Curious PsalmsSep 28, 2023
Psalm 90 with Rick Hodkin
Rick Hodkin joins Matt to discuss Psalm 90, as we enter Book IV of the Psalms. This Psalm takes seriously the challenges of life and Matt and Rick discuss what it means that God is bigger than us, how we pray in light of our own mortality and the ways the psalm helps lead us further into praying with our whole selves.
Psalm 89 with Zach Tedrow (Part 2)
Zach Tedrow and Matt continue their conversation about Psalm 89. In this part they reflect on the messianic significance of the Psalm, the ways it brings together God’s power and character and the invitation to a prayer life that is complex, even praying two different things at once. Enjoy this conversation!
Psalm 89 with Zach Tedrow (Part 1)
Zach Tedrow returns for an extended conversation about Psalm 89. In this first part, Matt and Zach discuss a wide range of elements in this Psalm, focusing on the covenant promises of God and the contrast with the Psalmist’s wrestling with this at the Psalm’s conclusion. They also discuss the complexity of the Bible, how authenticity fits with prayer and much more. Look for part 2 of the conversation coming in a couple of weeks.
Psalm 88 with Kevin Adams
Psalm 88 ends with darkness, so Matt knew he needed help and the Reverend Dr. Kevin Adams helped in a big way. In this conversation, they explore how darkness is for insiders, the way this Psalm gifts us words and a prayer in the midst of darkness and how the ambiguity of the circumstances makes this a universal prayer, one that Jesus himself prayed. We hope this is conversation is an encouragement and gift to you.
Psalm 87 with Amy Langle
Amy Langle is back for this conversation about a shorter Psalm in Psalm 87. She and Matt discuss the ways God can bring beauty out of the ruin and his endlessly reaching out not only to his people but to all the nations as he seeks to bring them in.
Psalm 86 with David Narita
For Psalm 86, Matt gets to have a conversation with David Narita as they explore this “Wednesday afternoon Psalm.” Together they talk about joy, the gift of God revealing himself to us as compassionate and the idea of an ongoing life of prayer.
Psalm 85 with Jana Dykhuis
Jana Dykhuis returns to the podcast to talk about Psalm 85 with its vision of God’s shalom and an invitation to reflect on his unfailing love. Matt and Jana discuss how the Psalm calls us to pray in an embodied reality and wonder about a rarer way of describing God (they’re curious!). Enjoy this conversation.
Psalm 84 with Kevin Adams
In this episode, the Rev. Dr. Kevin Adams returns to discuss the beauty of Psalm 84. He and Matt talk about the beautiful orientation of the Psalm towards the love of God and how this psalm gives us a poetic and personal way to keep the 1st commandment (in Kevin’s words!). Enjoy this exploration of Psalm 84!
Psalm 83 with Zach Tedrow
For this discussion of Psalm 83, we welcome Zach Tedrow for the first time. Zach offers a close read of the Psalm that reorients the conversation toward the possibilities of grace while still inviting us into complete honesty before God when it comes to our enemies. Enjoy this dive into Psalm 83!
Psalm 82 with Rachel Timms
In this episode, Rachel Timms joins Matt to discuss the strange world of Psalm 82. They explore who the “gods” are, who is talking at different parts in this Psalm, but more importantly discuss what it means for God to sit in judgment of powerful spiritual beings and how that might be a comfort to us. We hope this conversation is a helpful on-ramp to this Psalm!
Psalm 81 with Amy Langle
Amy Langle returns for another conversation, this time about Psalm 81. Together, they discuss what it means to hear tones of God’s disappointment, the festival setting of this Psalm and how these words, spoken by God, can help us think about prayer. There’s even a poor fourth of July analogy - enjoy this conversation!
Psalm 80 with Aaron Antoon
On this episode, Aaron Antoon joins Matt for a conversation about Psalm 80. They explore the rich imagery of the psalm and the way it deepens some of the lament, the ways the psalm gets specific about who it is addressing and how its boldness might serve as a model for our prayer. Plus, they cram a whole lot more into this short conversation - enjoy!
Psalm 79 with Joan Curry
We’re back with our regularly scheduled programming as Joan Curry returns to discuss Psalm 79 with Matt. Together, they discuss the ways the whole Bible helps us understand the cries of this Psalm, its invitation to trust and rely on God as our foundation, and how it might move us out of an overly individualistic understanding of prayer. Enjoy this conversation!
