Day 36, April 18, 2020
“It All Ends In Praise”
Thirty days ago, I started reading five psalms a day. There are 150 psalms. That means that today I will come to the end of Psalms. I gave a title to these daily readings. “Planted by Streams of Water: A thirty-day journey through the Psalms.”
Planted by Streams of Water is taken from Psalm 1 where we are told that the person who meditates day and night on the law of the Lord is like a tree planted by streams of water. Being planted by streams of water evokes the image that the psalms, the law of the Lord, the Word of God will sustain you through life’s journey. There will be a constant and refreshing source of life flowing into the one who meditates on the law of the Lord.
Journey refers to the gradual progress made by daily readings from the first psalm, Number One, all the way to the final psalm, Number 150. But in a real way Journey refers to something more than a literal reading from 1-150. When you read the psalms on a daily basis, you discover the scope of the journey, which is really a Journey of Faith. On the Journey of Faith…
· You will find time to lie down in green pastures, you will be led by still waters, and you will find restoration for your soul. (Psalm 23)
· You will ascend to Jerusalem singing songs of worship and fellowship, songs affirming that unless the Lord builds the house the builders labor in vain, songs that state the great truth that when we lift our eyes up to the Lord we are trusting in the one who will not let our foot slip. (Psalms 120-134)
· You will hear in countless iterations that the Lord is our Rock, our Redeemer, our Shelter, our Shield, and a theme that echoes through so many of the Psalms, “The Lord is our Refuge and Strength, an ever present help in times of trouble.”
And yet also of great importance on our Journey of Faith is the welcome discovery that the psalmist understands the depths of pain, the feelings of abandonment, and the great longing there is to find the comfort of God in times of deepest distress. On the Journey of faith…
· You will hear the psalmist cry out again and again, “How long, O Lord…” as struggles multiply and sadness lingers.
· The Shepherd who leads us to green pastures and beside still water also leads us through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. (Psalm 23)
· The soaring psalms that help us ascend to Jerusalem are matched time and again with ones that take us down to the pit of despair.
· We have to gird up our loins when we read the psalms, for we come face to face with the great cry of anguish, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
For thirty days I have been reading the psalms, and today I come to number 150, to the end of the psalms. Thirty days does not do justice, for the psalms were written and compiled over many years. The psalms take us all the way back to the Creation story in Genesis, to the slavery in Egypt, to the mighty acts of God delivering the people from bondage and providing for the people in the desert. The psalms celebrate the anointing of kings and the psalms crash and burn with the exile, leading to the bitter lament, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept…our captors demanded us a song. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”
Thirty days doesn’t do justice to the full scope of the psalms, but these thirty days have had their share of ups and downs. Several of you have lost loved ones in these thirty days. Many are working on the various front lines during the Coronavirus Crisis or have family and friends who are in these vital, but vulnerable positions. All of us have experienced the loneliness of isolation. And if there is even one single person who hasn’t cried out at least once, “How long, Lord, how long?”, I would be greatly surprised.
Can I tell you something very encouraging about the psalms? The journey has an end. You start at Psalm One and sooner or later you come to Psalm 150. The journey has an end. The end is good. After all the prayers for all the joys and all the sorrows, all the peaks and all the valleys, all the tears and all the laughter, the end is good. Psalm 145 is titled, “A psalm of praise.” Psalm 146, and 147, and 148, and 149 all begin with this joyful acclamation: “Praise the Lord!” And Psalm 150…oh, Psalm 150. The journey ends in praise.
Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre.
Praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute.
Praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
PRAISE THE LORD!
Keep the faith dear friends. We are on a journey of faith. Our God is with us every step of the way…every single step of the way. Hold on during the times of trial and testing. There is a good end to our journey. Like the psalms, it all ends in praise.
With the love of Christ,
Note: If you would like more information about PLANTED BY STREAMS OF WATER: A THIRTY DAY JOURNEY THROUGH THE PSALMS AND PROVERBS, send me an email and I will get the materials to you firstname.lastname@example.org