Singing through the Psalter consecutively again, I’ve been struggling somewhat to sing the numerous Psalms that describe severe persecution at the hands of vicious enemies. How can I sing such of such agonizing suffering while sitting in my reclining chair, sipping my morning coffee, and enjoying the forest wildlife on these beautiful summer mornings in Grand Rapids (not exactly the Pyonyang of the USA)?

Can I honestly sing such Psalms? Should I sing such Psalms? If so, how? Here are four ways that I’ve tried to make these Psalms more useful in my spiritual life:

1. I thank God that they are not true of me at this time in my life.

2. I pray that they never will be true, that I and my family will continue to be spared such persecution.

3. I sympathise with those for whom these words are all too true, asking God to deliver them or to sustain them and their witness in the fiery furnace.

4. I see these Psalms as picturing what is true in the spiritual realm. Although mercifully spared physical persecution, I see such vivid descriptions as warnings of what the Devil and his legions are trying to do to me and others every day. Who can stop praying when facing Stalin, Ceausescu, Mao Zedong, and Kim Jong II, all rolled into one, every day of life?

  • SomeGuy

    Not that I would sit in that thing, but if I did, my pressing concern would be the law of gravity, not psalms. My next most important concern would be remembering if the bolts had been tightened recently. I would be afraid to get into that contraption in zero gravity.

    • David Murray

      Yes, how do you get into/out of it?

  • Rob Schouten

    We have to learn to sing the songs of the covenant not simply as individuals but as members of the church. In these songs, the church sings the songs which Christ inspired and so sings in communion with Christ and his people throughout the ages. Even if we read the Bible in comfort at home, we are part of the church which is ever at odds with the world. Keeping this in mind helps me read and sing the Psalms with a sense of genuine engagement.

    • David Murray

      I like that Rob. Very helpful.


    I connect with #4 – I’ve always used these Psalms as a reminder that I have a real enemy who wishes me real harm, but I also have a real Savior who protects me from my Accuser. Praise God that we are more than conquerors through Christ’s shed blood and resurrection!