Highlights for various Psalms 1-46
Psalms are meant to be sung or recited like poetry. The beginning of a psalm starts with instructions for a musical instrument. For example, Psalm #8 begins:
To the chief Musician upon [on the] Gittith, A Psalm of David.
gittith: a musical instrument, of unknown character
Mostly, psalms are lyrics about wisdom distilled from life and spirituality. Music and song were Ancient Israel’s way of sharing ideas, stories, and teachings with each other. Perhaps, this is comparable to sharing quotes and memes on social media?
Which Psalm (poem/song) touches you this week?
It’s hard to read the Old Testament, specifically books like Genesis and Job, and not realize early Christianity believed in a council of Gods – as well as a more esteemed, elevated version of humankind’s potential. Here is a powerful example (in disguise) from Psalm 8:
4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the (
angels?), and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
These are heartwarming verses! However, did you know ‘angels’ is a false translation?
Correcting the word ‘angels’ opens up the message even more. If you look at the footnote for verse 5, you’ll see the Hebrew actually said “less than the gods.” Here is a perfect example of a plain and precious truth taken out by a translator who wanted to make the verse fit his worldview and belief system.
We all do that sometimes, don’t we? Translate the words and actions of others to fit our own stories and make us comfortable in our present state. For example, when we find fault and blame others or downgrade their worth – we save ourselves the discomfort of growing or reaching for a better standard of doing, being, or thinking.
What was the translator’s story? He was probably not comfortable with the idea of gods in the plural nor acknowledging the powerful, divine nature inherent within each of us. Or our significant capacities with each other…
…so he demoted us.
He imposed a false version of the truth and created a limiting narrative to maintain his comfort level.
I have some compassion as to why the translator would do that – we are predisposed to handle life that way.
The Hebrew Bible
Reread these verses from ‘The Hebrew Bible’ with your name and the right words. What does this passage say to you today?
“When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars You fixed firm,
“What is [your name] that You should note [him/her],
and the human creature, that You pay him heed,
and you make [your name] little less than the gods,
with glory and grandeur You crown [him/her]?
You make [your name] rule over the work of Your hands.
All things You set under [his/her] feet.
Elder Richard G. Scott said, “Our Heavenly Father did not put us on earth to fail but to succeed gloriously.”
Great question: what internal story/translation needs correcting in your life? What happier, healed place are you holding yourself back from? What needs a better translation?
That’s something you can ask sincerely and directly in prayer – and the answers will come. But not usually right while we are still on our knees. (That’s a highly circulated, false cultural teaching corrected by Elder Bednar and Elder Uchtodorf in recent years – but that’s another post.)
Elder Uchtdorf said, “Often, the answer to our prayer does not come while we’re on our knees.”
I know from personal experience that is repeatedly true. Instead, a prayer on my knees is the catalyst that starts the process of realizing answers and fulfilling my petitions. This pattern has the same outcome. Start on your knees, and those prayers get answers. Some are immediate; some take a while.
The Heavens often use new experiences, random bits of information, and other people to answer our prayers.
Speaking of answers to prayers, here are some beautiful ‘psalms’ by Elder Uchtdorf:
“By becoming the answer to someone’s prayer, we often find the answer to our own.”
“Selfless acts of service and consecration refine our spirits, remove the scales from our spiritual eyes, and open the windows of heaven.”
I know all of the psalms in this article today to be true. I affirm with my entire soul and being. Amen.