Writing the Psalms {It is Finished!}

Monday, August 15, 2016

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It took 270 days, 2 journals, a plethora of pens, and some determination, but it is finished. I wrote out every chapter...all 150 of them. In the end, it was a journey I am so glad I took! Writing out the Psalms has changed me and given me insight I would not have had if I had just read through the chapters. The act of handwriting out God's Word allows it to sink in deeply and helped me notice details I would have never seen. I became best friends with David, the author of many of the psalms and gained a deeper understanding of God's love for me. So here's a look at what happened while I wrote...

A heart for David- I learned to love his psalms. (I will admit when I got to the section where there weren't any of David's writing I was disappointed.)  It may be because David and I have something in common. No, I am not the leader of a nation. I haven't killed a giant. I don't even own a sling. However, I have been in David's shoes...the ones in which others have risen up against me. I understand David's cries to God about his enemies. I understand the grief and heartache. David taught me through his heartfelt words  people are not to be feared even when they turn ugly. God is the one we should fear!

Some Psalms are MY Psalms- There were certain psalms that became my own. Read Psalm 27, for example. Almost every single word in that psalm pertains to me. I have struggled with the fear of man (verses 1-2). I have had people rise up against me (verse 3). I yearn to see the goodness of God in the land of the living (verse 13). I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Some things bear repeating- I began to notice the repetition in the chapters. Phrases were repeated over and over again. Just take a look at Psalm 136. By the time you're done with it it should be burned in your brain the length of God's love for you! The repetition is not there to lure us to sleep. It is repeated because God wants to make sure we don't miss a concept or thought. It is like a parent who says the same phrases over and over again to their young kids. We are forgetful by nature and need reminding.

God can handle our emotions- If you want examples of how to keep your emotions in check, DO NOT read the Psalms! Ha! The emotions displayed are all over the map. Some of them are quite shocking like chapter 109...

When he is tried, let him come forth guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin!
May his days be few;
may another take his office!
May his children be fatherless
and his wife a widow! (verses 7-9)

Who prays this stuff even for those they dislike? David did. He got all his icky emotions out in front of God instead of being ugly to his enemies. God can handle our emotions. Sometimes others can't. Better to take them all to Him.

You cannot escape His steadfast love- In the latter parts of the psalms, I began to notice how much God's steadfast love is talked about. It isn't just Psalm 136. It pops up all over the place! For someone who has struggled to learn and really feel His love these past three years, I found the talk of His steadfast love the best part of the psalms. He is there. He will not leave, reject, or rise up against me. I can't escape his love!!

So want to give it a try? If you want a day-by-day schedule for writing out the Psalms you can find it here from His Mercy is New. And here are the journals I used. It took two of them for me to write out the whole book (with several pages left over at the end of the second journal). If you decide to take the challenge I would love to hear from you and see how it is going!


Vanessa Lynn said...

I know that this sounds horrible, but I'm very new in my walk with God and don't know where to begin. Unfortunately, church isn't an option for me because I work a 24 hr shift on Sundays with no options for time off. A cover to cover reading of the Bible seems daunting and never ending. So, for a "newbie" where would you suggest to start? I'm a "PlannerGirl" so, journaling is an easy transition for me. I like the idea of a scripture writing plan and I love how you copied the book of Psalm. If you were to suggest a book for a newbie, what would it be? What resources would you suggest for further explanations when church isn't an option?
Thank you so much for your help in advance.

Debbie P said...

Hi Vanessa- I would start with a smaller book if you want to do a Scripture writing plan. The book of James was the first one I ever did. I liked it because it had so much practical advice. Another option is to do the Scripture Writing plan I have on my blog called "Think on These Things". It isn't writing out a book, but rather writing out verses around a theme. Here is the link http://unafamiliaalaskena.blogspot.com/p/think-on-these-things.html Not sure if the link will work in the comments, but you can also find the tab at the top of my blog for the writing plans under Think on These Things. If you can't go to church you could instead listen to sermons online. I really get a lot out of the messages from Andy Stanley. You can find him by searching "North Point messages". I actually listen to him as a podcast on my phone.

Vanessa Lynn said...

Thank you so much for getting back to me. The tips are extremely helpful and I thank you so very much. I plan on printing out your writing plan tomorrow when I'm home. And thank you for the suggested podcast. I just discovered podcasts last week, LOL, and there are so many out there I really had no idea where to start. You really are doing amazing work here and I pray for your continued health and happiness. God Bless.

Debbie P said...

Thank you, Vanessa! Praying for you!