Psalm 104 – A Creation Psalm A deeply disturbing apocalyptic narrative streams live across our imagination and threatens to compete with the inspiration of Psalm 104. The psalmist’s ratio of postive to negative is instructive, but with the realities of nuclear proliferation, global warming, internet-deception campaigns, and terrorism, it is a tough competition. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has set the Doomsday Clock, the marker of how close humanity is to a civilization-threatening catastrophe, at two minutes to midnight. Jesus’ Prayer Book is honest with what threatens ourselves and our planet. To pray the psalms is to become well acquainted with human frailty, depravity, and mortality. But in the midst of all that hard news, the ratio of grace supersedes doom and gloom. The psalmist inspires our self-exhortation, “Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord.”
Psalm 122 – The Peace of Jerusalem The antiphonal encouragement heard by the psalmist sweeps aside the loneliness of the earnest sojourner and places him – places her – in the fellowship of believers.
Psalm 48 – The City of God The fortress city of Zion with its high towers and ramparts is the psalmist’s vivid resource for describing the majesty of God.
Psalm 47 – Our God Reigns This praise song is an ascension psalm divided in two parallel stanzas with a single unified message. All the redemptive promises celebrated in Psalm 47, the universal rule of God, the inheritance pledged to Israel, and the pride of Jacob, find their fulfillment in Israel’s representative, Jesus Christ. The apostles echo the themes of the psalm in revelatory ways that clarify the means God chose to bring about his salvation.
In keeping with the theme of the enthronement psalms (Psalms 90-99), Psalm 95 extols “the great King above all gods,” and leads the people of God in exuberant worship to the Lord, “the Rock of our salvation.” To this vibrant call to worship, the psalm adds an equally poignant challenge to obedience.