The Psalms: Remember

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From the Rooftop of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, July 2012

I never used to like the Psalms. When reading through the Bible, I’d look for reasons to skip the longest book it has. I knew that they were important but just wasn’t a big fan.

Sure, there were the verses that I’d memorized in high school that got me to trust God with decisions, and there was even that one passage that a friend sent me in college when I was going through a tearful breakup, so I’m not saying that I never read them, but they weren’t the book to which I’d turn often.

Until they were put into context. The first time I read through the Bible in chronological order, the Psalms were inserted onto the pages like vegetables on the side of my plate for dinner as a young child. Eating them was a requirement, not a preference.

But this one particular adventure in the Word unveiled to me a different perspective and understanding of the verses that took up more space than any other in this ancient text: Remember.

Remember Abraham. And Joseph. And Moses. Remember what God did with the Egyptians. Remember the manna. Remember the water from the rock. And the stars at night. Remember the good kings. Remember how he spared David’s life. Remember the consequence of sin and what happened to that guy. Remember how God created and called the Israelites to be. Remember how God blessed his people with land. Remember how he spared them when they didn’t deserve it. And worship him for it.

Remember. Worship. Obey. Love.

It seems so easy, right? Just remember.

But apparently, it’s easy to forget. All these Psalms—prayers and praises and heart cries—written by people thousands of years ago helped them and others remember. When you’re lonely and out in the desert, claim God’s truths, worship him for what he’s done and trust that he will rescue you. When you go to celebrate, retell the story of God’s great faithfulness, remember his majestic power and unfailing grace, and you can’t help but be drawn into worship.

It’s hard, sometimes, in our busy lives to remember to worship God. We can easily be emotionally driven with a dynamic band or motivating speaker, but how often do we take time to remember who God is and what he has done in a personal, intimate way, sitting still with the One who knows us the best and loves us the most.

The Psalms also remind me to trust God with what is to come because he has been faithful in the past. Sure, I’ve never been exiled from my home or thrown into slavery, but there have been times that have felt that lonely or that suffocated. It’s part of my story. And in each of those times, God worked. It may not have made sense…it may never make sense. Nonetheless, God worked. He was faithful. I prayed for truth, truth was revealed. I prayed for provision, God provided. I prayed for change, things changed.

The Psalms remind of his faithfulness. They spark worship. They draw eyes to gaze toward his creation and the beauty of what he has done and is doing, inspiring unstoppable awe. They generate confidence to trust that even though today’s concerns may seem overwhelming and frustrating. They remind to remember.

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