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I’m camping out in Psalms again this week, while my husband and I spend a few days away camping! I cannot get enough of the Psalms, or camping.

I love the Psalms, not only because I can sing songs of praise (checkout last week,) but also because of the word pictures they paint for me.

My imagination is put to work with the details.

I recently learned this is how the story is laid out in the Psalms. The Psalms are poetry, but different than my common perception of rhyme and rhythm. When I understand the poetic style of the Psalms it makes perfect sense.

The poetry of the Psalms is in the imagery. The technical term for this style is parallelism.  (https://bible.org/seriespage/2-what-psalm n.d.)

Instead of rhyming, the poem’s second line clarifies, completes, or contrasts the first line, it adds layers of details to convey the writer’s feelings and understanding about what was going on around him.

Take a look at Psalm 84:1-5 to see the parallelism and imagery for yourself. Each verse adds more detail to David’s thoughts and feelings about being separated from God’s temple.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,

Lord Almighty!

2 My soul yearns, even faints,

for the courts of the Lord;

my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

3 Even the sparrow has found a home,

and the swallow a nest for herself,

where she may have her young—a place near your altar,

Lord Almighty, my King and my God.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;

they are ever praising you.

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this Psalm suggests that it may have been written while David “was forced by Absalom’s rebellion to quit his city, which he lamented his absence from, not so much because it was the royal city as because it was the holy city, which contains the pious breathings of a gracious soul after God and communion with him.” (https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms/84.html n.d.)

Can’t you just see David, missing going to the temple? He yearns for it so much, he is faint! He longs so much to be there, he even imagines the sparrow, which may be singing outside his window, wants to be there, as close to the alter and Spirit of God as it could be.

I certainly am not Weary by Wednesday, when I lose myself in the poetry of the Psalms.

Here is Psalm 84 in full. What other parallelism do you notice as you read?

For the director of music. According to gittith. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
3 Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.[c]

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

8 Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.
9 Look on our shield,[e] O God;
look with favor on your anointed one.

10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold
from those whose walk is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Psalm 84 (NIV)

Thanks for sharing your Wednesday with me. I hope you are inspired to camp out in the Psalms, maybe you’ll want to have a few s’mores too!

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