My First Psalm Composition :)

6 Nov

I just got back my assignment on a Psalm Composition, so thought of sharing it here…cos it also speaks of my life experience with the loving Lord….Personal elaboration of the story behind the psalm is below…(It’s more or less a direct cut & paste from my assignment, so could be a bit technical in later part..)

1          O LORD my God, most supreme one,

My Savior, you alone are mighty.

2          At your will, man receives life,

At your timing, man takes his last breath.

3          You see man’s tomorrow before it arrives,

Nothing escapes your foreknowledge.

4          My enemy plots and deceives,

but there is no scheme, no problem too big for you.

5          In my folly, I almost fell, but you tenderly catch me,

You did not forget me in my weakness.

6          You made your word sweet to my soul,

like soothing medicine to a wound.

7          I was impatient in the wait, yet your presence comforts me,

your loving company satisfies me.

8          Truly you are faithful to those who hope in you,

for you surprise them with goodness beyond their desires.

9          My heart will praise your faithful kindness,

My lips will sing of your unreserved love.

10        Blessed are those who are found by the LORD,

Blessed is he who responds favorably to the LORD’s grace.

11        The LORD is worthy to be praised,

for He lavishes infinite love on those who trust Him.

12        Let the whole universe praise His name,

May all creation proclaim His glory!

Commentary

            Despite the appealing idea to write a “lament psalm”, I chose to write a “praise psalm” instead because I understand the important correlation between thanksgiving and joy. My pastor has influenced me into seeing that a heart of thanksgiving in even one little thing will lead to the discovery of many other things to give thanks for. Conversely, a grumbling heart tends to taint everything with a negative shade.

Therefore, while this is the busiest period of the semester, I prefer to think of God’s goodness and draw strength from it, rather than let my spirit fall into a moaning state. Furthermore, this period of my life is packed with more gratitude and comfort than negative emotions. While there are still challenges and weariness in life now, they are small compared to the joy I have. Furthermore, when I reflect upon my past till now, the little challenges I have now is not parallel with the immense grace of God, thus warranting my praise to Him.

This psalm is set against the background about 7 years ago when the demise of my father and the break-up with my 5.5-year boyfriend happened around the same time. This prompts me to write verses 2-3, which not only describes the power of God, but also my situation then. Verse 4 reflects that while I was overwhelmed at that time, God was not shaken by my problems. Verse 5 describes how weak I was such that I even lost the strength and will to pray, but God continued to lovingly touch me through His word and through my pastor. In the years that followed my loss of father and romance, I was surprised that the seemingly boring word of God during peace times, suddenly came alive and was so revitalizing to me when I was down. God’s often taken-for-granted presence also became most comforting to me. Thus, I wrote verses 6-7.

Verses 8-9 tell of my experience with the faithful Lord. Eventually, God not only granted me a new love relationship, but also more. During the few years’ gap, God did not let me wait aimlessly, but He molded me and led me into a deeper relationship with Him. He also opened doors for me to serve Him despite my weak state and He reshaped my life direction to live for Him and His mission, instead of simply pursue my own desires.

Most part of this psalm (verses 1-9) uses the first person speech, with me addressing God directly, to signify the intimate relationship between us. I am not simply writing about a distant God, but the LORD who is close to my heart and dwells in me. This psalm follows key features of a “praise psalm” below:

  1. Introduction: Verse 1
  2. Praise of God’s power: Verses 2-3
  3. Psalmist’s circumstances: Verses 4-5a, 7a
  4. Deliverance as an accomplished fact: Verses 5b-6, 7b-8
  5. Wisdom teaching: Verse 10
  6. Vow or Invitation to praise: Verses 9, 11-12

With the above background and overview, I will provide a verse-by-verse commentary below (slightly technical, for the interested ones).

Verse 1 This introductory verse is inspired by the opening of the descriptive Psalm 104. I used semantic parallelism here, with the rhyming of similar ideas. “Most supreme one” parallels with “you alone are mighty”.
Verses 2-3 Using the examples of controlling life and death, and foreknowledge of the future, I try to illustrate the supremacy of God, building on what was mentioned in verse 1. The use of such examples also alludes to the examples in Psalm 8, Psalm 95:4-5 and Psalm 100:3 about God’s power to create and His dominion over His creation. The idea of man’s life and death also links back to my father’s demise.

Again, I adopted semantic parallelism in these 2 verses:

Verse 2: “At your will” parallels with “at your timing”, indicating the sovereignty of God. This is a rhyming of similar ideas. “Man receives life” parallels with “man takes his last breath”, but there is a contrast here.

Verse 3: Both the lines, “You see man’s tomorrow before it arrives” and “nothing escapes your foreknowledge” share the similar idea that God foreknows the future.

Verses 4-5a These verses are summary of my circumstances. As this is a “praise psalm”, instead of a lament, the brevity of the description of my problems is deliberate. I mentioned the devil in verse 4, because during the dire period of my life, he kept planting doubts in me, to make me lose faith in God’s love, especially in the face of my losses. That is why I wrote, “I almost fell”, for I almost could not reconcile my losses with the loving promises of God.
Verses 5b-6 Again, semantic parallelism is applied in verse 5. The idea of “catching me when I fall” is akin to “did not forget me in my weakness”.

The use of simile, “soothing like medicine to a wound”, is an insertion of poetry feature into the psalm.

Verse 7a “I was impatient in the wait” is a description of my mood while awaiting total healing from the grief over my losses.
Verses 7b-8 The use of “your presence comforts me, your loving company satisfies me” in verse 7 alludes to Psalm 23:4’s “your rod and your staff, they comfort me” in the valley of shadow of death. Again verse 7b exhibits semantic parallelism between “your presence comforts me” and “your loving company satisfies me”.

Verse 8 uses progressive parallelism based on explanation. Verse 8b explains why verse 8a states that God is faithful. In addition, I wrote “you surprise them with goodness beyond their desires” in verse 8b, because I personally saw how God gave me something better than what I desired. I used to think that I would be happy only if I could have my own blissful family. However, God had helped me understand that He had not brought me to this world merely to get married and have kids. There is a higher purpose and mission in my life. When I embrace God’s purpose for me, I tasted goodness that I have never imagined. And amazingly, it was after I had figured this out that God faithfully remembered my humanly need and granted me the recent marriage.

Verse 9 This is a personal vow to praise God. Grammatical parallelism is used here:

My heart    will praise    your faithful kindness

My lips      will sing of   your unreserved love

Verse 10 This is a wisdom teaching, urging all to recognize the grace of God and to respond to that grace fittingly. Implicit in this verse is the notion that God is the initiator of grace, it is not by the credit of man. Thus, in verse 10a, “blessed are those who are found by the LORD”, the LORD is the active agent while humans are the passive ones. However, though God is the active agent in bestowing grace, man needs to respond correctly to God’s grace in order to enjoy His further grace. Therefore, verse 10b is an encouragement to embrace God’s grace positively.
Verses 11-12 These are invitation to praise God.

In verse 11, the second line elaborates the first, using progressive parallelism based on explanation to justify why the LORD should be praised.

In verse 12, there is a grammatical parallelism:

Let      the whole universe     praise His name

May    all creation                 proclaim His glory

 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “My First Psalm Composition :)”

  1. Adrienne November 9, 2013 at 1:47 am #

    Hee I enjoyed ur psalm composition! Really reads like one 🙂 and can sense that same closeness u haf like wat David shared with God! Are there more to come?

    • huijun1910 November 9, 2013 at 11:59 am #

      Tks, sis…err no la, i think not likely to hv a 2nd psalm in the near future…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: