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 298: Psalms 141 - 144


by Dave Moore

Fitting a theme we’ve followed throughout the book of Psalms, all four of those we’ll read today reach out to the LORD as a refuge:…”He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”  If you’ve been paying any attention to the rest of the Bible, it’s not at all surprising that the Israelites’ worship book would reflect this.  The LORD who sets apart, preserves, and rescues His people is the predominant theme of the Old Testament.    

All four of our Psalms today also make reference to some enemy, danger, or outright terror that the writer is facing.  In Psalm 141, David asks the LORD to “Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers!”  Two chapters later, the enemy has David within arms’ reach: “…the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.” 

As we near the end of the book of Psalms, let’s reflect on the importance of the threat-and-rescue motif in Israelite worship.  Given the history of Israel, and especially the experience of David, it should also not be surprising that appeals for rescue were composed.  But remember that the Psalms were compiled and arranged much later.  We’ve seen evidence of intentionality in the way they’re arranged, so surely there were editorial decisions about what to include and exclude. 

So what does it tell us that the worship leaders of Israel, the scribes who had most intimate knowledge of all the writings concerning Yahweh, considered these as so central?  What does it say, furthermore, that the LORD’s governance would permit it? 

What you hear of today are not abstract fears – terrors simply of the author’s mind.  They appear as real characters in a living drama with tangible consequences.  As you read today, focus your mind just as much on the fear and lament as you do on the faith and trust, and allow the very human story and response to sink in. 

Our verse for this week is James 5:16: Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Psalms 141 through 144.  Now let’s read it!

Psalms 141 - 144

141:1   O LORD, I call upon you; hasten to me!
    Give ear to my voice when I call to you!
  Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
    and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
  Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth;
    keep watch over the door of my lips!
  Do not let my heart incline to any evil,
    to busy myself with wicked deeds
  in company with men who work iniquity,
    and let me not eat of their delicacies!
  Let a righteous man strike me—it is a kindness;
    let him rebuke me—it is oil for my head;
    let my head not refuse it.
  Yet my prayer is continually against their evil deeds.
  When their judges are thrown over the cliff,
    then they shall hear my words, for they are pleasant.
  As when one plows and breaks up the earth,
    so shall our bones be scattered at the mouth of Sheol.
  But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord;
    in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
  Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me
    and from the snares of evildoers!
  Let the wicked fall into their own nets,
    while I pass by safely.

142:1   With my voice I cry out to the LORD;
    with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD.
  I pour out my complaint before him;
    I tell my trouble before him.
  When my spirit faints within me,
    you know my way!
  In the path where I walk
    they have hidden a trap for me.
  Look to the right and see:
    there is none who takes notice of me;
  no refuge remains to me;
    no one cares for my soul.
  I cry to you, O LORD;
    I say, “You are my refuge,
    my portion in the land of the living.”
  Attend to my cry,
    for I am brought very low!
  Deliver me from my persecutors,
    for they are too strong for me!
  Bring me out of prison,
    that I may give thanks to your name!
  The righteous will surround me,
    for you will deal bountifully with me.

143:1   Hear my prayer, O LORD;
    give ear to my pleas for mercy!
    In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness!
  Enter not into judgment with your servant,
    for no one living is righteous before you.
  For the enemy has pursued my soul;
    he has crushed my life to the ground;
    he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
  Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.
  I remember the days of old;
    I meditate on all that you have done;
    I ponder the work of your hands.
  I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
  Answer me quickly, O LORD!
    My spirit fails!
  Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
  Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
  Deliver me from my enemies, O LORD!
    I have fled to you for refuge.
  Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
  Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!
  For your name's sake, O LORD, preserve my life!
    In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
  And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies,
    and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul,
    for I am your servant.

144:1   Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle;
  he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
  my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.
  O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
    or the son of man that you think of him?
  Man is like a breath;
    his days are like a passing shadow.
  Bow your heavens, O LORD, and come down!
    Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
  Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
    send out your arrows and rout them!
  Stretch out your hand from on high;
    rescue me and deliver me from the many waters,
    from the hand of foreigners,
  whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
  I will sing a new song to you, O God;
    upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,
  who gives victory to kings,
    who rescues David his servant from the cruel sword.
  Rescue me and deliver me
    from the hand of foreigners,
  whose mouths speak lies
    and whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
  May our sons in their youth
    be like plants full grown,
  our daughters like corner pillars
    cut for the structure of a palace;
  may our granaries be full,
    providing all kinds of produce;
  may our sheep bring forth thousands
    and ten thousands in our fields;
  may our cattle be heavy with young,
    suffering no mishap or failure in bearing;
  may there be no cry of distress in our streets!
  Blessed are the people to whom such blessings fall!
    Blessed are the people whose God is the LORD!

(ESV)

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