First, I love the book of Psalms.
Second, I go to this book for scriptural prayer, comfort and kinship.
Third, and speaking of kinship, I think David might have been a bit bi-polar (aka: Manic Depressive). Now I’ve not been diagnosed as bi-polar, nor has anyone ever insinuated this; but, something about David’s mood swings in the Psalms he wrote are über-human, relevant and reassuring to the fact that life has always been crazy and unpredictable. What goes up, must come down and visa versa.
Before I get rolling, let me give you a little info you might not have known about the Psalms from my handy Bare Bones Bible Handbook (if you didn’t go to seminary and don’t have this book AND you’d like to know a little more about the books of the Bible, get this indispensable book, and while your at it – pick up the Bare Bones Bible Bios book).
The Book of Psalms are 150 chapters long and were written over a period of 10 centuries; from the time of Moses back in 1410 BC till about 450 BC. King David (as in David and Goliath) wrote almost half the Psalms, 73 chapters to be exact. Unknown authors and Asaph, the “worship leader” David hired for the temple choir, wrote the rest of the Psalms.
I often wonder if David wrote these song-poems for private worship use, as I find it so odd for a King to openly talk about dancing and joy to God and the next breath be so open in his depression, doom and gloom…then right back to praising God. I don’t think there is anything out there that answers if all the Psalms were public knowledge at the time they were written; if there is, someone point me in the direction of that info. But it certainly is Divine intervention that these psalms, some of which read like private journal entries, made it’s way into the Bible.
In my head, my private prayers often sound like David’s psalms, wavering between extremes:
- God you are amazing and awesome! (Ps 8:1)
- God I am such a mess, please don’t leave my side. (Ps 40:11-13)
- God I’m awe struck at the moon and stars, and I feel you in the breeze of the night. (Ps 104:2-3)
- God I’m surrounded by those that don’t pray and love you, what more must I do, I thirst for You? (Ps 12:1, 13:2)
- God I wake with music in my mind, a song in my heart that sings of Your goodness and love. (Ps 108:1-2)
FYI / TIP: it was good fun to write my emotional thoughts and then find similar passages in Psalms, highly recommend doing this (you’ll get an opportunity below…)
You’ve heard ”it’s good to be the king”. And it probably was good to be King David. He was loved by his people and by God. He was powerful and was devoted to a powerful God. He lived a warriors life, yet took time to be creative and write beautiful music to his God. And in his intimate thoughts, through extreme highs and lows, he showed the same types of waves of emotion each of us go through in modern age. Nearly 3,500 years have passed and the Psalms have remained timeless. What great comfort it is to have the writings of King David, his emotions, mood swings and all.
What one verse (or verses) in Psalm represents your heart today; is it joy and praise and thanksgiving, OR doom and gloom and fatigue? Just go here and type in a search word, choose to search Psalms to Psalms… when you find a verse come back here and post that passage as a comment (you can even comment anonymously and without an email address… incase you didn’t know).
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