Reading: Psalms 83-85
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 83: The Enemies of God
God must not be inactive because his enemies are astir and they are preparing an assault against his people. A series of three petitions call for divine action to solve the crisis. Some argue that the violent imagery of Psalm 83 and its prayer for vengeance render it unusable for Christians. It is a reminder, however, that the reign of God and the divine purposes have never gone unopposed. Israel knew this, as did Jesus, Paul, and the early church. We should know it too, for the contemporary world is hardly less inclined to violence than was the ancient world or less inclined to enact God’s will for justice, righteousness and peace.
PSALM 84: Happy are Those Whose Strength is in You
Of all the psalms that celebrate Zion and its temple as God’s dwelling place, the 84th has been the favorite. From its opening exclamation to its concluding beatitude, the psalm celebrates the joys afforded by the dwelling of God with mortals. It was probably sung by pilgrims as they made their way toward, arrived at, and walked about Jerusalem. Every visit to a temple or church or meeting of believers is in a profound sense a pilgrimage. We go not just for practical or personal reasons; we go to meet with the God who dwells among us.
Psalm 85: God’s Salvation is at Hand
Psalm 85 is primarily known for its striking portrayal of God’s promise of peace and salvation in verses 8-13. The promise is delivered in the midst of current distress that has followed a more favorable time. The psalm encompasses the reality that Christians already know and experience in Jesus Christ, but that exists amid the ongoing brokenness of the world and the sinfulness of persons and of our society.
This is the Psalm in hymn form. Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension.
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