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The Daily Office: Day 39- The Poetry of the Psalms

Silence for 2-5 minutes:

If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.

Scripture:  Psalm 33:1-6, The Message

1-3Good people, cheer God!  Right-living people sound best when praising. Use guitars to reinforce your Hallelujahs! Play his praise on a grand piano! Invent your own new song to him; give him a trumpet fanfare.

4-5 For God’s Word is solid to the core; everything he makes is sound inside and out. He loves it when everything fits, when his world is in plumb-line true. Earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction.

6-7 The skies were made by God’s command; he breathed the word and the stars popped out. He scooped Sea into his jug, put Ocean in his keg.


The Psalms are poetry and song. 

My friend David Taylor writes:

Poetry is a native language of God and of the people of God. It is a mother tongue of the Word Incarnate on whose lips the psalmist’s words came naturally. And it is the medium of art by which the Author of Scripture, the Holy Spirit, instructs us to address God by way of the prayers and praises of the psalms.

Taylor, W. David O.. The Open and Unafraid (p. 63). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Eugene Peterson has taken the Psalms and breathed poetic life in modern vernacular into these inspired poems.  Psalm 33 is particularly filled with vivid word pictures. 

Charles Wesley was inspired by Psalm 33:6 to write the following Trinitarian hymn which is sited in David’s book.  Here it is:

Jehovah the Almighty Lord, Father of Jesus Christ, and ours,

The heavens created by his word, And by his breath the heavenly powers:

And that essential Spirit divine Whom Jesus breathes into his own,

Doth in the new creation join With God and his eternal Son.

To Father, Son, and Holy Ghost Be equal adoration given,

Maker of the celestial host, Maker of the new earth and heaven!

Joint-Authors of our glorious bliss We soon shall sing the Three in One,

And God beholding as he is Forever shout around his throne.

Taylor, W. David O.. The Open and Unafraid (pp. 60-61). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

The poetry of the Psalms stretches our imaginations to see God and magnify Him for our thoughts about the creator are much too small and constrained.   Soaring verse can help us begin to imagine a God who is beyond our thoughts and yet is experienced in our hearts.  The Psalms can inspire us to write our own God poems as exemplified by Charles Wesley who wrote over 6000 hymns of worship.


How might the poetry of the Psalms begin to expand your understanding of the greatness and glory of God?  Take a favorite Psalm and read it in The Message.  Find hymns based on the Psalms and read or sing them unto the Lord.  Be bold and write your own poem based on one of the Psalms.


O Lord, you are beyond all of our words and all of our thoughts and yet you desire for us to articulate your glory with our insufficient words.   Thank you that I can look to Jesus the “living word” who comes to me dressed in human form, and though words may fail me,  and metaphors cannot suffice, I will speak of His beauty, compassion, and love and this will bless the heart of my Father.  Amen!

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