Psalms

Here’s a list of my posts on the Psalms.

Needing redemption (Psalm 137)

The bright burning intensity of righteous anger may still fail to illuminate our desperate need for reconciliation. (a post by Jeff HansPetersen)

On reading Psalm 93

The Lord is “robed in majesty,” yes, and high and lifted up, but the scripture he has given us: it is given through our own mouths, and portrays our own plight, is right down here on the ground with us, in the mud and the blood and the gore.

Ecology as doxology (Psalm 104)

To understand the structure of the cosmos and expound its workings in a way that acknowledges its creator is to be filled with wonder and overflow with praise.

Living between divine love and human iniquity (Psalm 36)

Abiding in God’s love does not make us pious dopes who think (or pretend) that everything is always wonderful. It enables us to see evil clearly, call it what it is, and understand that in the end it is powerless before the power of Love.

Psalm 119:17–24 (Gimel)

What is my relationship with Scripture? How do I experience it? How do I describe it? What is it to me? In certain stages of my formation there were voices that emphasized words like “inerrancy.” In truth, though, despite my formation in evangelical circles, these were never the voices of my own teachers. To beContinue reading “Psalm 119:17–24 (Gimel)”

The point of Psalm 139

The point of Psalm 139 is not theological speculation, and certainly not prooftexting for contemporary partisan politics, but to move me to desire to seek God’s leading.

Whose friend can I be? (Psalm 119:63)

What do we mean when we say, “I am a companion to all them that fear thee”? What are the aims and limits of friendship in Christ?

This is my story, this is my song: the story we enter when praying Psalms 95–97

In the book of Psalms, the entries in the 90s are grand, profound, and glorious. Is this because the reader who enters into them gets grand and glorious feelings, or because the aesthetic quality of their poesy is high, or because they refer to realities that are objectively awesome? (And I realize that “objectively awesome”Continue reading “This is my story, this is my song: the story we enter when praying Psalms 95–97”

Follow the bulls: part 2, the return of the bulls (Psalm 51)

This is the only possible solution to the problem of failure in self-knowledge, the problem of the locked room of delusion and self-deception: to be known by The Other, to invite and open oneself to the knowledge that only The Other has, but which The Other has offered to share.

Fearing and not fearing (Psalm 56)

Fear is a fearful thing. It can cause blindness. It can undermine our rationality. It can make us shoot our wife or betray our country. It can be both a symptom and a cause of unfaithfulness to our God.

The simplest psalm (Psalm 117)

St. Athanasius said that the Psalter contains in itself a perfect summary of every other part of the Bible. I think we could also say: Psalm 117—the shortest and simplest of the Psalms—sums up the entirety of the Psalter, and so in some sense the entirety of the Bible.

Reading Psalm 102 on Inauguration Day

We are given another opportunity to love our neighbor as ourselves, which must in the final analysis from a godly, biblical perspective be the sole aim and justification for participating in politics.

Fearing and laughing: Psalm 52 and the demise of Trump

The more usual, expected phrase is “fear and trembling.” But there comes a time for fear and laughing. Psalm 52 contemplates the fate of the powerful person who is evil and boastful, contrasting it with the faithfulness of God toward the righteous, meaning the people who live in covenant relationship with God.

ReMEMbering Psalm 119:97–104

Oh, how I love your law!It is my meditation all day long.Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies,for it is always with me.I have more understanding than all my teachers,for your decrees are my meditation.I understand more than the aged,for I keep your precepts.I hold back my feet from every evil way,in order toContinue reading “ReMEMbering Psalm 119:97–104”

The dark turn of Psalm 106

Psalms 95 through 101 utter the praise of the Lord in an unobstructed way. The Psalmist focuses on the Lord’s mighty acts of deliverance on behalf of his people, and joy wells up and overflows as the natural response to the goodness of God. Psalm 102 drops down into a place of suffering and distress,Continue reading “The dark turn of Psalm 106”

Psalm 104: Introduction

What do we mean when we call the Scriptures divine revelation? Many things. One thing we mean: Scripture is text that expresses and inculcates a way of seeing everything (i.e., our lived world, everything that we are to some extent capable of seeing). It is transcendent-truthful vision: “Transcendent” meaning that it shows more deeply thanContinue reading “Psalm 104: Introduction”

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