Those of you signed up for these devotionals are getting this delivered to your device early on Sunday morning of this, our opening day of the 2014 summer preaching series.
Over the next 13 weeks we will travel together through the book of Psalms. Often called “The Hymnal of the Scriptures,” the book of Psalms is indeed a playlist of tunes expressing a wide range of emotions by varied people of God in Old Testament times.
Their songs are still dearly loved and among the favorite passages of the Bible for so many of God’s people. This is because they are a sort of “playlist” of common emotions that run the spectrum of love, joy, praise, teaching, wisdom, despair, confusion, sadness, fear, and even anger and indignation. The emotions that soar out of these inspired lyrics do indeed reflect the timeless emotions of people wanting to live for God in a difficult and challengingly sinful world.
Bible scholars over the years have sought to categorize the Psalms into common themes that are expressed by the writers. Not every list is exactly the same. This is often because there are varied ways and angles of looking at and enjoying these songs. And many of them are able to be classified in several categories. For example, a Psalm may express praise to God, while also presenting wise teaching and themes about worshipping God.
As we have laid out the Psalms for this summer series, we don’t claim particular inspiration, but do present them in what we trust is a logical way of categorizing them. We also want to raise out of them practical teaching themes as to how they may be applied to 21st Century life.
We will first begin with three weeks about “Praise” psalms that speak to the topic of worship and the active role of relationship we have with the Creator.
There will then be two weeks of “Lament” psalms where the writers present topics about the inevitable sorrows and pains of life – calling to God to help in times of need.
We will next have two weeks about “Trust” and “Thanksgiving” psalms – where the writers express their hope and confidence in God, even in spite of the challenges of life.
We know that all Scripture is given for our instruction in life, and we will at the end of July and beginning of August look at “Wisdom” and “Torah” psalms that primarily instruct and teach.
For one week, on Sunday 8/10 and following, we will give attention to a very unique category of “Imprecatory” psalms. These may seem odd to people as they even call upon God to move to judgment and retribution … and we may see them as a crying out to God to see justice prevail in a difficult and sinful world.
We’ll give two Sundays to psalms of the “King” … sometimes called “Messianic” or “Enthronement” or “Royal” psalms. These look forward to King and a Kingdom to come.
And finally we will enjoy and finish with “Ascent” psalms. These are those that were dear to the Old Testament saints as they sang them when on pilgrimages to Jerusalem to worship God in the Temple.
Hopefully some of these Psalms will find their way onto your personal playlist – not just of music and text, but of application to life.
I have a pastor friend who everyday puts on Facebook a post about what song is “playing on the internal jukebox,” as he puts it. I understand what he is talking about. Though I practically never actually listen to music intentionally, having been a musician and with a degree in music, I too have a song playing subconsciously in my head all the time. Do you? Do all people? If you stop and think about it, can you identify the song?
Well, as you read along with us in the book of Psalms, may it be that it triggers in you the playing of an internal jukebox playlist of life’s tunes that give you encouragement and guidance in life.
Chris starts today with the series by preaching on Psalm 96 …
1 Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name; proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.” The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.