Penitence is taught as a lesson. In Proverbs 28:13 the lesson is formulated as general instruction using the same terms as the psalm: “He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper; he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” The psalm points to the crucial importance of the confession of sin. It is the human way to the forgiveness of sin. God’s way is to forgive sinners, and we do not acknowledge his grace unless we present ourselves to him as sinners. Righteousness is not to manage somehow to obey all the rules, to be sinless. Rather the lives of the righteous are pervaded by sin and its consequences. To be righteous is to be forgiven. To be righteous is to be a witness to God’s grace.
PSALM 33: The Earth is Full of God’s Unfailing Love
Psalm 33 seems to be a direct response to the invitation of Psalm 32:11. Verse 1 addresses an invitation to the same parties addressed in 32:11—the “righteous” and the “upright.” 11Psalm 32:11 also highlighted the concepts of steadfast love and trust, both of which are also prominent in Psalm 33. The intent of Psalm 33 is to acknowledge God’s comprehensive sovereignty. When 32 and 33 are read together, the striking claim is that the grace God shows in forgiving sinners is the force that accounts for the origin of the world, the unfolding of history, the care of individual persons, the real power behind human illusion of power, and the hope of God’s own people. Psalm 33 proclaims what lies at the heart of the good news of all Scripture: God rules the world.
This is the Psalm in hymn form. Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension.
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