Read a Psalm each week with us (NIV)

Week of March 10. 2024 - Psalm 107: 1-9

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
    finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
    and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.

Notes from NIV for Psalm 107: 1-32

MERCY ENDURES. The fifth and final book of Psalms begins with a call for the redeemed to give thanks to the Lord, in light of his enduring love (vv. 1-3). Then, using four particular narratives, it illustrates this enduring love of God. 

The first narrative tells of a group that suffered from hunger out in the desert, their lives fading away. Then (with the first appearance of a common denominator in all four stories), they cried out to the Lord (vv. 6,13,19,28). The Lord answered, leading them from the desert to a city where their hunger might be satisfied (vv. 6-7). The second group suffered from the punishment of slavery to foreign oppressors. They cried to the Lord and he delivered them (vv. 13-14). The third group suffered from the punishment of wasting disease; however, when they cried to the Lord he showed nothing but mercy (vv. 19-20). The fourth group suffered from fear of the sea's power, their lives being threatened. They too cried to the Lord and the storm was stilled (vv. 28-29).

Not only does each scene show someone crying to the Lord and subsequently being delivered by the Lord's mercy, each one includes the response that should follow: "Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind" (vv. 8,15,21,31). The height of the demonstration of this mercy was in the sending of Jesus, who would die a substitutionary death on behalf of his people. The only response to an enduring love like this is a thankfulness that knows no end. 

Week of March 3, 2024 - Psalm 19 

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 
Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 
3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 
6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. 

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statues of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. 
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. 
The decrees of the LORD are firm, and all of them are righteous. 

10 They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey; than honey from the honeycomb.
11 By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. 
13 Keep our servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. 
Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.

14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight; LORD my Rock and my Redeemer. 

Week of February 25, 2024 - Psalm 22

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me,
    so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
    by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
    you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
    they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm and not a man,
    scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
    they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
    “let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
    since he delights in him.”

Yet you brought me out of the womb;
    you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
    from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,
    for trouble is near
    and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;
    strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
    open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
    and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
    it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
    and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
    you lay me in the dust of death.

16 Dogs surround me,
    a pack of villains encircles me;
    they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
    You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
    my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
    All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
    Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
    the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
    but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
    before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
    those who seek the Lord will praise him—
    may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth
    will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
    will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
    and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
    all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
    those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
    future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
    declaring to a people yet unborn:
    He has done it!

Notes from NIV for Psalm 22:1-2

FORSAKEN BY GOD? HISTORICALLY, Psalm 22 is attributed to David and is an individual lament of his suffering. He described the utmost feelings of forsakenness and despair yet chose to proclaim God's faithfulness and to believe that deliverance was forthcoming. In its immediate context, this psalm brings perspective to life, particularly to the dark nights of the soul. It reflects the common human experience of suffering and crying out to God, only to be met with God's apparent silence. Reflecting on the stories of God's faithfulness in the past, however, gives God's people reason to believe that he will speak again, he will come through and he will again rescue his children. In these moments, God's children may cry out in pain while fully expecting to be vindicated. They can choose to worship in the midst of waiting. 
THE NEW TESTAMENT Gospel writers make use of Psalm 22 in another manner. Alluding to and quoting directly from this psalm, the writers focused on the Messianic concept of the innocent sufferer, one who experiences affliction and scorn only to be vindicated for the purposes of atonement and praise. This expectation of redemption must have couched the cries of Jesus in the context of hope as the first-century audience recalled the psalmist's triumphant conclusion. After the resurrection, it became clear that Jesus' cry of despair had not been the end. 
WHAT DID Jesus experience in his anguished moments? While the precise details remain unknown, Scripture speaks about Jesus' suffering, crucifixion and death as something that brought him deep sorrow that he hoped to avoid if at all possible (Matthew 26:38-39). No one, not even the Savior himself, wants to endure the dark nights of the soul, much less be tortured to death. Furthermore, Christ became "a curse for us" (Galatians 3:13) and ""bore our sins' in his body on the cross" (1 Peter 2:24). This type of suffering is interpreted by many evangelical theologians to mean that Jesus endured the very wrath of God to its end, and with it his terrible hatred for sin. Such relational trauma, physical pain and spiritual torment is beyond our imagination and experience, yet Jesus managed to choose to endure all this for the "joy set before him" (Hebrews 12:2). This is why Christ quoted Psalm 22 (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34), because he knew that God would deliver him from death, just as David believed and as Isaiah prophesied: "After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11). Forsaken for a moment, yes, but only for a short time and for the greater good that God had promised. 

Week of February 18, 2024 - Psalm 25

Of David. 

1 In you, LORD my God, I put my trust.

2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 
3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. 

4 Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. 
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.

8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. 
11 For the sake of your name, LORD, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 

12 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.
13 They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. 

14 The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare. 

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. 
18 Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!

20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you.

