November 18, 2010

Book of Psalms

The Bible is probably the most influential piece of literature in human history. My on-again/off-again project that has spanned two blogs and over three years is reading the bible cover to cover with an open mind and writing out my thoughts on each book. My last post was on Job way back in January so this may take my entire life to complete. Now onto Psalms...
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The Book of Psalms honestly reads kind of like a blog. If God was an author promoting his book the Psalms would definitely be posted on his blog in an effort to drum up interest from readers. Each Psalm is about a random subject, it's very self-referential, and even though it's a book of poetry it doesn't really rhyme. That being said, like many blogs, if you cut through the filler there are some really well written phrases that stand out in a flash of brilliance. Or, at least I thought they sounded cool.

I love religious imagery and the way the bible speaks with moral authority can be a fantastic inspiration. If you want to write some good religious sounding text I would say that Psalms is the go-to book. I know I should probably come up with something to say about religion or spirituality here but most of the lessons learned in the Book of Psalms have been taught in previous books. Instead, I'll leave all you writer types with some of the verses from the book that stood out to me and leave it at that (minus the beautiful Psalm 23 which everyone probably has memorized by now).

Psalm 11, verses 7-8
You, O Lord, will protect us, you will guard us from this generation forever. On every side the wicked prowl, as vileness is exalted among humankind.

Psalm 26, verse 4
I do not sit with the worthless, nor do I consort with hypocrites.

Psalm 27, verse 2
When evildoers assail me to devour my flesh - my adversaries and foes - they shall stumble and fall.

Psalm 27, verse 12
Do not give me up to the will of my adversaries, for false witnesses have risen against me, and they are breathing out violence.

Psalm 35, verses 11-16
Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me about things I do not know. They repay me evil for good; my soul is forlorn. But as for me, when they were sick, I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting. I prayed with head bowed on my bosom, as though I grieved for a friend or brother; I went about as one who laments for a mother, bowed down and in mourning. But at my stumbling they gathered in glee, they gathered together against me; ruffians whom I did not know tore at me without ceasing; they impiously mocked more and more, gnashing at me with their teeth.

Psalm 53, verses 1, 5 (I'm in trouble if these are true)
Fools say in their hearts, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they commit abominable acts; there is no one who does good. ... There they shall be in great terror, in terror such as has not been. For God will scatter the bones of the ungodly.

Psalm 55, verses 4-5
My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me.

Psalm 73, verses 1-3
Truly God is good to the upright, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant; I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psalm 116, verses 3-4
The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of She'ol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish. Then I called on the name of the Lord: "O Lord, I pray, save my life!"

Psalm 146, verses 3-4
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help. When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish.

12 comments:

  1. ah nothing like the bible for a little after-work pick me up!

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  2. Amen Chris. Blessings to you my son. Love ya.

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  3. It's funny how when you read the Psalms the things that stick out to you are what you happen to be going through at that time. I noticed a bit of a theme with the verses you picked, and if I had never read the Psalms before, I'd think they were mainly about how to get back at my adversaries :)

    I happened to skipped through the psalms today myself and the two vs I wrote down were these:

    Ps37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.

    And vs 23: If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm.

    Funny,eh? (just thought I'd throw my Canadiana in there)

    You might know this, but the psalms are not only poetry, they're songs which might explain the lack of rhyming. That and the fact they weren't written in English!

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  4. Interesting, I think abot the bible sometimes.

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  5. That is a really interesting way of putting it. I never thought of any part of the Bible being like a blog, or journal, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense.

    One of my goals on my long list of things to do before I die (bucket list?) is to read the Bible in full. I've only read parts here and there for Sunday school, youth group, confirmation, etc. I feel like I've only read it when I've had to, not because I've wanted to. I think doing so makes all the difference in the world.

    Kudos to you for taking a crack at the most famous book in the world! :)

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  6. "God will scatter the bones of the ungodly. That's pretty gangsta! haha Also, Psalm 26 verse 4 is great! That sounds like a blog post, for sure.

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  7. I love the Psalms...my fav....Ps. 139

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  8. You know, I thought I had one to share, but nope, it was in Proverbs. The Psalms are beautiful though. More amazing is to think this was translated from Greek and Hebrew and it's still this beautiful.

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  9. I'm always affected in different ways with Psalms, often by the same one, depending on my emotions and events in my life.

    The amazing thing about these is that they still maintain their beauty even though they were originally written in a much different language. Often things get lost in translation, but I think these are still really powerful, even in English.

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  10. Eco: I'm here to save souls one blog at a time. Or wait, whats the opposite of saying souls?

    Zena: Love ya back!

    Elle: Ha! Well I guess I am more attracted to lines that involve scattering bones than redemption. I can't help it! They just stand out to me more. While I'd be curious to figure out why I think that's a few years of therapy and a whole other series of blogs. Thanks for your input though, it is always welcomed.

    Only: Glad you enjoyed it!

    Jennifer: It's been an interesting experience for sure. Eventually I'd like to read the Qur'an but at the pace I'm going I'll probably have to live as long as Moses to get that done.

    Tsarista: You have great taste! I think those two were my favorites of the bunch.

    Janet: I'll have to go back and reread that one.

    Janet Johnson: Well I'm going to try and dig into Proverbs next week so save that favorite for then! Yes, really have to commend the translators for making it still sound good.

    Carol: I agree and it's part of any classic piece of literature's success is that it can be translated into any language and still hold relevance. Show's the importance of ideas over flowery language (sometimes anyway, I still enjoy the occasional bit of flowery language).

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  11. Christopher Robin: 54 and 57 are my two favorite; I read and re-read them quite often. 'Fidelity and love' being a key verse! Enjoy the holiday, eat lots of turkey and have fun visiting with the loved ones, if you get to!

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  12. I'll have to give them another look. Happy thanksgiving to you too!

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