Every now and then I like taking a psalm and doing my own loose contemporary translation of the text (just so you know, I’ve had training in the Hebrew language, so this isn’t weird for me, or for you!). I find this exercise to be exhilarating and helpful for my own soul. I hope you find this to be useful for you, as well.
Today’s psalm talks about the temple. I have contemporized it for the Christian who enjoys fellowship with God in the many places where the Lord can be found. I encourage you to read it over once, then carefully read it again, prayerfully. Do it both times out loud. The psalms are meant to be prayed, and they are meant to be said aloud with flavor!
How lovely are all the places where you dwell,
powerful and mighty God of the numerous heavenly forces!
The depths of my soul long, even yearn,
for the intimate backyard gatherings where Yahweh dwells.
My heart and my body, my whole self
shout out loud for joy to the living God!
Yes, the lowly insignificant mother sparrow has also found a home with God;
the swallow has, too, found herself a homey nest
where she can lay her young beside your divine activity.
Immense Lord of the numerous heavenly forces, my king, my God,
You are so big that the lowliest of creatures find shelter in you!
Those who live within your sacred space are genuinely happy;
they can’t stop praising you constantly and incessantly!
Those who put their energy in you are truly content;
a one-way road to you is in their hearts.
As they walk through all kinds of dry hard circumstances
they end up making them like a spring of living water.
Yes, even problems become like a gentle rain of blessing.
The biggest of dilemmas become manageable,
as they see the supremacy of God in it all.
Mighty Lord God of the numerous heavenly forces,
hear my prayer to you;
listen closely, O ancient God of my spiritual ancestors!
You are our great protective shield, God;
pay close attention to your chosen one!
Better is one single solitary day in your backyard gathering
than a billion days anywhere else!
I would prefer to park cars out in the front yard of God’s house
than live comfortably in the palatial hangouts of the ungodly!
The Lord is like the brightness of a warm summer day,
and even the suntan lotion protecting me; God is all that!
God is full of crazy grace and unspeakable glory.
The Lord gives— and doesn’t withhold — good things
to those who walk with integrity of heart beside him.
Powerful Lord of the numerous heavenly forces,
those who trust in you are truly giddy with joy!
Divine presence makes all the difference in the world. To be with God, to sense the Lord’s company, and to enjoy Divine favor brings deep satisfaction and contentment within a world of great dissatisfaction and discontent.
True beauty is found with the Author of the beautiful. Love motivates the pilgrimage toward God. The non-judgmental presence of the Lord provides us with a place of security, peace, and rest. Indeed, the nearness of God changes everything. It transforms our present circumstances from drudgery and despondency to opportunities for God to show up and show off divine power.
God, the heavenly king, and commander of heavenly forces chooses to dwell among us. The Lord’s ear is attentive to each person. The connection between God and God’s people is inseparable. This, then, is the very place where trust is engendered. Placing faith in a God who cares, listens, and acts blesses everyone.
Today, God abides with us because of the indwelling Spirit of Jesus. God’s presence has the effect of bringing people together and calming all fears. God’s eye is on the sparrow, which means the Lord is always watching with care and concern for all creation, especially humanity.
Almighty God, merciful heavenly Father, we give you humble thanks for all your goodness, kindness, and steadfast love to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life. Above all, we are grateful for your immeasurable love shown through the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ. Give us such an awareness of your divine presence, that with truly thankful hearts our lives might be an offering of praise in both speech and action. We trust you, gracious God, and give ourselves to your service. We choose to walk with you in holiness and righteousness all the days of our lives, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever. Amen.