A psalm of David
rephrased for my heart today.
Praise the LORD, O my soul;
my whole heart and being, you were created to praise Him.
O my soul, never cease to praise the LORD Jehovah,
never forget all the tender mercies He has shown you:
Of first importance, only you LORD continually forgive all my sins.
Only You can heal all my sickness—both in my soul and in my body.
From the heavens, You reach down to rescue me,
redeeming my faults, my failures, and my very life from the pit.
From on high, You extend your hand to cover me,
crowning me with your lovingkindness and compassionate care.
You place in my soul a desire for You,
then satisfy that longing with your daily, moment-by-moment presence.
Although outwardly I am wearing down,
inwardly You renew my faith in you, my hope in you, my love for you,
such that my spirit may lift and soar like the eagles.
El Shaddai, You are a refuge for the oppressed;
in your time, there will be justice for all who suffer violence.
Praise to you, My LORD, for making known your ways to Moses:
revealing through him your creation of the heavens and the earth,
your plan to deliver us from both spiritual and physical bondage,
your initial passing over foreshadowing the ultimate Passover,
your ten absolutes for a freeing spiritual and moral life,
your many promises, miracles, faithfulness, holiness, and patient love.
Write upon my heart the deeds and wonders
You extended to the people of Israel:
Your protection, redemption, freedom, guidance,
and gift of the Promised Land.
What You did for them, You also do for me.
I have seen it in my own life, so I know that it is true:
LORD Jehovah is compassionate,
when I am feeling lost and my faith is weak;
Jehovah God is gracious,
when I am undeserving of anything but His rebuke;
He is long-suffering and slow to anger,
when I am slow to realize my idols and lay them down;
My LORD is abounding in love,
when I am too weary to lift my eyes to His heavens.
You do not stay angry at my dark rebellion forever,
rather You delight to show mercy
when I finally turn toward your light.
When compared to your eternal holiness,
my earthly messiness warrants separation from You.
I deserve to be removed from your presence,
but You remove my sin instead and draw me close.
My offenses earn me no right to be with You,
but You offload them to Jesus and set me upright.
Billions upon billions of stars comprise
the great and beautiful Milky Way;
And still your love for those who call you LORD
is of greater measure and beauty.
Trillions upon trillions of miles separate
the eastern edge of our galaxy from the west;
And still your separation of my sin from my eternal soul
is of greater distance.
What amazing grace—
but your compassion does not stop there;
“Children of God” you call us with your adopting grace,
thus making it possible for us to call you “Abba, Father.”
Adonai, it was You who formed me,
from dust I am and to dust will my body return,
and yet, You choose to clothe me today with your grace.
My days on this earth are like wildflowers,
here for only a moment, only a season,
and yet, across my fleeting days You extend
the fragrance of your loving presence.
At the end of my days,
the wind will blow and I will be no more on this earth,
and yet, You have etched me permanently
on the palms of your hands.
LORD Jehovah, how great is your lovingkindness for your children:
for those who stumble, backslide, and fall short,
but turn back to You, longing to follow after You.
Your love for us will never turn to dust,
nor fade like the flowers in the field,
nor blow away in the wind and be no more.
Your mercy is from everlasting to everlasting,
and Your faithfulness flows from generation to generation.
Where is the throne of such a great and almighty God?
In the heavens, for no earthly structure,
cathedral, castle, or palace can contain Him.
He is sovereign over all:
The angels, the mighty ones who carry out His plans,
the gentle ones who minister to His children,
the wise ones who guard us in all our ways,
they proclaim praise for Jehovah.
The sun that rises only on His command,
the wind that blows only per His direction,
the stars that twinkle only by His bidding,
all declare praise for the LORD.
O my soul, there can be but one response
to the One who pours out His healing,
redemption and renewal,
faithfulness and patient love,
tender mercies and compassion,
grace upon grace upon unbelievable, undeserved grace:
Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Without waiver, praise the LORD.
This is the second Psalm I’ve rephrased in my own heart language. (Psalm 40 was my first reflection.) Each experience has been nurturing to my soul. Maybe this week you’d like to take the hand of a Psalter and write out a verse or two in your words as a prayer. In doing so, may you see the Psalms and our LORD Jehovah with fresh eyes.
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