Why Read the Psalms?
Here’s an article by Graeme Wilson posted in Victory Call, posted on January 22, 2016
I am getting ready for our new reading plan. I have read the introduction to Timothy Keller’s book The Songs of Jesus three times! I can’t believe how full and rich an introduction can be! I now know why we need to read the Psalms throughout the year as Bill Welte has encouraged us to do. Here are just some of the reasons why I want to encourage you to start reading along with us:
* The Psalms were the divinely inspired hymnbook for the public worship of God in ancient Israel. Psalms were not simply read, but sung; they penetrated the minds and imaginations of the people as only music can do.
*Throughout medieval times the psalms served as the most familiar part of the Bible for most Christians. The Psalter was the only part of the Bible a lay Christian was likely to own.
* Martin Luther directed that “the whole Psalter, psalm by psalm, should remain in use”.
*All theologians and leaders of the church have believed the Psalms should be used and reused in every Christian’s daily private approach to God and in public worship. We are not to simply read the psalms; we are to be immersed in them so that they profoundly shape how we relate to God. The psalms are the divinely ordained way to learn devotion to God.
*Luther referred to the psalms as a “mini Bible”.
*Every situation in life is represented in the book of psalms. Psalms anticipate and train you for every possible spiritual, social and emotional condition – they show you what the dangers are, what you should keep in mind, what your attitude should be, how to talk to God about it, and how to get from God the help you need. Psalms are a medicine chest for the heart and the best possible guide for practical living.
* Psalms are written to be prayed, recited and sung – to be DONE, not merely to be read. Psalms lead us to do what the psalmists do – to commit ourselves to God through pledges and promises, to depend on God through petition and expressions of acceptance, to seek comfort in God through lament and complaint, to find mercy from God through confession and repentance, to gain new wisdom and perspective from God through meditation, remembrance and reflection.
* The psalms, read in light of the entire Bible, bring us to Jesus. The psalms were Jesus’ songbook. The hymn that Jesus sang at the Passover meal (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26) would have been the Great Hallel, Psalms 113-118. Indeed, there is every reason to assume that Jesus would have sung all the psalms, constantly, throughout his life, so that He knew them by heart. It is the book of the Bible that He quotes more than any other.
I hope you are seeing the benefit to reading this book of Psalms multiple times. You can join me on Facebook at America’s Keswick Daily Bible Reading for more encouragement. You can also download a copy of this year’s reading plan from our website. We will read through Psalms two and a half times and Proverbs twelve times. I hope you will join me.
My personal journey through Psalms
I resonate with Kathy as I have embarked on my journey in reading the book of Psalms. I have planned to think through a Psalm each week. As I write this article, I am thinking through Psalm 46. Meditating on psalms has often led me to pray, give thanks, trust, praise, and reflect on my relationship with God and His people.
I have discovered that the psalmists are very honest with their feelings. They cry out for help in many different situations, as individuals and as God’s people collectively. I can identify with them; I cry and rejoice with the psalmists as God’s people. They sometimes rebuke, complain to and question God; yet, God in His lovingkindness continues to relate with them patiently.
Tyndale, The Bible Speaks Today and New Bible Commentaries have been good companions as I think through Psalms. Each of them has helped me see truth and relevance that I did not see as I thought through them myself.
I also listen to and reflect on the psalms through songs on Spotify, like the album EveryPsalm by the band Poor Bishop Hooper, which is also available on YouTube.
I would like to encourage you to start waiting upon the Lord through Psalms.
- Zebedee Lee