Psalms 102-103 “Loving Kindness and Tender Mercies”
Think of a time in your life when you poured out your heart in passioned pleadings to Heavenly Father. Read Psalm 102:1-9, pondering the goodness of God in receiving the prayers of His children who are feeling destitute. Indeed, the day will come when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to earth and will save and enlarge all who turn to Him and receive Him; as prophesied in verses 13-22.
What does the word “mercy” mean to you? In what ways does God show mercy toward you? Read Psalm 103:1-13, 17-19. Note the statement in verse 10, “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; or rewarded us according to our iniquities.” The Lord does not give us what we deserve, for our sins would condemn us forever. Instead, “as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him” (verse 11; see also D&C 58:42).
Psalm 110 “The Rod of Thy Strength”
Martin Luther, the great theologian and religious reformer of the 1500s, declared this psalm to be “worthy to be set in a frame of gold and diamonds.” Read and ponder Psalm 110, and consider why Luther would say this.
Psalms 116-118 “The Lord’s Name Is to Be Praised”
- Psalms 113-118 are known in Jewish worship as the “Hallel” (which means “praise”), which practicing Jews use as a prayer of thanksgiving, sung during Passover and other festivals.
- Psalm 118 is speculated to be the hymn that was sung by Jesus and His apostles at the Last Supper (see Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26).
- Note that the first and last verses of Psalm 118 are identical. Read Psalm 118, looking for the things the Lord is and the things that He does.
- Psalm 118:26 is a prophecy of the Savior entering Jerusalem during the last week of His mortality (see Matthew 21:9; Mark 11:9).
- Martin Luther said that he “owed more to Psalm 118 than to all the princes and friends who supported him.” Can you think of a scripture reference that has sustained and strengthened you throughout the years?
Psalm 119 “Seek Him With the Whole Heart”
- With 176 verses, Psalm 119 is the longest of the psalms (Psalm 117 being the shortest, with only two verses).
- In Psalm 119 the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (and the English transliterations of them) appear at the beginning of each of the 22 groups of eight verses. In the Hebrew Bible, verses 1-8 all begin with the letter aleph; verses 9-16 all begin with beth, and so on, until all 22 Hebrew letters have been used (of course, this pattern doesn’t come through in the English translation).
- Note that in Psalm 119, “whole heart” occurs in verses 2, 10, 34, 58, 69, and 145. What do these verses say about our “whole heart”?
- “Heart” is always a key word in the scriptures. The word “heart” (or “hearts”) occurs 795 times in the Old Testament (about 135 times in the Psalms), but “whole heart” is found only 13 times in the Old Testament; nine of which are found in Psalms.
- Search through Psalm 119, looking for other special verses that stand out for you. Some of the repeated themes include prayers and petitions, affliction and opposition, the law of God, the word of God, His goodness and mercy, our quest to return to Him, and so forth (if your time is limited; just consider reading verses 34-37, 59, 63, 69-72, 94, 97, 103-106, 114, 133-135, 159, 165).
Psalms 127-128 Children
Psalm 127:3 is the only scripture cited in “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” What do you learn about children and families from Psalm 127:3-5 and Psalm 128:3-6? How could you apply 127:1 to your life?
Psalms 135-139 Praise Him
- Read Psalm 135:15-18 and consider, in what ways do you think “they that make [idols] are like unto them [the idols they have fashioned].”
- As noted, Psalm 118 is the Hallel, and Psalm 136 is called “the Great Hallel” (“great praise”), with every verse ending with, “for his mercy endureth for ever.” How would you describe the statements that precede “for his mercy endureth for ever”? If you were to write a 27th verse that pertains to your life and ends with the same words, what would you write?
- When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took many of the Jews into captivity, it was emotionally difficult for them to think about Jerusalem or sing songs about their homeland (see Psalm 137:1-4; “Zion” is another name for the city of Jerusalem). In our day, we long for a return to our heavenly home, and must endure faithfully and always choose our quest for eternal life “above [our] chief joy” (verse 6). Read also Jacob 7:26; D&C 45:13.
- Read Psalm 139:1-4, 23-24. Do you feel to express in your prayers what it says in verses 23-24?
Psalms 146-150 Hallelujah
These five psalms (along with Psalm 145 and others), extol the greatness and majesty of God, being called the “Hallelujah Psalms” (“hallelujah” means “praise the Lord”). Psalms 145-150 use the word praise 48 times.
- Psalm 146:5—How would you define true happiness? How do Psalm 146:6-9 and Psalm 147:3, 6, 11 expand your definition of what it means to be happy?
- Psalm 148 and Psalm 149:1-6—Can you think of a hymn that similarly expresses the shouts of praise in these psalms?
- Read Psalm 150, which is called by Bible commentator J.R. Dummelow, “the grand finale of the spiritual concert.” We should praise God continuously.
- Thus, we finish the Psalms. Note that in the 1985 edition of LDS Hymns, there are 75 references from the Psalms that are provided as scriptures to “cross-reference” with various hymns (see Hymns, pp. 410-411).
- Consider the idea of writing your own brief psalm, poem, or song of prayer or praise to the Lord.
Additional Inspiration from Psalms Outside the Come, Follow Me Curriculum
- Psalm 87—this psalm was read by Joseph Smith on Aug 3, 1831 at the dedication of the Independence, Jackson County, Missouri temple site.
- Psalm 88:10-13—evidently refers to temple ordinances in behalf of the dead.
- Psalm 94:2-14—the wicked may triumph for now, but they will be cast into the pit.
- Psalm 97—the Second Coming of Christ and His Millennial reign.
- Psalm 100—known throughout Christianity as a “Thanksgiving Psalm.”
- Psalm 105:6-45—a review of God’s goodness through His covenant with the people of Israel, including references to Abraham, Joseph, and Moses.
- Psalm 106:7-46—a continuation of the history of Israel, when they rebelled against Jehovah and served other gods, yet He still “remembered for them his covenant.”
- Psalm 107—the cry, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” is repeated four times; interspersed among a long list of blessings the Lord has poured out upon His children.
- Psalm 111:10—“the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
- Psalm 112:4-9—works of the righteous and the Lord’s blessings upon them.
- Psalm 122—the temple and Jerusalem
- Psalm 126:5-6—our tribulations can lead to blessings.
- Psalm 133:1—“How good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
- Psalm 140:12—“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and the right of the poor.”
- Psalm 145:18—“The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.”