Psalms for Christmas
For this special episode, Matt shares a couple of psalms that are a part of the Christmas lectionary and invites listeners to have some moments of reflection about the good news of Christmas in light of them. We’re praying the Psalms together!
Opening music: Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies - Tchaikovsky https://youtu.be/v57C_I1r5U4
Psalm 78 with Libby Backfish (Part 2)
Dr. Libby Backfish returns for the second part of her conversation with Matt about Psalm 78. If you haven’t listened to part 1, that’s a great place to start but then listen to this episode as Matt and Libby discuss the rhythms of this Psalm, the ways it shows God using both judgment and mercy to call his people back to himself and how we might think about praying our own stories.
Psalm 78 with Libby Backfish (Part 1)
Dr. Libby Backfish is back for a new experiment in Curious Psalms - having an extended conversation in two parts. In this, Part 1, of her conversation with Matt about Psalm 78, they discuss the movements between faithfulness and unfaithfulness, the relationship between knowing and obeying God, some details about the timing of the end of the Psalm and much more. Enjoy Part 1, and look for Part 2 of this conversation coming out in a couple of weeks!
Psalm 77 with Jana Dykhuis
Jana Dykhuis is back on the podcast to talk with Matt about Psalm 77. They explore the inner dialogue of this Psalm, the ways it invites us to lean on a larger perspective of God and his actions in times of distress as well as how we might think about resolution as a goal (or not) of prayer. Enjoy this conversation!
Psalm 76 with Olivia Giles
Olivia Giles joins Matt again to talk about Psalm 76 and its reflections on God’s wrath. They discuss the ways that this Psalm calls us to trust God and his goodness, how a proper fear of God goes hand in hand with gratitude and the gift of naming and recognizing God’s anger. Enjoy this conversation!
Psalm 75 with Amy Langle
Amy Langle returns for a fascinating conversation about praising God for his judgment as she and Matt explore Psalm 75. They talk about the ways judgment is portrayed positively in this Psalm and what it means to trust in God’s timing and his sense of equity. And of course, there are some laughs along the way - enjoy!
Psalm 74 with Grant Sork
Grant Sork is back to wrestle with Psalm 74 together with Matt. In this conversation they talk about the way it develops some of the themes of Psalm 73, the absence of God in this Psalm and its invitation to us to call God to keep his promises. It’s a fascinating conversation exploring a challenging Psalm, we hope you enjoy it.
Psalm 73 with Kevin Adams
The Reverend Dr. Kevin Adams returns to explore Psalm 73 with Matt. They discuss the ways this personal Psalm provides space for our doubts reminding us that God invites us to explore those doubts within covenant with him and his people. We hope this is a helpful conversation exploring what it means to pay attention to our world and bring what we see to God. Plus, hear the new theme for Book 3 (thanks to Aaron Antoon for composing it).
Psalm 72 with Jana Dykhuis
Jana Dykhuis joins the podcast for the first time to discuss Psalm 72 with Matt. In this conversation, they talk about the ways this psalm fires our holy imagination, giving us hope and images for God’s Kingdom. As we conclude Book 2 of the Psalms, they also discuss the ways God in Jesus uniquely fulfills these hopes for a King.
Psalm 71 with Libby Backfish
Matt is joined once again by Dr. Libby Backfish to talk about Psalm 71. In this episode, they discuss the way age plays a role in this Psalm, the many metaphors that undergird the Psalmist’s trust in God and unpack a couple of fascinating phrases. We hope this episode encourages some of your own introspection and reflection on the faithfulness of God!
Psalm 70 with Nathan Giles
In this episode, Matt is joined by Nathan Giles to discuss all five verses of Psalm 70. In such a short Psalm they still have plenty to talk about as they explore the urgency of the Psalm, the formative power of prayer and how this Psalm can help us pray for ourselves as well as others. Enjoy this conversation.
Psalm 69 with Kyu Hahn
In a special return appearance, Reverend Kyu Hahn joins Matt for a conversation about Psalm 69. Together, they explore the differences between David’s response to persecution and Jesus’s, what it means for God to be attentive in the midst of silence and the invitation to give our prayers space to breathe and develop. Plus a lot more! Enjoy this conversation.
