Psalms are songs to encourage and instruct your heart and mind. God shapes your emotions through reading and meditating on them day and night.
There have been times in my life that I read from Psalms daily along with reading another passage. Life can get busy and it is easy to neglect to spend time in Psalms.
BUT . . . God instructs us to read and meditate on the law every day!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
What are the Psalms?
The Psalms are a beautiful collection of poetry that is divided into 5 books.
They are instructional on how to live the Christ-following life.
Each of the 5 books of Psalms starts off by instructing the Believer to meditate on the law of the Lord.
These books have a break between each book with a doxology of praise and worship to God.
They make up a mental parallel to the 5 books of the Torah that Moses penned.
Psalm 1 is the intentional introduction to all 150 chapters.
As you read through Psalms either for the first time or once again, take the time to SOAK in the words and emotions of the Psalmist as he shares his struggles and triumphs in life.
Your heart and mind will want to be raised in song as you delight in your Supreme Treasure.
Psalms as Music for the Heart
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. Psalm 5:11
Whether or not you can carry a tune, you are probably moved through songs that raise your heart to praise God.
God designed for us to worship Him with songs. That is one of the reasons why Psalms was given to us.
The Israelites sang the Psalms over and over throughout history and many people since then have put Psalms to music so we could sing them.
One of the characteristics of the songs within Psalms is the doxologies. You probably thought there was only one doxology . . . “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow.”
The category of songs that make up doxologies is much broader than just that one song.
From the word doxology, we get the Greek word “doxa” which means “saying a glory” while “logia” means “saying.” When we put it all together it means a statement of praise which is often given in the poetic form.
Songs of Comfort to the Emotions
If you read the Psalms to learn about theology you would be missing the point of these beautiful poetic prayers to God.
There are many verses in Psalms that bring comfort to your heart and mind. Singing the Psalms brings out the human emotion in a heart-healing way as the psalmist or reader (singer) expresses and returns their worship of praise in return for the comfort God gives them.
God made our souls desire to express themselves in songs to our Creator-God. Even when an individual does not worship Jesus, there is something within them that is drawn to music, even if it is music that creates discord in their soul.
Songs when Spiritually Depressed
The majority of Psalms were written by David but other men penned them too.
When I was going through a dark valley in my life, the only thing that would encourage and uplift my heart was reading the Psalms.
When life gets so difficult that it hurts my face to laugh or smile, I found Psalms to be comforting to my heart as God spoke daily to reassure my mind and heart.
The psalms are instruction, and the psalms are songs. And Jesus taught that they were inspired by God. They intend to shape what the mind thinks, and they intend to shape what the heart feels. When we immerse ourselves in them, we are “thinking and feeling with God.” ~John Piper~
In Psalm 42:5 and Psalm 42:7 the psalmist is experiencing an internal emotion causing him to be cast down so that he is crying day and night. He feels like he is drowning.
Have you ever felt feelings and emotions so deep as this? I used to have days where I couldn’t stop crying the entire day. It was comforting to me that God had all my tears in a bottle. (Psalm 56:8)
But there is hope when you turn to God and that is what you experience through the Psalmist’s eyes as you read Psalm 42. If you pause to read this Psalm you will see how the psalmist delt with his depression and to the comfort and love God gave him.
Fight to Delight in God
Have you ever been depressed to the point that you wanted to stay there? You can be so miserable that you want everyone else to be miserable with you. It’s easy to get in a rut and want to stay down in the pit.
“There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”―
That’s why it’s a fight to delight in God. Delight is the way to get out of your depression. Being happy and joyful is the polar opposite of depression and it can be next to impossible to want to get unstuck from its vicious grip.
But over and over we are told to delight in the Lord.
To be joyful.
Verses from Psalms have been turned into songs of delight and joy to the Lord for all that He is. Because of His majesty and greatness!
It might not feel natural to turn around depression with a heart that learns to be filled with gratitude and delight to God our Father.
BUT . . . it is the one thing that will turn depression around. This is one example of the way that singing songs put together from the Psalms will uplift and transform your heart and mind.
What is your favorite Psalm? How has God used Psalms in your life to encourage your heart and mind?