Teaching the Psalms through History: God’s Faithfulness to the Generations

Each person is a living story.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:16

Through faithful obedience, God ordains and establishes our lives. We have the great pleasure of being living scrolls!

There is no greater joy than living into the fullness of the story God has written for you.

Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.

Jeremiah 15:16

Some people are called as scribes to consciously live as a living story (the reason I write monthly summaries). And yet, irrespective of calling, God calls all people to play their part in his story.

Ultimately, it isn’t about us.

The stories our lives tell have generational ripple effects. This dynamic can be seen in the way that Jesus embodied the words of his forefather, David.

“Here I am, I have come—

it is written about me in the scroll:

8I delight to do Your will, O my God;c

Your law is within my heart.”

Psalm 40:7-8

Through Jesus’ blamelessness, he was able to completely embody the most challenging life story ever written for one human being.

And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”

Revelation 5:2

Video: Gathering the Great Cloud of Witnesses

This summer for seminary, I gathered Psalms of promises that God makes to children. For my project, I selected Christian historical figures whose lives (past and present) embodied Psalm 108, 34, 71, 103, and 128. Then, I asked friends to narrate the Psalm as each of the characters. Arranged from youngest to oldest, these 5 witnesses’ lives declare God’s faithfulness in various ways.

Check out this video to learn more about how their lives embodied the Psalms. How might God be calling you to live as an embodied story?

Introducing the Saints

These are the 5 Christian historical figures I chose.

  • Tarore of Waharoa
  • Alice Cooper
  • Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • George Washington Carver

As you listen to the video, you will find out how each of their lives fit the Psalms.

A Bonus Detail I didn’t share in the Video

One of my favorite aspects of this project were the unexpected artistic connections that emerged. As I compared the relative ages of each of the saints and the number of verses their Psalm contained, I realized that the progression created a mountain shape. Given the connection of praise Psalms with the Psalms of Ascents (and pilgrimage worship to high, holy places), I really enjoyed this connection.

I also noticed that the Psalm I associated with children (Psalm 8) has just 9 verses while the Psalm I associated with very old age/grandparents (Psalm 103) has 6 verses. Given that 6 is a visual inversion of the number 9, and 9 is written with the bubble towards the ground, it reminded me of the concept of mortality and being brought low to the ground (Genesis 3:19). This visual shape implies that during middle age (at the peak of the mountain), individuals have their greatest amount of capacity, resources, and strength. At either end of their lives (the beginning or end of the mountain/lifespan), that strength is limited. 

Father, help us to fully embody the stories that you have written us! Help us learn from members of the Great Cloud of Witnesses you have assembled throughout history to joyfully personify your plans.

Published by Haley Nus

Hello! Formerly of Kansas and Washington, D.C., I am an emerging voice in Holy Spirit-led education reform and youth ministry. I present these materials with an explicit focus on the interdenominational, international, charismatic Church. Check out more on my journey with prophetic ministry, doctoral study, and travel through my end-of-month Monthly Summaries. I take Jesus's invitation to welcome children in his name (Luke 9:48) and Jesus's exhortation to become like children (Mathew 18:3) literally! In order to shape the world well for adults, we must serve the youngest among us so that we will truly understand who we are as sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18).]

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