When I was younger, more rash, more hot-headed, more impudent, I considered the book of Psalms inferior to some of the other scriptures. “It’s just a bunch of feel-good poems,” I would complain, and would instead delve into some extracurricular Isaiah speculation. I’m an apologist, I would say, puffing my chest out in pride. I’m a theologian. I don’t need this sissy poetry stuff.

How wrong I was.

Lately, my wife and I have taken to reciting psalms before bed and in place of the usual traditional singing we both experienced in our respective family home evening meetings. For one, we don’t really feel comfortable singing together (we feel kind of dumb), and two, the longer we’ve been Mormons, the more comfort we find in a lovely book such as Psalms.

For example, an interesting footnote during Christ’s crucifixion ties his famous utterance, “My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?” to Psalm 22. Specifically, it starts out:

My God, my God, why has thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.

Be not far from me: for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Psalm 22:1-11

This isn’t feel-good wishy-washy stuff. This is some serious religious existential angst. Why Jesus chose to cry out in psalm during His darkest hour I do not know, but for even the Savior to have felt like this, a feeling I can certainly relate to, makes me love Him all the more.


1 Comment

Filed under life stories, music, religion

One response to “Praises

  1. dteeps

    I love the Psalms. There is so much there hidden away in the beautiful language. I have even done a full lesson comparing the Psalms with the Crucifixion in the New Testament, using Luke 24:44 as the starting point, where Christ says, “all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.”
    It’s amazing to see how many prophecies are made in the Psalms that directly correlate to the events of the last few days of Christ’s life. But my favorite is in John 19:28, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.”
    That the scripture might be fulfilled, which scripture? Psalms 69:21, “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” And then John 19:30, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
    Not until Jesus had drunk the vinegar was it finished. Even in the agony of the cross he was aware of all of the prophecies that had been made and was consciously fulfilling them. Amazing.

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