God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24 - Psalms 43-45, 49, 84, 85, and 87: Psalms from the Sons of Korah

Today’s Reading: Psalms 43-45, 49, 84, 85, and 87

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

The Sons of Korah experience similar emotions as David and express them in psalms.

Psalm (P)Synopsis

Psalm 43

The author wants God to help through being ridiculed and lied about. God would help, so why be down in the dumps?

Psalm 44

The sons of Korah cry out to God to help them through their battles. God helped their ancestors in Canaan and they are now calling on God to help them. They feel abandoned by God and want Him to return.

Psalm 45

The sons of Korah sing a song for a wedding. The groom is a top-notch specimen of a man. The woman is beautiful. She is greatly loved and will now become the most famous wife and mother in the land.

Psalm 49

The sons of Korah teach everyone about the importance of honoring God. No one can get where they are going by themselves. No one is immortal. So don’t think you are the end-all-be-all. No one is that great.

Psalm 84

The sons of Korah sing how wonderful God's house is. Animals of all kinds find homes there and raise their young to sing God's praises. They would rather camp outside God's house than spend a luxurious life in a place of sin. God's wonderful nature is that wonderful!

Psalm 85

Korah sings how great God is when He forgives His Chosen People. They ask God to release them from their punishment and renew their place in God's kingdom. They praise God because His creation is wonderful.

Psalm 87

God loves Zion. They are famous throughout the world. Israel is now reborn a great nation—full of children who are all God's children.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

Even when we are persecuted, fixing our eyes on God relieves our soul.

Reading Psalm 43 helps us see the progression from anger to a call for redemption and ends in praise for the God who sets things right. Hold on to God when you are around ungodly people—He will lift your soul.

Don't trust your weapons. Trust God.

The Sons of Korah know that God gave their ancestors military victories. That is why they tell God,
With your help we’ll wipe out our enemies,
   in your name we’ll stomp them to dust.
I don’t trust in weapons;
   my sword won’t save me—
But it’s you, you who saved us from the enemy;
   you made those who hate us lose face. (44:5-7, The Message)
Don't trust your power to defeat your enemies. Trust in God's power to save you from your enemies.
Trusting in God to save us instead of our own strength is difficult when we become the most powerful nation in the world. However, we must keep this trust or God will leave us and we will be defeated by lesser powers.

Not all psalms end in hope.

Psalm 44 does not end with the assurance that God is coming. It ends with a cry of Help us! We need to see that not all thoughts, songs, or worship settings should end with a happy ending. God is comfortable with us complaining to Him, even if that complaining ends without acknowledging God's imminent arrival.

There is no such thing as self-rescue.

This discussion often becomes automatically politicized in the US between the "pull yourself up by your own bootstrap" conservatives and the "you didn't build that" liberals. In the end neither is correct because they leave out the most important part: God. There is no such thing as "pulling yourself up by your own bootstrap" when it comes to setting things right. The cost is too great. At the same time, no government or organization can set things right by themselves. The organization requires everyone on the same page. Both require God to set things right. We age and die. Governments age and die. We can only have things set right in our lives when we allow God—who is ageless—to set them right and then join Him.

It is better to sleep on God's doorstep than live as a guest in sin's house.

A marvelous use of imagery, Korah (or the sons of Korah) presents a great truth about the differences between being wholly for God and being honored by evil. In that age poor people would sleep at the door of rich people so they could have the food that was thrown out every day. So Korah is telling everyone that it is better to eat from the scraps of God's table and sleep outside than to be an honored guest at the house of evil. Even God's scraps are better than sin's banquet food.

When we are forgiven by God, all is well.

Forgiveness from God is greater than any other thing in the world. This is why Korah writes,
I can’t wait to hear what he’ll say.
   God’s about to pronounce his people well,
The holy people he loves so much,
   so they’ll never again live like fools.
See how close his salvation is to those who fear him?
   Our country is home base for Glory! (85:8-9, The Message)
When God announces us reconciled, all of life works again!

All of God's people are His personal children.

God's nation is famous throughout the land because God's people are not the vassals of their god. They are God's Chosen People. They are God's personal children and he writes their name in His book of genealogies. All of God's children are loved personally, not as a cog in a machine.

Which of these psalms touches your life where you are right now?

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