Everyday Psalms

MEDITATION: Psalm 8:2 by Alan J. Hommerding

February 6, 2018

From Everyday Psalms From the mouths of babes and infants you have raised a fortress, a defense to silence your enemies and avengers. It is easy to read this verse as a mere sentimental statement about how much God loves children.  But here the psalmist is using an extreme paradox to illustrate God’s power and God’s ability to wield power everywhere.  In Israel’s society, babes and infants were not only physically weak and helpless, their social standing was zero, since their future was not assured, given the high mortality rate.  Yet God can use even them to build up a defense, and can vanquish enemies through them.  How often do we think we are too insignificant or helpless to be a source for God’s power in [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 7:14 by Alan J. Hommerding

January 30, 2018

From Everyday Psalms Sinners conceive trouble, they are pregnant with wickedness, they give birth to lies. There is no greater physical connection between two human beings than that of a pregnant mother and her child.  The psalmist uses this very potent metaphor to describe how what we bear in our spiritual “wombs” is what we will, ultimately, give birth to.  It is a consistent theme of the scriptures: what is in our hearts is known only to God while it is there, but it will, eventually, be “born” in our actions.  Today we might think of this image this way: if we were to get a spiritual sonogram, would it show a healthy child?   PRAYER You see into my depths, O Lord. Help me to search my life so that it [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 6:6 by Alan J. Hommerding

January 23, 2018

From Everyday Psalms I am worn out from moaning; I flood my pillow with weeping all night, I soak my bed with tears. This is an example of the psalms’ “don’t hold back” approach to prayer.  The psalmist finds it nearly impossible to overstate how miserable life is (“I make my bed swim in tears,” one translation has it).  Technically, this way of speaking or writing is called hyperbole, but in the psalms it’s used as a means to express utmost trust, confidence, and intimacy, all in an honest, loving relationship with God.  With whom do we share our most extreme moments of any emotion?  With those we love the most, with whom we are most at ease, and whom we rely on above all others.   [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 5:11 by Alan J. Hommerding

January 16, 2018

From Everyday Psalms Let all who find refuge in you be glad; let them always sing with joy. Shelter them; may all those who love your name rejoice in you. The people of ancient Israel were a people who wandered, who lived as nomadic tribes or in exile, even a people who – when settled – spent much time outdoors in the fields, with herds, on the way to market, or to fetch water.  For them shelter was a big deal, whether it was refuge from the elements or enemies.  People who are victims of natural disasters understand this, but many of us don’t live this way.  Nevertheless, there are many things in life from which all of us need “shelter” from time to time.  God, for us, is still that shelter.   PRAYER [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 4:6 by Alan J. Hommerding

January 9, 2018

From Everyday Psalms There are many who say, “O that we might see some good! Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!” Ancient Israel had a deep and potent personal relationship with God, and the language of personal encounter imbues their writings.  Yet for the Israelites, seeing the face of God was a frightening proposition: nobody could look upon God’s face and live.  But the countenance of God was life-giving; it was considered a source of blessing, light, and (in this passage) goodness itself.  Only in one context could one look upon the face of God and life: when called to life eternal.   PRAYER God of life eternal, let your face shine upon me. Watch over me, guide me; with your tender gaze bless me [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 3:5 by Alan J. Hommerding

December 19, 2017

From Everyday Psalms I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for the Lord sustains me. Scriptural tradition holds that David wrote this psalm while he was fleeing from his son Absalom and other enemies.  Even in this time of trail (“stress,” we’d call it today), David doesn’t lose any sleep.  His trust in the Lord’s sustaining power is such that it allows him to sleep while enemies are in pursuit, and he also realizes that divine power is what allows him to wake each day.  Does our faith allow us to slumber peacefully?  Or are we kept awake wondering how we (not God) will handle the trials of our life?   PRAYER Keep me confident in your sustaining power, Lord. Refresh and strengthen me so I may face each [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 2:10 by Alan J. Hommerding

December 12, 2017

From Everyday Psalms Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the Earth. It is easy to think that this psalm isn’t speaking to us.  “I’m not a king.  I’m not a ruler.”  Perhaps we need to think of ourselves in this instance as the psalmist, the one offering the cautionary note to kings and rulers, speaking with the voice of God who scorns the folly of nations that turn away from God’s reign for the sake of their own.  The psalmist acts as a prophet “speaking up” in public for the voiceless, the poor, and the outcast.  Not caving in to despair or cynicism, the psalmist / prophet speaks out in prayer and action.   PRAYER Help me listen, O Lord, for your wisdom. May I [...]

MEDITATION: Psalm 1:6 by Alan J. Hommerding

December 5, 2017

From Everyday Psalms The Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. We might think that the opposite of “wicked” is “good.”  But the scriptures offer us a different option: righteousness.  Acting righteously, in right relationship with the will of God and rightly toward others, is an active way of living, not merely a passive state of goodness.  How often is our passivity really the wickedness of inaction?  The scriptures have no time for those who are self-righteous, because the reign of God calls us to be God-righteous.   PRAYER Your will be done on Earth as in Heaven, O God our Father. Keep me steadfast and faithful in your way, turning away from wickedness, [...]