Psalms

  • Psalms Facts

    150 chapters
    2,461 verses
    41,277 words
    Wisdom Genre

  • Psalms Word Cloud

    This word cloud picture shows the most repeated words in Psalms

  • Writings about Psalms

    Christian education materials about Psalms, including book overviews, reading guides for the Wisdom genre, discussion questions, discipleship lessons, and thought-provoking essays.

  • Psalms Daily Readings

    Start reading or listening to Psalms and its associated daily readers on Day 276 when Psalms begins

Daily Reader for Day 282: Psalms 38 - 43


by Dave Moore

Turning to chapter 42 in the middle of today’s reading, we’ll encounter two transitions.  First, you’ll notice a heading “Book Two” proceeding the chapter.  Psalms was divided by its compilers into five “books,” and each has subtle distinctions that you’ll probably notice.  Second, Psalm 42 is attributed to “The Sons of Korah,” Levites who served at the Temple.

In Book One, the only person connected to a Psalm was King David.  Whether he was the sole author of them, or commissioned others – or whether these were commissioned by kings of David’s line, is not clear.  It’s completely possible, given his accomplishment as a musician in Saul’s court, that this was just one more of David’s skills. 

Psalms 38, 39, and 40, all attributed to David, have the feel of a sequential unit.  Written in honor of the Memorial Offering, Psalm 38 presents the heart of one who recognizes his unworthiness when approaching the altar.  In chapter 39 the author contemplates the transience of life and prays that he be delivered from his transgressions.  And in Psalm 40, the triad concludes as the LORD is thanked and celebrated for His mercy and steadfast love.

Psalm 41 seems a summation – a celebration – that completes the first Book of the Psalms.  There is even a benediction at the end.  Finally, Psalms 42 and 43, from the Sons of Korah, form a cohesive unit built around the repeated question and answer: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” 

Listen for themes of guilt, repentance, turmoil and vindication throughout these Psalms.  The authors are unafraid to express their fear and anguish directly beside steadfast trust in the LORD: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”   To the Psalmist, this mixture of emotions is not a contradiction, but forms the sound of worship. 

Our verses for this week are Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Psalms 38 through 43.  Now let’s read it!

Psalms 38 - 43

38:1   O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath!
  For your arrows have sunk into me,
    and your hand has come down on me.
  There is no soundness in my flesh
    because of your indignation;
  there is no health in my bones
    because of my sin.
  For my iniquities have gone over my head;
    like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.
  My wounds stink and fester
    because of my foolishness,
  I am utterly bowed down and prostrate;
    all the day I go about mourning.
  For my sides are filled with burning,
    and there is no soundness in my flesh.
  I am feeble and crushed;
    I groan because of the tumult of my heart.
  O Lord, all my longing is before you;
    my sighing is not hidden from you.
  My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
    and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
  My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague,
    and my nearest kin stand far off.
  Those who seek my life lay their snares;
    those who seek my hurt speak of ruin
    and meditate treachery all day long.
  But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear,
    like a mute man who does not open his mouth.
  I have become like a man who does not hear,
    and in whose mouth are no rebukes.
  But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
    it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
  For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me,
    who boast against me when my foot slips!”
  For I am ready to fall,
    and my pain is ever before me.
  I confess my iniquity;
    I am sorry for my sin.
  But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty,
    and many are those who hate me wrongfully.
  Those who render me evil for good
    accuse me because I follow after good.
  Do not forsake me, O LORD!
    O my God, be not far from me!
  Make haste to help me,
    O Lord, my salvation!

39:1   I said, “I will guard my ways,
    that I may not sin with my tongue;
  I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,
    so long as the wicked are in my presence.”
  I was mute and silent;
    I held my peace to no avail,
  and my distress grew worse.
    My heart became hot within me.
  As I mused, the fire burned;
    then I spoke with my tongue:
  “O LORD, make me know my end
    and what is the measure of my days;
    let me know how fleeting I am!
  Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths,
    and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
  Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
    Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
  Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
    man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
  “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
    My hope is in you.
  Deliver me from all my transgressions.
    Do not make me the scorn of the fool!
  I am mute; I do not open my mouth,
    for it is you who have done it.
  Remove your stroke from me;
    I am spent by the hostility of your hand.
  When you discipline a man
    with rebukes for sin,
  you consume like a moth what is dear to him;
    surely all mankind is a mere breath! Selah
  “Hear my prayer, O LORD,
    and give ear to my cry;
    hold not your peace at my tears!
  For I am a sojourner with you,
    a guest, like all my fathers.
  Look away from me, that I may smile again,
    before I depart and am no more!”

40:1   I waited patiently for the LORD;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
  He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
  and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
  He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
  Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the LORD.
  Blessed is the man who makes
    the LORD his trust,
  who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
  You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
  I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.
  In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.
  Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
  Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
  I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”
  I have told the glad news of deliverance
    in the great congregation;
  behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O LORD.
  I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
  I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.
  As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
  your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
  For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
  my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
  they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.
  Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
    O LORD, make haste to help me!
  Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
  let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
  Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”
  But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
  may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
  As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
  You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!

41:1   Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
    In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
  the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
    he is called blessed in the land;
    you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
  The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
    in his illness you restore him to full health.
  As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
  My enemies say of me in malice,
    “When will he die, and his name perish?”
  And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
    while his heart gathers iniquity;
    when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
  All who hate me whisper together about me;
    they imagine the worst for me.
  They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
    he will not rise again from where he lies.”
  Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
    who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
  But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
    and raise me up, that I may repay them!
  By this I know that you delight in me:
    my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
  But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
    and set me in your presence forever.
  Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting!
      Amen and Amen.

42:1   As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
  My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
  When shall I come and appear before God?
  My tears have been my food
    day and night,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
  how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
  with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.
  My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
  from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
  Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
  all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
  By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
  I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
  Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
  As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
  while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

43:1   Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
    against an ungodly people,
  from the deceitful and unjust man
    deliver me!
  For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
    why have you rejected me?
  Why do I go about mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?
  Send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
  let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling!
  Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy,
  and I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.
  Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

(ESV)

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