Psalms 49-51; 61-66; 69-72; 77-78; 85-86: “I Will Declare What He Hath Done for My Soul” (August 15-21)

David Playing the Harp,” by Jan de Bray, 1670

What is contrition? The English word descends from the Latin word contritus, which means literally “worn out” or “ground to pieces.” (See “contrite,” Online Etymology Dictionary.) In many of the psalms we are studying this week, we see David’s overwhelming feelings of guilt for his sins and his heartfelt plea to God for forgiveness. These psalms remind me of Enos’s wrestle before God (Enos 1:1-8) and of Alma’s desperate appeal for relief from his torment (Alma 36:17-19).

As we study Psalms 49-86 this week, you may find the following blog posts useful:

Psalm #Blog Post(s)
51A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit – 3 Nephi 9:20
What Are the “Tender Mercies of the Lord?”
62“I Did Pour Out My Whole Soul” – Enos 1:9.
63“Seek Me Early”
68Ascension, Descension, and Comprehension
69The Bitter Cup
Deep Waters
80“His Countenance Did Smile upon Them” – 3 Nephi 19:25
82“Ye Are Gods”
84Because of Thy Son
86A Perfect, Just God, and a Merciful God Also – Alma 42:15

Additionally, even though Psalm 95 is not included in this week’s assignment, it’s worth reading because of its importance in the Book of Mormon. The prophet Jacob references this psalm several times, and Alma uses it as the basis for a call to repentance in the city of Ammonihah. It reminds us that the Israelites hardened their hearts in the wilderness and had to wander for forty years before entering into the “rest” of the Lord.

Here are two blog posts about the significance of this psalm for us:

Blog Posts: August 16-21

Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord

Based on: Psalm 55 Core message: God will ease our burdens as we draw nearer to Him. Even if He doesn’t take them away, He can make them seem light. Related Book of Mormon passages: Mosiah 24:14-15, Alma 33:23


Based on: Psalm 90 Core message: We have to expand our perspective, even beyond our own lifetime, if we want to understand God better. Related Book of Mormon passage: Moroni 10:3

Sweet Is the Work

Based on: Psalm 92 Core message: Simplifying our service will increase our happiness. Related Book of Mormon passage: Alma 29:9

All the Ends of the Earth

Based on: Psalm 98 Core message: The entire world benefits from the Savior’s light, even non-believers. We all have reason to rejoice. Related Book of Mormon passages: Mosiah 12:24, Mosiah 15:18-31

The Rock of Our Salvation

Based on: Psalm 89 Core message: When we focus more fully on Jesus Christ, we build on a secure foundation. Related Book of Mormon passages: 2 Nephi 4:30, 2 Nephi 9:45

How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling-place

Based on: Psalm 84 Core message: Holy places on earth can prepare us to return to God’s presence. Related Book of Mormon passage: Mosiah 2:41

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