Psalm 68 with Rachel Timms
Rachel Timms is back on the podcast to talk about Psalm 68. Matt and Rachel discuss the “gusto” and triumphant confidence of the psalm, the kinds of people God leads and rescues and how this Psalm points us to collective experiences of God’s goodness. Plus, some brief parenting reflections at the end!
Psalm 67 with Grant Sork
In this episode, Grant Sork returns for a conversation about Psalm 67. Matt and Grant discuss the plea that is a part of requesting God’s blessing and the way that that can help us pray for our neighbor. They also explore the ways that this Psalm helps us think about God choosing people and the prayerful questions we might want to ask coming out of this psalm. We hope you enjoy this conversation!
A programming note: Due to summer schedules and vacation, we’ll be taking a couple of weeks off, returning in July.
Psalm 66 with Kevin Adams
In this episode, Rev. Dr. Kevin Adams joins Matt to talk about Psalm 66. They discuss the placement of the Psalm, the relationship between abundance and discipline and how we might imaginatively enter the reality that we are always praying in community. All while in a very warm room - they are committed! Enjoy this conversation.
Psalm 65 with Amy Langle
On this episode, Amy Langle returns to explore Psalm 65 with Matt. This Psalm leads them to some fascinating conversations about confidence in God and the challenge of many of the Psalms’ emphasis on physical blessings. It’s a far-ranging conversation, but we trust you’ll enjoy hearing two people thinking out loud.
Psalm 64 with Dolly Leedy
On this episode, Dolly Leedy returns to join Matt in discussing (more) enemies in Psalm 64. They talk about the way we see our own world in the Psalm, how we might see ourselves in the enemy and how the polarity of the Psalms encourages us to pray for God's help in becoming righteous. And that's just a taste of the conversation - enjoy this episode!
Psalms for Holy Week
In this episode, Matt reads through a series of Psalms often associated with Holy Week and Easter, providing prompts for prayer and reflection along the way. In other words, you're invited to join us in not only reading and thinking about the Psalms, but praying them.
Praying you have a rich and meaningful Holy Week.
Psalm 63 with Dave Roylance
On this episode, Dave Roylance joins the fun as he and Matt discuss Psalm 63. They talk about this “foxhole prayer” and its unique, even love-poem-like tendencies, the ways God is seen as one who is constant and caring, and the ways this Psalm invites us to realign our longings and have confidence in addressing him. There’s a lot in this episode - enjoy!
Psalm 62 with Aaron Antoon
On this episode, Aaron Antoon joins Matt to discuss Psalm 62. They talk about the phrase “how long…” and the rich idea of refuge as well as the ways this Psalm invites us to bring our full, relationally complex selves to singing this Psalm together.
Speaking of singing, here is a link to Aaron’s version of Psalm 62, entitled “Oh My Soul” where you can hear some of his reflections embodied in this beautiful version. Enjoy!
Psalm 61 with Diann Kalsbeek
On this episode, Diann Kalsbeek joins Matt to explore Psalm 61. They talk about the Psalm’s reminder of God’s availability to us, even when we may be struggling to pray, of the gift of escape that God offers us and the ways that we are in fact at our safest in relationship with God. We hope you enjoy this conversation!
Psalm 60 with Olivia Giles
On this episode, Olivia Giles joins Matt to talk about Psalm 60. They discuss (debate even!) the tone of the opening verses of the Psalm and discuss the ways it helps us understand God’s covenant and victory. They also reflect on an invitation to resilient prayer in this Psalm and the ways our helplessness drives us to prayer. Enjoy this conversation!
Psalm 59 with Libby Backfish
On this episode, Dr. Libby Backfish returns to discuss Psalm 59 with Matt. Together, they talk about the repetition of the Psalm, the nature of God’s laughter, an unusual verse 11 that hints at a fundamental tension in our prayers. We hope you enjoy this discussion!
Psalm 58 with Nathan Giles
Nathan Giles joins Matt to talk about a challenging Psalm in Psalm 58. They discuss the “scream” of this Psalm, its shocking imagery and how we are supposed to think about and pray the imprecatory Psalms that call for judgment and curse the Psalmists’ enemies.
