How the king rejoices in your strength, O Lord!
He shouts with joy because you give him victory.
For you have given him his heart’s desire;
you have withheld nothing he requested.
You welcomed him back with success and prosperity.
You placed a crown of finest gold on his head.
He asked you to preserve his life,
and you granted his request.
The days of his life stretch on forever.
Your victory brings him great honor,
and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.
You have endowed him with eternal blessings
and given him the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the Lord.
The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling.
You will capture all your enemies.
Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you.
You will throw them in a flaming furnace
when you appear.
The Lord will consume them in his anger;
fire will devour them.
You will wipe their children from the face of the earth;
they will never have descendants.
Although they plot against you,
their evil schemes will never succeed.
For they will turn and run
when they see your arrows aimed at them.
Rise up, O Lord, in all your power.
With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts. (New Living Translation)
The structure of today’s psalm is significant. Our contemporary way of crafting arguments is by stating a thesis at the beginning of a paper, then providing points of support for that thesis, and concluding with a restatement of the thesis. That’s not how the biblical psalms do it.
The psalm’s major thesis statement is not found at the beginning but in the middle. The verses before the major statement lead to the middle; and the verses after the middle look back and point to it.
So, what’s in the middle? An affirmation of faith in the Lord’s love prevents the king from having a failure of faith.
The Lord leads us to victory, and prayers are answered because of love.
The Lord guides us toward prosperity of body and preservation of soul because of love.
The Lord shepherds us to the green pastures of blessing and encouragement because of love.
God is Love.
The Lord has our backs by eradicating the enemies to our souls.
The Lord follows after us and foils the evil plots of wicked people.
The Lord works behind the scenes for us, putting down devilish strategies so they won’t come near us.
Just as the core of God is love, we have been created in God’s image and likeness of love; love is the very core of our being.
So, why in the world are people not always loving in everything they do and say?
Because we have lost touch with our middle; we lack awareness of who we truly are.
How do we get in touch and reconnect with the core of our being? Here are a few simple ways of doing so:
- Pray a psalm every single day, even multiple times in the day. Notice I said pray, not read. Psalms are prayers meant to be prayed. Reading them is wonderful but praying them is sublime!
I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just. (Psalm 119:164, NLT)
Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. (Psalm 69:16, NIV)
- Pay attention to what makes you happy. The psalmist experienced God giving him the desires of his heart. He asked for what he wanted and needed to be happy.
Be happy with the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4, GW)
- Pursue someone you’ve lost touch with. Reconnect with an old friend. Oftentimes, doing this helps reawaken a part of ourselves we forgot about.
Loyal love and faithfulness meet; deliverance and peace greet each other with a kiss. (Psalm 85:10, NET)
- Practice self-care. Observe the Sabbath. Put your feet up. Give yourself a break. and don’t try to be perfect. Make some margin in your schedule – enough to have some extended times of silence and solitude. After all, one cannot connect with their inner core unless they are quiet enough to hear themselves.
When you are disturbed, do not sin;
ponder it on your beds, and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord. (Psalm 4:4-5, NRSV)
- Praise the Lord and give thanks to God. Our self-awareness comes alive by means of offering trust and thanksgiving back to the Lord for the great things God has done.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him; bless his name.
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever
and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:3-5, NRSV)
Since God is Love, God is in the middle and is the center of all things. Everything in the universe revolves around the Lord of Love. So, as we align our lives around this reality, we rediscover the love at the core of our being.
If we desire love, then let us go to the source of Love.
Bless us with love, O Merciful God, so that we may love as you love – and that we might be patient, tolerant, kind, caring, and loving to all people. Grant us your compassion so that we may help those in need. And bless us with your divine Love, O Lord, bless us with your love! Amen.