So I have been trying to find a way to present the Psalms in groups. I have now classified two-thirds of them, up to Psalm 106, while praying continuously regarding the Lord’s will for this work. He has graciously revealed a plan to me for what I am to write, which I will reveal in the near future – watch for this! I will either complete that plan over the next two to three years, sharing it weekly here with you, or I will leave it for someone else to pick up and carry on if, for example, is the Lord’s will to call me home. Barring that, I am dedicated to finishing well!
For now, I can confirm that the entire Cycle appears in the Psalms. Zooming up to a higher altitude to look on them as a body, it becomes clear that each step of the Cycle gets concentrated treatment in at least one psalm. For example, Psalm 8 is completely dedicated to unity with God. To those of us who grew up in liturgical churches that read a psalm every week, this psalm is as familiar as Grandma’s fabled roast beef dinners right after church.
“Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!...Out of the mouths of babies and infants, you have established strength…to still the enemy…what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands…” (8:1a, 2, 4-6a, ESV).
There are dozens of glorious praises to God (and looking forward to his Messiah) in the Psalms. Taken together, I could spend a lifetime just trying to comprehend the majesty of unity with God that he offers us every moment of every day. Open your Bible right now, leaf through the Psalms, and bathe in these passages!
Psalm 9 reveals a slightly different emphasis on unity with God, by providing a contrast to what is not unity with God. This psalm, too, is full of great praise and glory to God. But the contrast appears in observing what happens to those who reject God – judgment.
The psalmist, King David in this case, has seen it all happen before his eyes:
“When my enemies turn back, they stumble and perish before your presence…You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; the enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins…the very memory of them has perished…The nations have sunk in the pit that they made…their own foot has been caught…the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands” (9:3, 5-6, 15-16b).
Psalm 9, like so many others, offers each of us a very clear choice. It is easy to look at the judgment of entire nations that reject God. But I have been convicted by 106 psalms now that I am regularly caught in the snares of my own making. So while God has judged entire nations and will continue to do so, I too am among the wicked when I sin, as inevitably I do. Those moments may or may not bring judgement, but they certainly result in at least momentary disunity from God.
Immerse yourself in the psalm groups we review in the coming weeks. Praise be to the Son of Man foretold there, who offers restoration in response to sincere repentance.
“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble” (9:9).
Choose wisely before your own snare is tripped.