22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

Notes from NIV for Psalm 25: 1-3

UNASHAMED - Honor and shame were of the utmost consequence in ancient Near Eastern culture. It is no surprise then that David felt strongly about avoiding shame (vv. 1-3, 20). What is unexpected, however, particularly in a cultural context that bilaterally contrasts honor with shame, is David's choice to bring trust into the equation. Psalm 25 thus highlights the truth that putting one's hopes and trust in God is the only effective deterrent to shame. After all, God promises to guide "the humble in what is right" (v. 9), and a righteous life, trusting in the Lord, is worthy of honor. Trusting God, quite simply, brings honor and spurns shame. 
Jesus expanded on this idea when he warned his disciples of his imminent death and of Peter's denial. In light of this, Jesus urged them to trust in him: "Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God: believe also in me." (John 14:1). He even went so far as to say, "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" (Luke 9:25). Jesus unequivocally calls his followers to trust in him and, in doing so, they will be unashamed and bring honor to God. 

Week of February 11, 2024 - Psalm 50

A psalm of Asaph.

The Mighty One, God, the Lord, speaks and summons the earth
    from the rising of the sun to where it sets.
From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth.
Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages.
He summons the heavens above, and the earth, that he may judge his people:
“Gather to me this consecrated people, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.

“Listen, my people, and I will speak;  I will testify against you, Israel:  I am God, your God.
I bring no charges against you concerning your sacrifices
    or concerning your burnt offerings, which are ever before me.
I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens,
10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.
12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.
13 Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats?

14 “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High,
15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.”

16 But to the wicked person, God says: 

“What right have you to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?
17 You hate my instruction and cast my words behind you.
18 When you see a thief, you join with him; you throw in your lot with adulterers.
19 You use your mouth for evil and harness your tongue to deceit.
20 You sit and testify against your brother and slander your own mother’s son.
21 When you did these things and I kept silent, you thought I was exactly like you.
But I now arraign you and set my accusations before you.

22 “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you:
23 Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”


Week of February 4, 2024 - Psalm 147

Praise the Lord.

1 How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!

The Lord builds up Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp.

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.

10 His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
11 the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.

12 Extol the Lord, Jerusalem; praise your God, Zion.

13 He strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you.
14 He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

15 He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
16 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
17 He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?
18 He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

19 He has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel.
20 He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his laws.

Praise the Lord.

Notes from NIV for Psalm 147

SEE WHAT GOD HAS DONE - Throughout the psalms, the psalmists constantly praised God for all of the works that he had done. These works proved God's faithfulness to his people. In Psalm 147, the psalmist listed promises that God had upheld and would continue to uphold, all of which are a testament to his faithfulness. The psalmist praised God for his wondrous deeds to the nation of Israel, likely at a time when they rebuilt the walls around the city of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2: 17-20; 4: 1-23). These mighty acts of the Lord demonstrate that he had not forgotten his exilic people and would, once again, give them reason for great praise. Believers will never run out of things to be amazed by as they see all that God has done for them. Like Israel, God always provides for his people. His provision culminated in sending his Son Jesus to provide believers with ultimate salvation, which is in itself everything they could ever need. 

Week of January 28, 2024 - Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord.

I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly.

Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them.
Glorious and majestic are his deeds; and his righteousness endures forever.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.

He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations.
The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy.
They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever—
    holy and awesome is his name.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
    To him belongs eternal praise.


Week of January 21, 2024 - Psalm 62

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down - this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. 
With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from  him. 
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. 

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. 
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. 
10 Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. 

11 One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: "Power belongs to you, God, 
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love";
and "You reward everyone according to what they have done."


Week of January 14, 2024 - Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.

1 You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 

7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, 
     when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes say my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand - when I awake. I am still with you. 

19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, LORD, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 
23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

Notes from NIV for Psalm 139: 13-14

THE UNBORN Psalm 139 is a beautiful picture of how God is involved in every single aspect of every person's life. The first 12 verses discuss how, no matter where David went, God was always with him. God knew his thoughts (v. 2), God knew his ways (v. 3) and God knew his words (v. 4). Furthermore, God knew David when he was in  his mother's womb, long before he had thoughts, ways or words (vv. 13-14). The same holds true for every person in the world. God is involved in every aspect of a human's life. While some think a person's life, as well as God's involvement in it, starts the day they are born, it is clear that God is involved well before the day of birth: "You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb" (v. 13). In Luke 1: 26-38, the angel Gabriel explained to Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. She was understandably confused because she was a virgin. However, the angel explained that the Holy Spirit would conceive a child in her. Just as Psalm 139 describes, that child would be formed and knit by the hand of God. While Jesus is the only human every to have been conceived by the Holy Spirit, all children are formed by the Creator. 

Week of January 7, 2024 - Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.

Notes from NIV for Psalm 13: 1-6

HOW LONG? The psalms are songs, not theological essays, and they express the psalmists' honest thoughts and heartfelt emotions. In this song, David expressed his anguish to God as he repeatedly asked, "How long?" Exhausted and weary, David's questions represent more of a tearful plea than a search for informational answers. Similarly, Jesus called out to God in his desperation. After telling his disciples that his soul was "overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he went away to pray alone: "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will" (Matthew 26:38-39). These historic accounts not only validate the human need to express oneself openly to God, but also they teach an important lesson. Both David and Jesus did more than lament. They asked God for help and they declared their willingness to trust in him. David spoke of God's love and works while Jesus readily surrendered to his Father's will. How often are God's people guilty of lamenting without trust or, conversely, of declaring faith without honest expressions of the heart? The holistic expression of this psalm - lament, ask and trust - is a model worth emulating.