Might and Mercy
There is something about the Psalms which affects me differently than the other genres of Scripture. The Psalms make me feel somehow linked back to the faithful followers of God of the past. The historical accounts in the Bible do not do this and, though they are compelling and wonderful, neither do the narratives. I can’t connect with the dialogues or the legislative literature in the same way that I can the Psalms.
In wondering why that holds true in my heart, I had a thought; how would I summarize the Psalms, if asked? It was an interesting puzzle, once I began to think about it. Many of my favorite verses and passages came to mind, including,
“He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes.He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow and the waters flow.”
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me!
The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their roaring. Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory!
How would I summarize the Psalms? I have no idea. They are comprehensive and specific and lovely and harsh and perfectly descriptive of the human response to the knowledge of God.
I love the Psalms because the children of God have from the beginning been moved to praise Him, to speak of Him, to record their responses to His glory, justice, and love in poetic and lyric form. I love to rejoice with them in the victories of God, to feel their remorse and penitence over their sin before Him, to praise God for His works and character and wisdom alongside these ancient writers.
Where phrases such as “who can stand before Him?” and “Your love will ever preserve me” meet together; where the responses to God’s might and His mercy are combined and intertwined; where God is revealed to be at once wonderful and terrible; that’s the book of Psalms. And it is quite a place to meet God.