I have a confession to make: I do not like The Psalms. I would hear my friends quote the Psalms and kind of role my eyes. My first and only encounter with the Psalms came in high school as we were studying the Old Testament my second year of seminary. Trying to just get through them, I read a couple of pages a night and all I remember was David going on and on about how the Lord needed to punish his enemies. Unlearned of the time line of the Psalms, I thought the Psalms were written after David killed Uriah and took Bathsheba to wife. So in my mind I was thinking David deserves his enemies fighting against him!
Last fall when we were in Florida, the Institute lesson there was The Old Testament. I couldn't go to class, but I downloaded the manual and started reading. I love the Old Testament! It's written so poetically and there is so much to learn from the stories (Moses, Abraham, Joseph, Samson, David, Solomon...). I was really enjoying my study of the Old Testament until I got to the chapter in the manual that read "Psalms" as it's title. I hadn't really delved into much of a study of the Psalms since high school but I knew it wasn't right to skip over the Psalms so I started reading. I prayed that I would come to know why the Psalms was included as scripture and that I would grow a stronger testimony of Jesus Christ and of the Psalms.
Now, I am shocked to say, I really do like the Psalms! Understanding that some of the Psalms which were written by David while hiding from Saul, it makes total sense that while he was fighting for his life for being chosen king by the Lord that he would want the Lord to protect him. Most of the other Psalms are about praising the Lord (I'm not sure how I missed that...). As I approached reading the Psalms I only read a few at a time, sometimes only one, so that I could ponder about it. While they don't offer a lot of deep doctrine, the Psalms help us remember that the Lord is who is in charge and that we should never stop praising Him for all that He has done for us. Some of my favorite verses:
Psalm 9:9: "Put them in fear, O Lord: that the nations may know for themselves to be but men"
Psalm 17:5: "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness"
Psalm 23:3: "he leadeth me in his paths of righteousness for his name's sake"
Psalm 27:14: "Wait, I say, on the Lord"
Psalm 34:1: "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth"
Psalm 44:12: "Thou sellest thy peple for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price"
Psalm 56:11: "In God I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me"
Psalm 73:25: "...therefore is none upon earth that I desire beside thee"
Psalm 86: 11-13: "Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify they name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou has delivered my soul from the lowest hell."
Psalm 90:17: "and let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us"
Psalm 107: 27-28: "[men] are at their wits end. Then thy cry unto the Lord"
Psalm 118: 8: "it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man"
I am so grateful that I took this opportunity to learn from the Lord through the Psalms. These are only some of the verses that stood out to me and I am sure I will continue to find other great ones throughout my life. The biggest overall lesson I have learned from the Psalms is to praise the Lord and always remember Him!