Tag: Psalmody

The Martyrs’ Psalm, part 1

On February 12, 1554 a martyr mounted a London scaffolding having denounced the Catholic doctrines of salvation by works, transubstantiation, and Papal authority.  As from so many other martyrs, it was Psalm 51 heard recited from their lips before the axe fell or the tinder was lit. 

The martyr’s name was  Lady Jane Grey.

She was 17 years old.

Why Psalm 51?  Why the confession of an adulterous, murderous King on the saintly lips of this young girl and countless others willing to die for their faith?

Just read the following words and imagine them coming from a 17 year old girl with her pious head on a chopping block.

Have mercy on me, O God,

according to your steadfast love;

according to your abundant mercy

blot out my transgressions.

Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,

and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,

and my sin is ever before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned

and done what is evil in your sight,

so that you may be justified in your words

and blameless in your judgment.

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,

and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;

wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins,

and blot out all my iniquities.

10  Create in me a clean heart, O God,

and renew a right spirit within me.

11  Cast me not away from your presence,

and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

12  Restore to me the joy of your salvation,

and uphold me with a willing spirit.

13  Then I will teach transgressors your ways,

and sinners will return to you.

14  Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,

O God of my salvation,

and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.

15  O Lord, open my lips,

and my mouth will declare your praise.

16  For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;

you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.

17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;

a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

18  Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;

build up the walls of Jerusalem;

19  then will you delight in right sacrifices,

in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings;

then bulls will be offered on your altar.

King David uses no fewer than 5 different terms for his acts of adultery with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband:  transgressions, iniquity, sin, evil, and bloodguiltiness.  For these he is pleading with God for mercy, for washing, cleansing, purging, renewal, restoration, deliverance and salvation.  David confesses that the sin he was born in and continued to walk in are not just constantly visible to his own eyes but to God’s as well.  In fact, even though others suffered  deadly consequences as a result of his adultery and murder it was God Himself that David repents of sinning against.  

Like King David, Lady Jane Grey held the throne, albeit for a mere nine days, and like King David she was hunted by another monarch, only her persecutor met with ultimate success.  Neither sought the throne themselves and yet that is where their royal similarities seem to end.  Except for the thing they held most in common– the God they served.  And in her time of deepest testing, it was the failed king’s Psalm of repentance that sprang from Lady Jane Grey’s lips.

To be continued…

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Week 24

Memory Verse:  Matthew 24:35

Reading #1:  Psalm 72

Questions:  According to verse 4 who is going to meet a swift end at the hand of the Lord?  In verse 5, what characteristic are people to maintain as long as the sun and moon endure?  In verses 17 and 19,  what attribute of the Lord’s is the Psalmist praying will endure and be forever blessed? 

Reading #2:  Psalm 89:1-37

Questions:  In verse 2, which 2 attributes of God will be built up forever and established in the heavens?  In verses 36 and 37, which offspring of David’s do you think is being described as enduring forever?  Whose throne is going to endure as long as the sun and be established forever, like the moon, “a faithful witness in the skies?”  Which fleeting characteristic of man’s is referenced in verses 47 and 48?

Reading #3:  Psalm 102

Questions:  Which fleeting characteristic of man’s is referenced in verse 3?  According to verses 25 and 26, what will remain even earth and the heavens perish?

Reading #4:  Isaiah 51

Questions:  According to verse 6 how will the plight of people mirror that of the heavens and earth?  In contrast, which characteristics of God will last forever?

Psalms and Hymns:

Psalm 102C:  Of old You earth’s foundation laid; Your mighty hands the heavens made; yet they will die, while You endure. Like garments they will worn out be.”

Psalm 72A: “Till sun and moon no more are known they shall thee fear in ages all.”

Praying Under the Same Sky:

Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa

Week 23

Memory Verse: Isaiah 55:9

Reading #1: Psalm 36

Questions:  Right after the description of the height of God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness and judgment in verses 5 & 6, what promises of His provision are we given in verses 7-9?

Reading #2: Psalm 57

Questions:  Both Psalm 36 and 57 describe God and His ways as being higher than the heavens and yet both call the reader to “take shelter under the shadow of His wings.”  How do you connect those 2 Divine attributes of loftiness and protection?

Reading #3: Psalm 71

Questions:  Psalm 71 continues the theme of God’s heavenly reaching righteousness and sheltering refuge.  What do these Divine attributes motivate the Psalmist to do in verses 14-18 and 22-24.  According to verse 17, how did the Psalmist acquire such a deep knowledge of the Lord?

Reading #4: Psalm 103

Questions: Verse 11 says that God’s steadfast love for those who fear Him is as high as the heavens are above the earth and in the next verse it says that he has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.  What pivotal event can you point to that most profoundly displays those 2 statements?

Psalms and Hymns

Psalm 36B “Thy mercy Lord, extends to heaven; Thy faithfulness, the sky.  Thy justice is like mounts of God; Thy judgements depths defy.”

Psalm 57B “O be exalted high, O God! Above the heavens stand, and let Your glory be above all earth, both sea and land.

Praying Under the Same Sky

Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore