Summarize the day’s reading in one paragraph.
This group of Psalms are mostly songs by the Sons of Korah, with one prayer of David in the middle and a longer song by Ethan the Ezrahite at the end. The ones by the Sons of Korah express a spirit of gratitude, humility and a deep devotion to God – Ps 88 being the only one that’s more a song of lament. David’s prayer expresses a humble spirit looking for God to give a gracious answer. The last psalm by Ethan is a multipart song that reminds of God’s promises and covenants with David.
What is one key verse?
Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face
So many reasons, but I’ll give two. First of all, it stands out as being fun. Do you know the festal shout? I’m sure that if you don’t, you now really want to. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the people who know the festal shout?! [Think MASSIVE celebration] They are the blessed ones. Just thinking about that produces a light-hearted spirit within me, a spirit of wanting to draw others in and celebrate together. We need to know that it’s important to God that His people who know the festal shout are blessed, and we especially need to know this in light of the palpable fallen state of our world thus far in 2020.
Secondly, this verse expands my understanding of how we are to live. “Walk” is discipleship language. The meaning is not ‘walk’ as in down the street or for exercise. It’s ‘walk’ as in how you will live your life. And it’s to live your life in the Light, in the light of God’s face, in other words in other places in scripture – in His delight, to both be delighted in Him and for Him to be delighted in us. Something very illuminating I heard recently, someone was speaking about repentance and how he had always thought repentance would bring him back to a God that he had let down and disappointed, but had actually come to realize that instead repentance is the way we experience the love of a good, good Father. I believe that if more of us thought about repentance in this way and chose to live in a way where we wouldn’t let the world (or our own sin) get us down, but would repent and return every time to find that God is waiting for us to delight and walk in the light of His face, we would know ourselves to be blessed as the people who know the festal shout of God.
How does what you read change your vision of God?
Reading through the Psalms, I know how acutely aware God is of all the hardship, strife and evil that goes on in this world and the anguish of the human spirit. I read about His anger against unrighteousness and the power of His judgments. His ready response to the broken and humble and those who earnestly seek after Him with a whole heart. And amidst all this heavy reading, there is this small (but not insignificant) reminder that God made all things good, including the festal shout. Even in a world of big problems and unbearable sin that must be dealt with, God finds it important that we know He wants us to live our lives as people who love to walk in His light and find reason to celebrate because of it.
How does what you read change your vision of yourself or others?
The essence of celebration in the meaning of the festal shout is rooted in good fellowship, in doing life together with others who also delight in walking with God. In-person fellowship is limited right now, so it can seem impossible at times to have meaningful fellowship, but whether its live-in-person or through other means (phone, Zoom, etc) this scripture helps my vision of the spirit in which I should pursue meaningful, festal fellowship of the kind that God made us to have.
How will you Go With God because of this reading?
This scripture urges going with God as a people knowing the festal shout, walking in the light of His face. It helps me know how to do this by first thinking of the opposite things. The words ‘festal shout’ bring to mind a celebratory gathering where the energy levels are running pretty high and people are enjoying themselves. Self-isolating with no outside contact and allowing ourselves to feel down seems like an accurate image of what’s opposite. Reaching out to other disciples to bridge the gap and change our situation away from the latter and more to the former seems like a good starting point! Being in the darkness and staying put would be the opposite to learning to repent quicker and knowing that God is not so much let down and disappointed as He simply is good, and wanting us to delight in the nearness of His presence even as He delights in us drawing near.
Where did you see Jesus in this verse?
Jesus walked in the light of God the Father’s face his entire life, and his life was given up for us so that we might walk in that same light. He did it so that He could go and prepare a place for us in the Father’s house, where there would be no more crying or pain – a place of massive celebration, filled with the festal shouts of God. It’s pretty clear that Jesus is all over this verse!