What does it say?
David expresses his humility and hope in God in this short, three-verse psalm (Psa 131), one of the 15 Psalms of Degrees. The occasion of the writing is uncertain.
Psalms 138-145 are eight psalms of David arranged together. This one (Psa 138) appears to have been written in the later part of David’s reign. In the same way, Psalm 139’s reflective nature and David’s call for God to examine his heart suggest that this, too, was probably written in his maturity.
Psalm 143 is one of seven classified as penitential, or psalms expressing a repentant heart. It is a psalm of David and he appears to be under attack, but other than that we are not certain of the occasion. Psalm 144 is another psalm that is almost entirely a compilation of fragments of other psalms of David. The psalm praises God for his goodness. Psalm 145 is an acrostic psalm of David, beginning each verse with the successive 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This is an imperfect acrostic in that it lacks one of the 22 letters. The theme of this psalm is praise to God for his goodness and great works.
What does it mean?
Psalm 131 is not difficult to understand. Can you honestly pray this to God? In Psalm 138, the meaning of verse 2 is not that God’s word is more important or excellent than his name, but that God’s faithfulness to the truth of his word is what causes his name to shine above all or on every occasion. Note the emphasis on God’s mission in Psa 138:4. Psalm 139 is wonderfully reflective and mature, deserving our attention and meditation. Here, David concludes there is no escape from God, and that his creation of the human being is more amazing than we can imagine. The final two verses have been the prayer of submissive believers through the centuries.
Psalm 143 is a song of repentance, but notice that repentance is work that God does and that we receive. Examine the verbs that David uses in verses 7-12 to form his petitions to God. What are these requests? Psalm 144 puts fragments of other psalms together to praise God. How would you characterize the theme of this psalm? Psalm 145, the acrostic, emphasizes God’s eternal kingdom and how the story and mission of his kingdom is passed from one generation to another.
How will I respond?
Today’s reading encompasses a great range of topics. What is the portion of scripture that speaks most directly to me today, and what specific step will I take in response?