Psalm 57 with Amy Langle
Amy Langle, Curious Psalms veteran, returns to discuss Psalm 57 with Matt. They explore how this psalm, set in a cave, teaches us to sing in the darkness, how it provides a beautiful example of trust and faith, how it pushes back on our inclinations to bargain with God, and a lot more. Plus, Matt shares some recent linguistic difficulties!
Psalm 56 with Kevin Adams
The Reverend Dr. Kevin Adams is back to talk about Psalm 56. In this episode, Kevin and Matt talk about the dire straits of the Psalmist, the ways this Psalm points out our need for a savior and how this Psalm (and so many of them!) invite us into a life of pilgrimage. They even talk a little about Christmas - enjoy!
Psalm 55 with Jessup Students
In this special episode of Curious Psalms, the hosting duties are turned over to the students in Dr. Libby Backfish’s Psalms and Wisdom Literature class at William Jessup University. We hope you enjoy getting this glimpse of how our college-age friends listen and are shaped by the Psalms!
Psalm 54 with Luke Adams
Luke Adams returns to the podcast to join Matt for an exploration of Psalm 54. They discuss some of the common themes we’ve seen in the Psalter, play with some of the turns of phrase within the Psalm and talk about the ways this Psalm can be a model for a lifetime of prayer.
Psalm 53 with Stirling Marcum
For this episode, Stirling Marcum is our guest as she joins Matt for a conversation about Psalm 53. Together they explore the connections of this Psalm with the story of Nabal and Abigail, the ways the psalm forces us to look at our own foolishness as well as the grace in the Psalm of having eyes open to God’s ongoing work.
Psalm 52 with Cheryl Maffei
First-time guest Cheryl Maffei joins the podcast to discuss Psalm 52. Together, Matt and Cheryl discuss the contrasts in this Psalm, its invitation into a life of abiding in God as well as the comfort that we can take in God’s ultimate vindication and judgment. A small programming note: Beginning this week, we are moving to an every other week release schedule (listen to the very end for a brief explanation why).
Psalm 51 with Aaron Antoon
Aaron Antoon is the guest for this episode about Psalm 51. Matt and Aaron discuss the context of this Psalm and its accessibility for us. They also consider how this psalm reminds us of God’s initiating work and his gift of a community that helps us pray as well as much more.
Psalm 50 with Grant Sork
Grant Sork joins the podcast to discuss Psalm 50. Together, Matt and Grant talk about what makes this psalm unique, the ways it reminds us of God as the Creator Judge and particularly its invitation into an attentive listening to God. Enjoy the conversation!
Psalm 49 with Rachel Timms
Rachel Timms returns to Curious Psalms to talk about Psalm 49. This unique wisdom Psalm talks extensively about wealth and little about God, so Matt and Rachel discuss both the ways it has helped them reflect on their resources as well as the ways it points to God as the one who brings life and redemption. Plus, they discuss some interesting punctuation choices!
Psalm 48 with Kevin Adams
The Reverend Dr. Kevin Adams joins Matt for this conversation about the enthusiastic Psalm 48. Together, they talk about the ways this Psalm reminds us that God is both a God of concrete places and of everyone and everywhere, as well as some specific prayer practices that could flow out of an encounter with this psalm. Plus, there’s a whole lot more about Jerusalem, the Church and God as our guide to the end.
Psalm 47 with Kyu Hahn
For one of his last conversations on Curious Psalms, Reverend Kyu Hahn returns to talk about the deeply joyful Psalm 47. Matt and Kyu discuss the ways joy combats a culture of content, how this psalm can be a model for our prayer and even how we may get glimpses of the meaning of Jesus’s ascension here.
Psalm 46 with Amy Langle
Amy Langle returns for an honest and vulnerable conversation about Psalm 46. Matt and Amy discuss the Psalm’s call to “be still”, the comfort in God having an ultimate plan and serving as our refuge, and Amy shares a moment of personal revelation.
Psalm 45 with Libby Backfish
For Psalm 45, we had to have Dr. Libby Backfish join the podcast as Matt and Libby explore a unique wedding psalm, an unusual reference to God and a reminder of the fact that any human greatness comes from God. Plus they discuss how this can inspire us to pray for our leaders and be mindful of God in the midst of celebration.