Christianity 201

March 22, 2021

Two Psalms of Comfort

Today I paid a return visit to Prayerful Pondering by Pat Luffman Rowland. She has not been actively writing this year, so I reached back a decade in her archives finding this article from March, 2011. However… in the process I also noticed the ‘bonus’ devotional which appears further down the page, and realized I simply had to combine these. You might even want to print that one! (In case you do copy/p[aste that section, I’ve left out the green which normally accompanies scriptures here.) The links for each appear in the titles which follow.

Psalm of Comfort

Psalm 103 is a psalm of comfort for the one who feels ashamed and discouraged over sins and needs reassurance that God forgives and loves His children in spite of their actions.  It is for the one who needs encouragement, healing, and hope.  This psalm answers the question “Does God still care about me?”  And the answer is a resounding yes!

David, who wrote this psalm, was called “a man after God’s own heart.”  He was called that because he had, from his youth, developed an intimate and trusting relationship with the Lord.  He walked with Him and talked with Him — always.  Even so, because David was human, he sinned.  Adultery and murder were among those sins.  But David knew how to come back to God when he had gotten off track.  David knew the way back because he knew God.  His years of living intimately with the Father taught David who God truly was.  He knew that God hated sin, but loved him with an everlasting, unfailing love.  He knew God would always forgive him and always welcome him back when he came with a contrite heart.  What David had in relationship, we can also have.

Notice that David begins and ends with praise for God.  Scripture says that God inhabits our praise.  David wants to be heard, he wants the presence of God, and he adores his Maker with words of exaltation.  His intention is to establish a right position between Creator and created.  After David has entered God’s presence with words of exaltation, he continues to pay tribute to God by explaining all he finds in Him.  This is a defining poem about a God of love and David’s confidence in Him.

May this psalm provide comfort to the one seeking it, for whatever reason.  We can claim it as our blessing from the One who knew everything we would do before we did it and still sent His Son to die for us to save us from those things we could not save ourselves.   Before we were born, God knew the obstacles we would face and the pain we would go through, and He gave us the promise that He would never leave us to go through it alone.  Declare this psalm to your weary mind, body, and spirit and be infused with His love and the peace that follows.

Psalm 103  (NIV)

1 Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Father, there is no one’s forgiveness we need more than Yours.  We may hide our sins from other people, but we can never hide them from You.  There is no one that can encourage us like You.  A word from You, O God, is precious beyond measure.  We come with praises and thanksgiving for a love like Yours!  We hide ourselves in the shadow of Your wing, where we are comforted and restored.  No matter how hard life gets, there is always healing in Your presence.  There, you renew our hope and give us new vision. We bless Your holy name, most high God!     

Comfort Prayer

The book of Psalms provides much comfort.  As David and other psalmists share with us their own emotions, we learn how to deal with our own.  Psalm 91 is a psalm many of us like to pray for ourselves or others when comfort is needed.  We do that by personalization.  To make it your own declaration, or your prayer for a family member or friend, fill in the blanks accordingly.   If it is your loved one who needs comfort, bless them further by reading it to them.

Psalm 91 (NIV translation, but with capitalization of pronouns indicating God’s name)

1 He (or she) who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  2 _______ will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  3 Surely He will save _______ from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  4 He will cover _______ with His feathers, and under His wings _______ will find refuge; His faithfulness will be _______‘s shield and rampart.  5 _______ will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  7 A thousand may fall at _______’s side, ten thousand at (her/his) right hand, but it will not come near _______.  8 _______ will only observe with (her/his) eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.  9 If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my  refuge—  10 then no harm will befall _______, no disaster will come near (her/his)tent.  11 For He will command His angels concerning _______ to guard _______ in all (her/his) ways; 12 they will lift _______ up in their hands, so that _______ will not strike (her/his) foot against a stone.  13 _______ will tread upon the lion and the cobra; _______ will trample the great lion and the serpent.  14 “Because _______ loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue _______; I will protect _______, for _______ acknowledges My name.  15 _______ will call upon Me, and I will answer _______; I will be with _______ in trouble, I will deliver _______ and honor _______.  16 With long life will I satisfy _______ and show _______ my salvation.”

Father, may this bless the lives of the wounded and weary.   May it bring needed peace and new hope.  May Your children feel Your very presence surround them as they pray these words.   

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