Words to Ponder V: Wisdom in the Psalms

Weekends With the Word

Weekends With the Word is continuing to trek through the so-called “Wisdom Literature” of the Bible, digging for words of encouragement and comfort for healing, forgiveness and joy-filled living. Whatever seems to speak to me is what I’ll highlight here, which is also to say, if it doesn’t speak to me it won’t be highlighted here!

“Wisdom Literature” refers to those pieces of Biblical text that impart some kind of advice or wisdom about living a faithful and good life, from one person (a sage or elder or priest) or generation to another. We’ve already spent time pondering Proverbs, Sirach, and the Wisdom of Solomon.

This weekend we’re pondering in the Psalms. Not all Psalms are considered part of the wisdom tradition. In fact, there are many different kinds of psalms: lament, hymns of praise, thanksgiving, prayers for help, and instruction. About 12 psalms have been identified as belonging to the wisdom tradition. An article in Wikipedia identifies: Psalms 8, 29.3-10, 37, 49, 73, 90.1-12, 92.6-8, 107.17-32, 119, 131, 144.3ff, and 147.8ff.

Because there are so many Psalms, I will focus on just part of the wisdom psalms this week, reserving the remaining wisdom psalms for next week and the rest of the psalms for coming weeks.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? ~Psalm 8.3-4

My Take: I have always been a stargazer, from my youngest days. Often times it is in stargazing that I “see” God and “hear” God’s word just for me. Being able to see stars again clearly during my IMRT last summer was a major boost and positive sign–a true joy experience.

The voice of the Lord is over the waters, the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. . . May the Lord give strength to his people! May the Lord bless his people with peace! ~Psalm 29.3-4, 11

My Take: I could have posted the entire psalm, but I chose to focus on these verses. Anytime we are in distress it is as if we are caught in a storm, but this reminds me that God is God over the storms too, and more powerful. And I pray for strength and peace as I also pray for my storm to end with renewed life, health and vigor for a new thing.  

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. ~Psalm 37.3-5  

My Take: Trust God, delight in God, everything will be all right. Healing comes at God’s hands, and God takes care of everything else too. Focus on living a good, healthy life of kindness and grace.

But God shall ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.  ~Psalm 49.13

My Take: No matter how much hell I experience here on earth, God is there to rescue me. He will save me now and in the future.

Nevertheless I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me with honor. . . My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. ~Psalm 73.23, 24, 26

My Take: God is always with me, such a comfort to dwell on this! And I seek God’s counsel, and God keeps me strong. It’s a comfort to think of this when I think of my treatments, and everything that has transpired in the last few years (all of them really!). God is gracious and hospitable.

 Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, so that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be manifest to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. ~Psalm 90.14-16  

My Take: You know the saying “Joy comes in the morning”? Here’s a reference to it. Show me your power God, so that my children may also see it and know. For me this is a prayer for healing. I always hope that I will wake up and be healed.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and the harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. ~Psalm 92.1-4

My Take: This reminds me of the song “I Could Sing of Your Love Forever”. It’s that kind of a statement. I haven’t looked in to why only verses 6-8 were listed as wisdom, and I read the entire psalm and verses 1-4 spoke to me. It also reminds me of going to church camp, and that is a very healing place and thing indeed. I’ve been reading about the idea of giving thanks for something before it happens, so I sing praise and thanks for God who heals me daily.


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