Haven’t you ever wished you could have a word from God right now? Maybe you are filled with questions about where your life is headed and you wonder if God is hearing your prayers. Is God speaking to you right now?
Or maybe you have received a big job promotion, or finally found a new home to move into, or your friend came back to Christ—does God’s Word meet you right now?
The Bible is “living and active” (Heb. 4:12) for today, yesterday, and tomorrow. In every moment God is speaking to you on every page. It is His Word to us, His people. While you might not get a personal word from the Lord, you are grafted into His people through Christ (Eph. 2:11–13). So His words in this book are His words to you.
The psalms speak to a myriad of life circumstances. While many of the psalms are lament psalms (or sad psalms), there are others that are for praise, thanksgiving, and even responding to how God has made the sad things untrue. So whether you are in the moment of despair or the moment of deliverance, the psalms have a word for you right now.
Right Now in Suffering
Psalm 102 begins with the superscription, “A prayer of one afflicted, when he is faint and pours out his complaint before the LORD.” The psalmist is afflicted with enemies on every side. But this affliction has physical components too (vv. 3–7). So where does he go? He “pours out his complaint before the LORD.” He gives a point by point recounting of all that he is enduring. In a sense, he complains to God about his affliction.
Have you ever thought about how you respond in your affliction? We tend to complain to our friends, or our spouse, or our parents. But do you take your complaint to the throne of grace? Our earthly companions might lend a sympathetic ear, but they are powerless to effect any real change in our circumstances. But our heavenly Friend is sovereign over all. He lends a sympathetic ear and a powerful right hand. He can do both.
The psalmist knows this too, and that knowledge leads him to trust. In pouring out his complaint to God he moves from despair to trust. In telling God the horrors of his circumstances he reminds himself that God “regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (v. 17). God pays attention to the psalmist’s complaint. There are a lot of places we can go to complain, but when we take our struggles to God’s ear, He doesn’t despise us. He listens, and He acts.
Right Now in Deliverance
So what do you do when He shows up and your prayers are answered? You might not be afflicted any longer, but you surely have some feelings about that prayer being answered. The psalms have you covered here, too. Consider Psalm 98:
Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! (v. 1)
This is one of many psalms that speak of God’s mighty acts. Sometimes in the psalms we get a corresponding narrative text that tells us what the psalmist was writing about. We see the deliverance in real time. But in this psalm, we just get his remembrance that God has brought salvation to His people.
Have you ever pondered your own salvation? As Romans 8 says, you are no longer under condemnation. When God sees you, even on your most sinful days, He does not condemn you because He already condemned Christ. His most mighty act for all of His people is His saving work through Christ. So whether you are delivered from lesser things or not, your future is secure. You are delivered.
God is a God who does great things for His people personally and corporately. We can all think of a long list of ways he has been kind to us, and the psalms give us language to express our thanksgiving back to Him. As Psalm 103 tells us, we can recount all of His many benefits to us. I’m sure you have as many blessings as I do. Right now, in your deliverance, you can sing a new song to the Lord for all He has done.
Right Now in Praise
There are psalms that are written in response to God answering a prayer. And then there are psalms that praise simply for the sake of praising. He is worthy of our praise simply in His being, not necessarily because anything He has done for us—though He has done great things. The final five psalms are all about praising the Lord for who He is, not necessarily for any specific deliverance.
While the psalms give us a lot of personal and corporate insight into God’s dealings with His people, the most important thing we are to remember about God is that He is deserving of all of our worship, whether He does anything else for us or not. His character alone demands praise (Ps. 145:3). He is good. He is powerful. He is wise. He is holy. He is beautiful. He is powerful. And out of all of this goodness, His loving character towards His people flows. He is merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and faithful in all His works (Ps. 145:8, 13).
The psalms speak to us right now, because on any given day we are in one of these places. We may need a song in the night, so we have lament. We may need a word of thanksgiving after the morning dawns, so we have psalms of deliverance. We may need language to praise God as He has revealed himself to be, we have psalms of praise.
The psalms are God’s Word to us, like all of the Bible. And they speak to us right now. You might not get an audible word from the Lord, but you have something better. You have God’s very words to you, preserved and unchanging throughout the ages.