Read the Psalms

I love the Psalms in part because they provide us with the images, names, and terminology with which to understand God and how we are to relate to Him. They teach us how to speak to God. The Psalms give us the language of praise, confession, sorrow, complaint, thanksgiving, and ultimately trust. Matthew Henry wrote of the Psalms, “There is no one book of Scripture that is more helpful to the devotions of the saints than this, and it has been so in all ages of the church, ever since it was written.”

The Psalms are in many ways, classic Hebrew poetry. They are often classified as Wisdom Literature. They are beautifully and many times “heart-breakingly” written. I am so thankful that God inspired a variety of literary genres to make up His Word. There is historical narrative, law, proverb, didactic, prophetic, and poetic literature. Perhaps God gave us poetry to express something about His beauty, His love, His terror, and His sovereignty that could only be adequately captured in the language of poetry. Likewise, there is something about good poetry that exposes the interior of the human heart like nothing else can. This is
probably why we turn to the Psalms so often when we are hurting.

I love what the 19th century scholar Alexander MacLaren wrote: “The Psalter may be regarded as the heart’s echo to the speech of God, the manifold music of its wind-swept strings as God’s breath sweeps across them.” Luther called the Psalter a “little Bible.” He wrote, “In it is comprehended most beautifully and briefly everything that is in the entire Bible.”

Athanasius, the fourth century champion of orthodoxy referred to the Psalter as an “epitome of the whole Scriptures.” He went on to write that the Psalms, “embrace the whole life of men, the affections of his mind, and the motions of his soul.” Augustine, understanding the Christ-ward direction of all Scripture wrote, “The voice of Christ and His church is well-nigh the only voice to be heard in the Psalms.”

If you would like to spend more time in the Psalms this year here are a few good resources:

Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon
Reflections on the Psalms by C.S. Lewis
More Precious Than Gold by Sam Storms
Whiter Than Snow (Meditations on Psalm 51) by Paul Tripp