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Posted By Nan

Psalm 48

This psalm is a call to the people of Israel in good times. You would think it would be easier to feel Joy in the good times but that is often not so.
When things are bad we seek God and beg for relief. We remember to pray often and dedicate much time to seeking God. Not so the good times, when we are not under such stress and can be so caught up in how good things are that we forget to thank the one who has placed us in these good times. It is then that we fall under the spell of thinking we are responsible for the good things that happen, of believing we can build that tower to God.
Psalm 48 covers such times. The psalmist understood the human tendency to forget God in the good times. He writes to remind us that God’s blessings are there in the good times and we need to remember that. We need to always praise God. We need to always open ourselves to feel God’s Joy.
In the good times we have time to meditate on God’s unfailing love. We are not desperately begging Him to intervene in a crisis. We can instead meditate on His greatness. In the good times we have time to praise God. We don’t need to fill the air with our requests for relief. Instead we can fill the air with our praise. In the good times we have time to count our blessings and be thankful for them.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 47

When I started this blog series, I announced I was going to explore how Joy is always available. This is in direct contrast to happiness, which is transient. I spoke of how we would explore how Joy was possible even in the darkest times.
It may seem over this course of these series that I have contradicted this. Certainly I have spoken of the need to accept that sometimes Joy is hard to find. That sometimes we need to sit in those dark places and be okay with that.
I believe that Joy is possible even in the darkest times, but it is not always something we feel. I believe that Joy is always around the corner and that part of that is our willingness to open ourselves to what God has to give us.
This psalm is one example of this. The psalmist has written this psalm as a call to worship and praise God with joy. He is saying that God is always there. That what God has done is always there. That at any time we are willing to, we can feel the joy of worshipping God because He is great.
This doesn’t mean we will always experience Joy and it doesn’t mean we are bad if we cannot at times experience Joy. What it does mean is that Joy is a choice. We can choose to be open to praising God. It also means there are times when we are not open and for those times God does not condemn us. He just holds us close.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 45

I had trouble understanding this psalm until I read in one commentary that this was a psalm of praise to the Messiah, an allegory of the bride coming to the King. Once I put Jesus’ name in place of the King it all made sense.
It is in Jesus, our bridegroom, that we find our ultimate joy. A day will come when we who follow Him. We who are His bride. Will experience the joy of this psalm.
But in the meantime we can experience some of its joy. We can read this psalm of praise to Jesus and be filled with the glory of what He has done for us. We can feel joy because Jesus is exalted over all. We can feel joy because He is our bridegroom. He is our saviour. He is a precious gift from God. We can feel joy because Jesus is the reason the sins that weigh us down have been forgiven and cleansed and we can move forward in the blessing of righteousness. Just as the bride in the psalm comes into the presence of the King. Because of Jesus we can be whiter than the snow. Washed clean by His blood.
That is a great promise of joy. Joy we can experience now on earth, and in eternity with Jesus.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 43

We are often overwhelmed by the bad things that happen to us. Our distress is so great we can only beg God for relief. We can do as the psalmist in this psalm did and express our misery at the oppression, deceitfulness and downright nastiness of others. We can feel, as the psalmist did, that God our stronghold has rejected us. We can feel we are stumbling in darkness and beg God to send His light to guide us to Him. We can feel that it is not possible to praise God. Any word we speak in praise feels hollow and empty. We can only look to the time when we will experience Joy in God’s presence.
There is a time for everything. We will not always experience Joy. That is not what our life in this fallen world is able to be. We can look forward to the day when we will be in heaven, experiencing eternal Joy. But for now we are here in this world and we must allow ourselves the space to experience the misery of life. To sit patiently and wait for God’s comfort. To trust it is there. Just as the psalmist finishes the psalm with the message that we must put our hope in God. He is our saviour and our God and we will again praise Him and experience Joy.
It is important to remember, that even in the terrible places we may still glimpse moments of joy. They may not be the ecstatic expectation of joy we cling to, but they are joy all the same.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 42

This psalm starts with the well loved verse “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” NIV. It is a song of longing for God and is accompanied by reminiscences of the time when the psalmist was able to go worship with the community in the temple. The psalmist experienced great joy then but is downcast now because he is cut off from such worship of God. He misses the shared worship.
It is wonderful to worship with others but I suspect his sorrow is more about feeling cut off from God. Until Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, it was not possible to worship God anywhere. People at the time only experienced the Holy Spirit when worshipping in the temple, unless they were one of the prophets God sent the Holy Spirit to.
It is important to remember that we are not dependent on such worship to feel God is with us. We are not dependent on the presence of others to feel God’s Joy. It is lovely to be with other believers truly worshipping God, but it is important to note that not all groups of people singing praise songs to God are actually praising God. I have been in large groups of people singing praise songs and sought desperately a sign of the Holy Spirit being with the people in response to praise. I have been in a group of 2 or 3 and sung praise to God and been overwhelmed by the presence of the Holy Spirit.
The psalmist’s joy was in his thirst for God being quenched by God’s presence. We can always experience God’s presence. We can always satisfy our longing for God.
How great are God’s blessings that He gave us Jesus who sent the Holy Spirit to give us constant access to God anywhere and anytime.



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