Category Archives: Psalms

Worship and Suffering: Praising God from the Ashes

In scripture, suffering and worship go hand in hand. The greatest book on suffering ever written, the book of Job makes this connection at the very beginning when everything begins falling apart in Job’s life,

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (1:20-22)

Worship and mourning are not mutually exclusive. If we misunderstand worship to be praise conditioned upon positive circumstance then we misunderstand the very nature of worship and the very nature of God. Worship is unconditional in that we offer it to God no matter what, in all circumstances. At the same time the thing that happen in our lives have everything to do with the content of our worship. We praise God out of the reality of what is going on in our lives. The scriptures never sugar coat worship as if God is co-dependent to our “everything is fine” addiction. No. Worship in the Bible is in tune with reality because worship and suffering and not mutually exclusive. Even these words of Job are offset in the text, assuming that they are a song. Job is singing.

If there is still any doubt about this please take a moment to read the Psalms. It won’t take you long to realize that those songs frequently call out to God from troubled circumstances. This worship is a worship that recognizes God’s worth and worthiness from difficult circumstances and then calls on God’s covenant faithfulness to make things right again.

If you are suffering and down maybe it is time to try worship. It is good for the soul.

“The lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised.”

Why are Biblical Lament and Celebration Extremely Important Today?

They are important because they are rooted in history. When you look at both biblical lament and biblical celebration, especially in the psalms, they are rooted in historical context. They reach back into their history. They remind themselves and their listeners (their co-mourners/co-celebrants) that what they are experiencing has deep roots going back generations. ThereContinue Reading

Psalm 51:5 Does God Create “In Utero Sinners”?

“Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me.” – NRSV “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” – NIV “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” – NASB, ESV, RSV What is going on here? The firstContinue Reading

Praying Scripture

I just posted something that will be of interest to some of you on praying scripture over at Wineskins — “Bono Gives us a Lesson on Praying the Psalms” Try out the exercise at the end of the post and see how it works for you.

In the Bible Courage is Almost Always Based on Two Things

As I was working through where the word courage is mentioned in both Testaments, something really jumped out. There were two things that came up over and over again as the reason for the courage we are to have. Here are some verses to consider in both Testaments to give you an idea of whatContinue Reading

4 Words that Connect Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 1 and Ephesians

Dueteronomy 6:4-9 is one of the most popular passages in the entire Old Testament. Those verses serve as instruction about intentionally passing on faith to the next generation before the Hebrews enter the promised land. There are four words in Deuteronomy 6 that are later echoed in Psalm 1 and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians…IContinue Reading

The Prayers of Hallelujah, Hurts and Hates

I have been reading a lot on prayer lately and ran across this point from Eugene Peterson in his terrific little book on prayer, “Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer,” It is easy to be honest before God with our hallelujah’s; it is somewhat more difficult to be honest in our hurts; itContinue Reading

Hallelujah in the Psalms

In Hebrew the word hallelujah (“praise the Lord”) is actually two words, not one – hallelu is an imperative form of the verb hallel, which means “to praise” + one of the words for God in the Old Testament, “Yah”. Hallelujah is more than an expression of praise, as it is often used today…it isContinue Reading

Psalm 146 – A God We Can Trust

Psalm 146 1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. 2 I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 3 Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. 4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that veryContinue Reading

Psalm 139 – Intimacy With God

When I read Psalm 139 the word that comes to my mind most often is the word “intimacy”. This psalms highlights the knowledge God has of our lives starting in verse 1 and going through verse 6 and then picking up again from 13-18. But intimacy is more than knowledge… Sandwhiched between all the languageContinue Reading


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