Reading: Psalms 101-103
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 101: The Way of Integrity
This psalm is a song of one whose sphere of responsibility extends beyond his own “house” (vv. 2,7) to include “the city of the LORD” and the land (v. 8). The psalm was composed for use at the inaugural of the king or a celebration of his kingship. It is a declaration of commitment to the righteous conduct that belonged to the ideal of a king. Psalm 101 could be understood today as an articulation of the values that God wills to be embodied among humans: love, justice, integrity.
PSALM 102: A Prayer of the Lowly
The psalm begins with an individual prayer for help, but then it makes a sudden shift. A brief ascription of praise is followed by an expression of hope for and confidence in the restoration of Zion (vv. 12-17), and hope for the return of exiles (vv. 18-22). Verses 23-24 return the focus to individual complaint and plea, but the psalm ends in praise and confidence in the people’s future. In the Psalm. Zion is the symbol of God’s willingness to be concretely present in space and time with a particular people. For the church, the symbolism of Zion has been transferred to Jesus (Heb. 1:10-12 views Ps 102:25-27 as testimony to Jesus’ lordship). For Christians, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as the ultimate demonstration of God’s reign, which takes the form of mercy and grace. Jesus is the seal of God’s constancy. And the church professes to find its hope in these words of Jesus, which make essentially the same promise for the future as Psalm 102:28: I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20).
PSALM 103: Bless the Lord, O My Soul
Psalm 103 is a profoundly evangelical hymn. It gives voice to the thankfulness of sinners that the LORD is a God of mercy and grace. It recites in a concentrated way what Israel learned about the ways of God: the Lord had not dealt with them according to their sins. The Psalm intends to be comprehensive. It affirms that God, who rules over all and does all good things for all persons in need, is to be praised in all places by all creatures and things with all of their being.
This is the Psalm in hymn form. Read or sing it through with melody to give the Psalm another dimension.
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