Psalms 84 – 89

Psalm 84 – Expression Of Yearning For “The Courts Of The Lord” And Prayer For God To “Look With Favor” On “Our Shield,” “Your Anointed”
Psalm 85 – Prayer For God To “Restore” His People From Some Situation Of Distress
Psalm 86 – Individual Prayer For God’s Help When Under Attack By Enemies
Psalm 87 – Song Celebrating God’s Special Love For Zion And Care For Its Citizens
Psalm 88 – Individual Prayer For God To Remove His Wrath And Deliver From Death
Psalm 89 – Prayer For God To Rescue His People, To Remember His Covenant With David

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One Reply to “Psalms 84 – 89”

  1. Psalm 84 is very familiar, the foundation for the worship song, “Better is One Day” and probably others. I remember having a youth read this psalm as we led the song enthusiastically.

    How Lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God…Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Psalm 84:1-2, 10a

    Psalm 85 prays for God to restore his people because he can. “Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other” (85:10). Let that resonate for a bit, soak in the imagery and sing the prayer: “Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven” (85:11). Amen!

    Here’s a verse you won’t likely hear in any contemporary worship song, “Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours” (86:8). We don’t often admit that we have violated the first or second commandments; we’re so advanced, right? I certainly don’t make little golden calves to worship or build totem poles in the back yard, much too sophisticated for that! Lord, I pray you will expose how I violate the first two on your short list of ten commandments, especially how this really destroys Jesus’ summation of all the law, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” How can I do that if I place before you things that distract me from you? Something to ponder.

    “As they make music they will sing, ‘All my fountains are in you'” (87:7). This psalm entreats everyone to honor God: Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre and Cush.  All will be “born in Zion” (87:4). One day, we’ll all rejoice together. People from all corners of the earth will live together as if we were all from Zion…that’s the dream.

    Interesting note that “many early church leaders interpreted this psalm as a prayer of the suffering Christ (as they did Psalm 22); for that reason it became part of the Good Friday liturgy” (NIV Study Bible notes). I wonder if that’s still the case in some denominations? “Lord, you are the God who saves me; day and night I cry out to you” (88:1). A good beginning, but the rest of the psalm cries out in pain and separation from God. Such a mystery, how does atoning really work?

    Book III of Psalms concludes with Psalm 89, a resounding declaration that God is the One True God and a reaffirmation that God will punish, but “will not take my love from him nor will I every betray my faithfulness” (89:33). The psalm is full of pain and glory, taunts and praise all mixed together. The end resolves it neatly: “Praise be to the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.

    Music is difficult to explain, perhaps impossible. Each instrument has its own sound, its own feeling, its own voice. That’s why musicians have so many instruments, striving for the sound that fits the intent of the song. Music is central to worship and again, difficult to express just how.  I truly believe that sense we feel when notes and words collide in some strangely beautiful fashion is confirmation that we are part of a spiritual world, temporarily on assignment in jars of clay. When we lose ourselves in a psalm or modern praise song and bask in the glow of worshiping our Lord and risen Savior, we are momentarily in touch with God on a level that defies explanation. I feel sorry for those who’ve latched onto agnosticism or atheism in their anger or confusion. How difficult that must be and how awful compared to the serenity that awaits those who put their trust in God.

    These are the emotions that begin to pour out when playing through the psalms. They’re in the middle of the Bible for a reason. Praise be to God!

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