Each summer at our church, we break off whatever other series or book I am preaching through and camp out in ten of the Psalms. We started this in 2019, going through Psalms 1-10 and continuing the pattern. I joked with our congregation that at this rate, we will finish Psalm 150 in August of 2033–at this point, a scant 11 years from now.
Why do we spend time in the Psalms like this? And why should this be something your church should do.
First, it is the second largest book in the Scriptures. Lest I lose you upfront with this statistic, I can almost hear your response: “Um, the Psalms have 150 chapters. That’s more chapters than any other book.” Yet, if you go by word count, the Psalms contain just over 30,000 words, second only to the book of Jeremiah at just over 33,000 words. Even with this, second place is no slouch. Size does not indicate importance (otherwise, books like Jude would diminish in value–and who could say that with a straight face?).
Second, they cover a wide range of Christian issues and emotions. From praise to thanksgivings to laments to imprecatory Psalms, God gives us a book that gives a voice on the mountain, on the plateaus, and in the valley. The excitement of seeing God move and work to the disappointment of God’s apparent absence and allowance of events may startle the new reader who did not expect such a stark reaction from the Bible writers.
Third, these were originally intended to be sung. The Christian faith is a singing faith. By singing, we put music to our doctrine and devotion. Minister and musicologist Erik Routley wrote a book on church music called “Duty and Delight.” Twice in the New Testament, Paul invoked the worship through “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:21; Colossians 3:16), showing that these were not merely texts to read but also texts to sing. Having said that…
Lastly, these texts show us the Messiah. The New Testament quotes the Psalms prolifically, usually in connection with their prophecies about the coming Messiah. Psalm 2, 16, 110 and numerous others show the nature and work of the coming King Jesus. As we continue in these Psalms over the summers, we will do all we can to show you the connection.
What are some ways the Psalms have blessed and encouraged you?