This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I am focusing in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will post a summary page with some thoughts about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey! Click here to see where we’ve been so far!
The Big Picture of Psalms:
The word “psalm” is used to describe a poem or song typically one connected with some kind of religion. Right in the middle of our Bibles we find a book filled with these psalms. What’s neat is that many of the psalms can be traced back to various points in the history of God’s people. Some psalms are filled with gratitude and thanksgiving while others lament the hard times in life. There are psalms that seem to have been used in royal ceremonies with some of the Kings and others written hidden in caves. One of my favorite things about the Psalms is that it seems to document the everyday life of believers which makes them very relatable to our lives today.
Fun Facts about the Psalms:
- There are 150 psalms in the book.
- Psalm 119 is the longest psalm with 176 verses.
- Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm with only 2 verse.
- Psalm 118 is in the very middle of the Bible.
- Psalms is actually divided into 5 smaller books within the book with each section ending with a song of praise called a “doxology”.
- Book 1: Psalm 1—41
- Book 2: Psalm 42—72
- Book 3: Psalm 73—89
- Book 4: Psalm 90—106
- Book 5: Psalm 107—150
- Today, the psalms are used in both Christian and Jewish worship.
- King David wrote 73 of the 150 psalms
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse. Since Psalms is so long we’re dividing it up over three weeks. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” (Psalm 9:1)
REFLECTION: What can you give thanks to God for this week? Who will you tell of God’s wonderful deeds in your life?
- “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? ” (Psalm 27:1)
REFLECTION: Who or what in your life is trying to make you fearful right now? What does it look like to trust and depend on the Lord in the middle of that fear?
- “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. “ (Psalm 34:18)
REFLECTION: Who do you know that needs to be reminded that God is near? How can you remind them of the truths in this verse?
- “Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.“ (Psalm 38:15)
REFLECTION: What are you waiting on an answer from God for? How can you wait well this week?
God’s Grace in the Psalms:
I think we can find just about any human emotion somewhere in the Psalms. I kind of mentioned this in the summary piece above, and I mention it again because I think that it is where I most see God’s grace currently in the Psalms. Reading through them, especially a lot of them at one time like we’ll be doing the next few weeks, reminds me that God is big enough for whatever I’m thinking and feeling. He can handle my anger, even if it’s aimed toward Him. He can walk with me in my doubt and bring me back to a place of trust. He understands our fears and reassures us in those anxious moments. Not only is God bigger than all our emotions, He also was the one who created us with those emotions. Of course, we can let those feelings lead us into actions that go against His desires, but the emotions themselves are a gift of grace, one that often, if we let it, leads us straight into deeper relationship with Him.
Some Other Resources:
- A Spotify playlist of songs that were written using the words of Psalms
- Psalms and Proverbs Bible Reading Plan (If you’re wanting to change things up a bit, this plan will take a little over 4 weeks which is how long we have to work our way through Psalms and Proverbs)
- The Bible Project summary video of Psalms
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Psalms
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!