April is poetry month. I’ve been celebrating by reflecting on a psalm a day. Now that I’ve come to the last day of the month, shall I continue to reflect on a psalm a day? Please leave a comment if you’d like me to or if you have a suggestion for something else. Thanks!
A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple.
1 I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up
and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O Lord my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
3 O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol;
you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints,
and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment,
and his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may tarry for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O Lord,
you made my mountain stand strong;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
8 To you, O Lord, I cry,
and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!
O Lord, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
you have loosed my sackcloth
and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!
Here are the Shiyr Poets with a beautiful (long) version of this psalm, and here’s Elizabeth Enalls with the Psalms Project and lyrics closer to the psalm, and here’s Karl Kohlhase with verses 11 and 12 as a refrain (he dedicates the video to all suffering from sadness and depression).
This psalm is very poetic with couplets where the meaning of each line is either the same in the next line with different words or it is the opposite in the next line, as we see in verse 5. It’s interesting that this psalm is noted as a psalm of dedication of the temple so we see the king of Israel, song-poet David, writing this deeply personal song for others to sing when the temple is ready to be dedicated. I guess because he is the king and a poet, he can boldly sing his own experiences and trust that they are to some extent universal. But for the dedication ceremony, I think verse 4 is most powerful, calling all the saints (sinners-now-saints as the Shiyr poets put it) to praise God.
Verse 5 is the stand alone, stand out verse of this psalm that most people know if they are familiar with this psalm at all. I think it aptly follows verse 4 calling saints to praise God and give him thanks because his wrath (anger against sin) is momentary but his love (favor towards us) is forever.
I have made oblique references this month to struggles that the study of Psalms is helping me with. As we see David face his trials and adversaries with an open heart and loud cry to God, I am encouraged to do likewise, and have fought fear time and again. The unknown has not been resolved, the future I fear has not (yet) come to pass, and yet God has allowed me through this psalm reading to live day by day and affirm that all is well. He who has seen me through so much will continue to guide and guard my life. I can turn to him moment by moment and check in that I am doing what he wants—that I am doing what is right. How thankful I am for this practice of writing about and posting a psalm a day.
All thanks and praise to God!