Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Psalms - תהילים

Psalms for the 1st Day
2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Psalm 1
The two ways

Ashréy ha-ísh ashér lo halách ba’atzát resha’ím…

Happy the man
who never follows the advice of the wicked,
or loiters on the way that sinners take,
or sits about with scoffers,
but finds his pleasure in the law of Yahweh,
and murmurs His law day and night.

He is like a tree that is planted
by water streams,
yielding its fruit in season,
its leaves never fading;
success attends all he does.

It is nothing like this with the wicked,
nothing like this!

No, these are like chaff
blown away by the wind.
The wicked will not stand firm when Judgment comes,
nor sinners when the virtuous assemble.
For Yahweh takes care of the way the virtuous go,
but the way of the wicked is doomed.

…v’dérech resha’ím tovéd.

My most intense, and tender, connecting with God, is through my Bible, particularly the Psalms. When I lie down on my bed and have my old Jerusalem Bible beside me, and when my eyes see the words printed on the page, any page, and I start reading them, I just get an indescribable something, it's not even really a feeling. It's just a knowing that He is here with me, that the printed words I am reading are from Him directly, with nothing between Him and me except themselves, and even they are Him because they are His Word in the form of verbal icon, just as Jesus is His Word in the form of a Man. That Bible has been with me since I met the Lord, and I haven't parted from it all these years. It is my Rock of safety, the place where I meet God and He touches me, and feeds me.

Praying the Psalms, or even reading them, can seem irrelevant to some people, even to some Christians—they say that they cannot relate to what is contained in them. They see them as only historical documents arising out of specific events.
What has that to do with me?

Though it may be true that we are not bible characters, our lives can be found in the pages of scripture. My life-long love for and relationship with the Psalms had a beginning. It was when living in the world, I started being attacked for following Christ, and in turning to the Psalms I found their contents spoke to my condition and the situations I found myself in. That never stopped but has continued growing to the point where I can say that of all the books of scripture, the Psalms I read, and pray, the most.

The Psalms have this unique characteristic: They are like a revolving door with God. They both convey the prayer of our hearts to Him, and convey His response to our every prayer.
After reading and praying the Psalms for thirty-three years out of my Jerusalem Bible, I finally began reading and praying them from the Tehillim, the Hebrew version of the Psalms. Now, along with my Jerusalem Bible, a copy of the Tehillim rests with me on my prayer couch, and the blessing of reading and understanding the Hebrew cannot be adequately described.

Psalm 4
Evening prayer

B’kar’í anéyni Elohéy tsidkí…

God, guardian of my rights, You answer when I call,
when I am in trouble You come to my relief;
now be good to me and hear my prayer.

You men, why shut your hearts so long,
loving delusions, chasing after lies? Selah.
Know this, Yahweh works wonders for those He loves,
Yahweh hears me when I call to Him.

Tremble: give up sinning,
spend your night in quiet meditation. Selah.
Offer sacrifice in a right spirit,
and trust Yahweh.

“Who will give us sight of happiness?” many say.
Show us the light of Your face turned toward us!

Yahweh, You have given more joy to my heart
than others ever knew, for all their corn and wine.

In peace I lie down, and fall asleep at once,
since You alone, Yahweh, make me rest secure.

…ki attá Adonáy l’vadád lavétach toshivéni.

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