Psalm 9:1-2 (NLT)
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
Today we celebrate Jesus entering Jerusalem. His journey to the cross is almost complete. We remember the crowd gathering palm branches, laying them down, and crying, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The disciples, filled with joy and dreams of God’s kingdom realized, bask in the celebration.
Psalm 23 (NLT)
The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
When I reflect on Psalm 23, I think of David watching his sheep, feeling peaceful and content and writing the words, “The Lord is my shepherd…” I imagine him sitting, content, and reflecting on the goodness of God. The setting of the writing of Psalm 23 that I imagine couldn’t be further from David’s reality. David didn’t write this Psalm while he was shepherding sheep. He wasn’t content and he certainly wasn’t peaceful.
Psalm 95:1-5 (NLT)
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
I’ve been in churches where people stand, hymnal in hand, barely singing. I’ve also heard bands blaring so loud you can barely hear yourself or others. Either way, what I don’t hear is the community of faith singing joyfully.
Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT)
We put our hope in the Lord.
He is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,
for our hope is in you alone.
As I drove down the road I realized I didn’t have any cash with me. At first my mind started racing, wondering if there would be an ATM near that wouldn’t charge me a fee. So many things can happen when you’re out of town and I didn’t want to be stuck somewhere without any money.
My mind relaxed. “If anything happens, I can just use my credit card,” I thought. I felt relieved.
Psalm 130:7-8 (NLT)
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin.
Life was going well. But I felt good times wouldn’t last. They never do. I kept wondering what news of “joy” I would receive. What would it be? An appliance breaking down, a car repair, or perhaps something to do with my job. Life throws difficulties at us all the time and I wanted to be ready.
I don’t think I’m the only person who feels this way. Even when things go well, we may have a nagging voice telling us that good times won’t last shrouding us in hopelessness.