When I read through the Psalms, I see what I would call a “language of prayer” interlaced through these scriptures. It is a language that is open, vulnerable, reverent and, at times, desperate.
It is a language that reveals truths about God’s character, His interaction with man and man’s interaction with God. For example, in Psalm 46:1, the psalmist shows us that he has found God to be a refuge and a present help in time of trouble. These descriptions of interactions between God and man, and the actual prayers that are detailed in the psalms help me in several ways.
First, it increases my understanding of God and His intentions towards me. Sometimes, during the problems of life, I mistrust God’s good intentions towards me. I tend to question His love for and care of me. At times, I have wondered if God had forgotten about me, or if He was mad at me. When I read how the psalmists felt and saw God, and how God interacted with them, I can see more clearly the truth about God and His nature, rather than be blinded by my feelings or circumstances.
That in turn increases my ability to trust God, because I can see Him for who He is, and more readily believe His good intention for me even if I am not “feeling it.” Being reminded of these truths about God encourages me to choose to trust the goodness of God. The third result is a deepening of my ability to express my praise, thankfulness and love for God. When I am trusting God’s goodness and care, it opens my heart to thank God.
Some of these actions of God are listed below. I encourage you to read them with care and thought, and ask yourself, “Is this how I see God in my life?” If not, then take some time to pray and ask God to help you to see Him in these ways.
The God of the Psalmists and the Prophets Is Our God Too!
We speak to the same God that the psalmists, prophets and patriarchs spoke to, and we have a relationship with this same God. Perhaps you read these scriptures in the Old Testament and think that such interactions were from of old and not for me today. Yet God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Hebrews 1:12 and 13:8). God’s character and nature are unchanging.
In Jeremiah 23:23, the prophet in chastising Israel quotes God as referring to Himself as “the God who is near.”
“Am I a God who is near, declares the Lord, and not a God who is far off?”
In context, God is telling the people that He is near to them, but also He knows them when they have distanced themselves from God, and so to speak are hiding out from Him. The word for “near” is “karove” and it implies a nearness in time, in place and in personal relationship. Other words for near in this context are: close at hand; neighbor; next to and approachable.
We worship the same God who defined Himself as the God who is near. Read about how the Psalmists describe God’s closeness and intimacy with His people. Let these words encourage you about how God interacts with you today. Again, I ask you to ask yourself these questions: Is this how I see God? Is this how I interact with Him?
Ps. 3:3– God is our protector. God is a shield and the One who lifts us up.
“But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”
Ps, 4:7 –. God is the source of joy.
“You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”
Ps, 56:8 – God knows our sadness and hurt.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.”
Ps. 9:12b – God does not ignore us, no matter how we are feeling about Him, or our circumstances.
“He does not ignore the cries of the afflicted…”
Ps. 38:3 – God answers our prayers to Him and He encourages our faint and weary hearts.
“When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me.”
Ps.11:4– God is Sovereign. God is in control, even when things in our life or the world around us are out of control.
“But the Lord is still in His holy temple; He still rules from heaven.
He closely watches everything that happens here on earth.” (TLB)
Ps. 42:8– God is constant. He is always acting on our behalf.
“By day the Lord directs His love, at night His song is with me.”
These are just a few examples of truths we can learn from the language of prayer and praise found in the book of Psalms. I encourage you to read through the psalms to find your own expressions of how God interacts with us.