Beachcombing the Psalms: the God of my salvation

If you’ve been reading the book, you spent the last week learning about the different genres of psalms, and several different eras in Jewish history. If you don’t have the book yet, this is a great time to jump in! Tomorrow we’ll begin an eight-week activity of reading the psalms in order.

This week we are praising the God of our Salvation. Read these verses slowly as a prayer of trust and thanksgiving.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
whom should I dread? (Psalm 27:1)

…You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation. (Psalm 27:9)

Hurry to help me,
my Lord, my salvation. (Psalm 38:22)

…Say to my soul, “I am your salvation!” (Psalm 35:3 ESV)

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord,
their refuge in a time of distress. (Psalm 37:39)

May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! (Psalm 20:5 ESV)

But I call to God,
and the Lord will save me. (Psalm 55:16)

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his salvation. (Psalm 35:9 ESV)

You answer us in righteousness,
with awe-inspiring works,
God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the distant seas. (Psalm 65:5)

                Almost every psalm we read last week included the word “salvation.” We need to consider what we mean by that word, and what the authors of Psalms meant. Because I am a modern-day Christian, I tend to define the word “salvation” as a one-time experience—that day I trusted Jesus to take away my sin and give me a home in heaven. I’d heard verses like this:

For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)

…Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…(Acts 16:31)

These verses urge us to trust in Jesus as our Savior—our Salvation—because we are sinners, separated from God, doomed for eternity. Jesus Christ gave himself as the offering for our sin so that we could be made right with God, to walk with him in our daily life, and to look forward to a home in heaven. Believing in Jesus is not just a belief that there was a historical person named Jesus. It’s a simple faith that agrees with the truths in the verses above. That act of faith is what I often think of as “salvation.”

But as we read on Day A, the word “salvation” in the Old Testament means rescue or deliverance from physical or spiritual trouble.

The God who listens to our prayers hasn’t changed. He is still our salvation—our rescue from sin as well as our deliverance from day to day troubles. I want to call on the God of my salvation every day as I remember that he is my refuge and my hope.

Notice the way different versions express this:

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his salvation. (Psalm 35:9 ESV)

Then I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will delight in his deliverance. (CSB)

 Then I will rejoice in the Lord.

I will be glad because he rescues me. (NLT)

Jesus, our Salvation

The very name “Jesus” (or in Hebrew “Joshua”) means “salvation.” Even before Jesus arrived as a tiny baby on earth, his earthly family knew that he would be their salvation:

The birth of Jesus Christ came about this way: After his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, it was discovered before they came together that she was pregnant from the Holy Spirit. So her husband Joseph, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her publicly, decided to divorce her secretly.

But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:18-21)

Prayer Exercise:  Treasure and Respond

This week, continue to look for treasure verses as you read each daily portion of Psalms. Today, reread the verses about the God of our Salvation on the previous two pages. Look for a treasure verse within them. Write a short prayer in response to the verse.

Prayer Exercise Example:  Treasure and Respond

Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his salvation. (Psalm 35:9 ESV)

 This is my treasure verse today. My response to it is to pray:

Thank you, Lord, for verses like this that show me confident faith. The author is confident that he will rejoice in the future when you deliver him. He might be in the middle of something horrible right now, he might be far from rejoicing at this moment, so he looks ahead in faith and talks to you about this hope in your salvation.

 

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