Here are three of my favorite psalms to read when I grow discouraged and need to be encouraged by the Word of God. Which ones would you think to include?
Psalm 34:17-18 “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”
When you are downcast and discouraged, read Psalm 37, not just the above verses, but the entire psalm because it is the voice of one who is in utter despair and totally broken. He gives us hope by reminding us that “many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 37:19). Notice that the psalmist said, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,” and not just a few, and those who have had Jesus’ righteousness imputed to them can stand before God as cleansed and having Jesus’ own righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). So this psalm is about us! Claim it, believe Him, and pour out your soul to Him. He is near you if you’re brokenhearted and saves every one who is crushed in spirit. More than that, He says He will deliver us out of all of our troubles, but only if we cry out to Him for help. Sometimes my pride gets in the way when I get in trouble and need help. That’s too bad because God will resist me when I’m full of myself and will give me His grace only when I humble myself (James 4:6). That’s why I need to swallow my pride and cry out to Him for help because God not only hears our cries, He moves into action by delivering us from them all. He is very near to those who are brokenhearted and crushed in spirit. God delivers us out of our troubles, not just some but all of them, even though He doesn’t give us a time frame for this deliverance. We have to trust Him. Our God is so faithful, even when we aren’t.
Psalm 103:13-14 “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”
Is there any psalm that is more tender of heart and more loving in affection than the image of our God as our Father? He knows that we’re just dust and our frame is fragile, and so He has compassion on those who fear Him. The word compassion means “to love deeply, to have mercy,” and have “tender affection toward,” as the Hebrew word “racham” means. In this psalm God says that He separates us from our sin as far as the east is from the west (v 12), which, by the way, never meet. His love is as great as the heavens are above the earth (v 11) and doesn’t deal with us according to what our sins deserve (v 10). Feeling discouraged? Be encouraged about how God feels about you in Psalm 103.
Psalm 126:5-6 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
This psalm reminds me of a farmer. They sow a seed and reap a crop, but it comes much later. So too for those who weep today, for they will surely reap with shouts of joy on the day of the Lord’s visitation, and all of their suffering won’t be able to compare with the glory they’ll see on that great day (Rom 8:28). Even though today’s sowing is hard, not one tear will be wasted in the glorious kingdom to come.
The next time you grow discouraged, jump into the psalms, read His promises, claim them as your own, and believe what they say. God is faithful to His own words and never changes, even though we do. I trust you will find rest for your soul and be encouraged by His Word in the Book of Psalms.