For the most part a song is an attempt to capture the emotions and feelings that accompanies a given situation or experience. I know that is tremendously broad, so please don’t reply with, “Nuh uh, songs can be ______ (enter own pontification in the blank).” I’m saying in general this is what we listen to on the radio, whether it’s a song about a break-up or a new pick-up. I think you get bonus points if your break-up song includes a line about a pick-up truck. My hunch is that Taylor Swift has accomplished this feat.
The Psalms are the closest thing we have in the Bible to a collection of songs. There are also prayers mixed in, but even those could be sung. Between David and the other psalmists, we are granted a window into a variety of personal experiences and related emotions. If I’m encouraging people to read the Bible (which I habitually do) and someone says, “I’m not really a reader,” I would say start with Psalms.
They’re personal. They’re emotional. They’re spiritual. But what do the Psalms aim to do? I think they capture the emotions of the moment, but beyond that there are two main functions I see:
- The Psalms are constantly remembering. They remember what God has done for His people across the annals of history.
- The Psalms are constantly reclaiming. They reclaim the promises of God in order to combat the negatives of present circumstances.
So when life is throwing your emotions all over the place, the Psalms remind you of what’s always true or what God has promised will be true, because, as we’ve all experienced, what we feel isn’t necessarily what’s true.
Over the Summer I will be preaching through Psalms. I won’t be doing this line by line since that would mean I never preached outside of Psalms again. But I will be highlighting some of my favorites and then providing commentary on the fruits of my labor here. So read along, journey along, and add to the discussion as you please.
Up first will be Psalm 1!
Grace to you.