Finding Comfort and Counsel in the Psalms

God inspired people to write what we call The Book of Psalms. This was not done in one place through one person or over a period of one year. The Talmud notes that there are at least 11 authors to the book of Psalms, and that the collection of inspired writing was complied over a period of about 900 years.

The Psalms tell the history of what God has done, they celebrate what God is doing, and prophetically point to the glorious things He will do in the future. The Psalms are wonderfully encouraging and constructive. For the weary, the Psalms recount God’s promises and provide instruction regarding how to respond to them.

Scripture notes that “If we seek Him, we will find Him, when we seek Him with all our heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). I encourage you to read the Psalms daily, and as you read, look for His promises, His encouragement, and His counsel. Remember, if you seek Him you will find Him.

To help you in this endeavor, I have pulled a few promises, praises, and directives from the first ten chapters of the book of Psalms. What follows are a few verses from each chapter that stood out to me. Read. Read daily. Read slowly. Read with an open heart. Ask God to encourage and instruct you. I believe you will be encouraged.

(Reasons To be encouraged)

• “The Lord knows the ways of the righteous…” (1:6a). Nothing surprises God.
He knows my good and my bad choices, and loves me non-the-less. I can trust
Him because He knows what is best and can make the impossible happen.
• “Blessed are they who take refuge in Him” (2:12b). The Lord invites the weary to
find refuge in Him. The Psalms are abundant with invitations to find help, strength,
and refuge in the Lord. Jesus echoed this invitation in Matthew 11:28-30
• “Lord, You are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head” (3:3). The
word picture here is beautiful. When we feel low, God stoops to meet us where
we are—He offers to clothe us in his glory, be our shield and protector, and
gently, lovingly, lift our head.
• “I cried to the Lord and He answered me…” (3:4a). The Lord hears the prayers
of His people. Pray with passion and precision. Be specific. Be persistent. The
Lord does care and does provide (see 1 Peter 5:7).
• The Lord hears when I call to Him. (4:3b). Some truths in are so wonderful they
bear repeating in Scripture. This is one of them. Don’t give up. He hears and He
cares, and will answer in His perfect way and time.
• “You, O God, make me lie down in peace and safety” (4:18). The wording here
is a bit awkward in the English, but the idea in the Hebrew text is that God
makes it possible for us to lie down in peace and safety. Only God knows
what dangers lie on the other side of the hill—only the God of the Bible offers to
help you deal with the dangers on the other side of the hill. In that we can find
peace and solace for our souls.
• “The Lord protects…” (5:11) The word picture here is a vulnerable person
encountering a formidable enemy (think David versus Goliath). Perhaps you
have many giants in your field of vision—many hurdles to overcome and giants
to face. Here we see that God offers to stand with you. God is undefeated. He is
a good ally to have. Stand close to him and you will be blessed.
• “The Lord has heard my plea, and accepted my prayer. All my enemies shall be
ashamed…” (6:9-10). The enemy loves to use shame to make us feel weary—to
lose heart—to become incapacitated. Do not let the enemy win. Pray, Look to
God, and believe that God will move on your behalf, take your shame, and one
day, declare His love for you in front of your enemies.
• “My shield is with God, Who saves the upright in heart” (7:10). There are many
things in this world we can trust in—and some are impressive. But nothing can
compare with the love and power of God. He can (and has, and will) make the
impossible happen. Do your part, but look to God to fill in the gap. Believe Him
for a miracle.
• “The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed…” (9:9). Where do you place your
confidence or security? Where do you find your strength? There are many
possible answers, but be sure to place God at the top of your list. How will you
survive this trial? Because God will help you. How will you overcome? Because
God will help you. Will the enemy attack? Yes. Will he prevail? No. Why?
Because God is your stronghold—your defender—and your provider.
• “The Lord does not forsake those who seek Him” (9:10b). What a beautiful and
important truth—for the prodigal—for all. In the New Testament book of second
Timothy we read: “Even if we are faithless, God remains faithful.” God loves to
love, and forgive and restore. Do not forsake Him when times get hard—and
know that He will never forsake you (see also Hebrews 13:5-6).
• “God is a helper to the helpless and Father to the fatherless” (10:14). It may
seem like you are alone, but you are not. God cares for the weary, helps the
helpless. He will see you through this difficult time.
What follows is a review of the same ten chapters and excerpts of verses I found to be
instructive. That is, how does God want me to respond to all that He promises to do for me
INSTRUCTIONS (How to respond to His promises and praises)
• “Walk not in the counsel of the wicked…” (1:1)
• “Delight in the law of the Lord…” (1:2). I have found, the more you read and
study Scripture, the more beautiful, fascinating, and helpful it becomes.• “Serve the Lord with fear…” (2:11). ‘Fear’ = holy or revered respect or awe.
Indeed, it is an honor to be known by, and loved by, the King of heaven.
• “Do not be afraid of the many thousands of people who have set themselves against
you” (3:6). The odds do not matter to God. The probability of success or the depths
of your troubles do not matter. The God who spoke creation into being loves you,
and wants restore you. Do not be afraid. All is not lost and life is not over.
• “Be angry yet do not sin” (4:4a)
• “Offer the right sacrifices…” (4:5a). Be honest with yourself and with God. Ask
Him what He desires of you/what He wants you to do. We can’t appease God by
giving him a few dollars—but we can please Him by doing what He wants us to
do. And when we live to honor Him, He will honor/bless us.
• “Put your trust in the Lord” (4:5b). When our trust truly rests in the Lord, then we
can be at peace, for no one and nothing can take that away.
• “Rejoice and sing for joy…” (5:11a). In Scripture, the admonition to sing is found
slightly more often than the admonition to pray. Singing is a profitable endeavor.
• “Repent or God will act…” (7:12). This is a promise and a warning. But know this:
The heart of God is to forgive and bless. He disciplines those whom He loves
and extends grace to those who seek Him.
• “Give the Lord thanks for His righteousness…” (7:17a). An interesting phrase—
presented in Scripture to remind us that any good, merit, or standing we have is given
to us as a blessing from God. That is, by believing, we become clothed or wrapped in
His righteousness. Those who follow Christ are no longer guilty or unworthy, but are
made holy and ‘righteous’ by the grace of God and sacrifice of Jesus.
• “Recount all His praises…rejoice in His salvation” (9:14). A great practice is to
recount His blessings when you are feeling low. Make a list. Note the beauty of
creation, life, and the things He has done for you. Note His promises and the
things that are promised to come. Note 10 things—then 20—then more.
Overwhelm the negative with the positive.
• “Commit yourself to God…” (10:14). Good advice which positions one for a better
future. It does not matter if you have tried this before and failed—try again. The
enemy wants you to fail and will whisper, “You can not succeed.” But with God’s
help, you can, and you will.

This list is merely a sampling of the instruction and inspiration in the first ten chapters of
the book of Psalms. I encourage all – particularly the weary – to continue this study.
Review the Psalms daily. Write praises, promises and directives in a journal.
Incorporate this information into your prayer life. Rejoice in the praises, claim the
promises, and ask God to help you fulfill His directives.
May God bless you as you grow in Him.

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