Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bigger Than Themselves

Tomorrow morning at DPC we'll be looking at Psalm 2, which is printed above for anyone who would like to go ahead & get started.

The book of Psalms is probably my favorite book of the Bible.  Each and every one of the 150 Psalms is so much "bigger than itself."

What do I mean by that?...

Well, on one level -- when God inspired the original Psalmist to write a Psalm, the Psalmist found that the Psalm applied perfectly to his own situation.  It helped him pray his way through whatever was going on in his life at that time.  It was a godly response to the thing in front of him.

But on the next level -- that inspired prayer / worship song then became a "window into the life of faith" for all of God's people, both individually and corporately (as a nation).  Whatever kind of "moment" they were in the midst of -- wisdom, gratitude, worship, grief, confession, repentance, faith, heartbreak, joy, anger, fear, temptation, doubt, depression, etc. -- God had now given them a way to see it, sing it, pray it, enter into it, and come out on the other side in triumph.

On a third level -- when Jesus himself lived the life of faith perfectly before his Father, he prayed the Psalms!  More on that in a future post...

On a fourth level -- you and I have been given this great gift as well, and it still fits perfectly.  Your Psalter (that big song & worship & prayer book that God put right in the very center & heart of your Bible) is your "window into the life of faith."

Do you want to learn the habits and dispositions and features and beliefs of the life of faith in all of its rawness and joy and deep reality?  Then learn to pray and sing and worship through the Psalms.

That's why God gave this gift to his people.

"Still today the Old Testament book of Psalms gives great power for faith and life.  This is simply because it preserves a conceptually rich language about God and our relationships to him.  If you bury yourself in Psalms, you emerge knowing God and understanding life.
And that is by no means a matter, as some suggest, of the 'poetic effect' of the great language.  No mere emotional lift is involved.  What makes the language great and provides the emotional lift is chiefly its picture of God and of life.  We learn from the psalms how to think and act in reference to God.  We drink in God and God's world from them.  They provide a vocabulary for living Godward, one inspired by God himself.  They show us who God is, and that expands and lifts and directs our minds and hearts."
~Dallas Willard~

I once had someone tell me they weren't terribly interested in learning to pray or sing or "live" the Psalms within the life of their church because they liked the way they prayed and sang and lived now.

I want to pray and sing and live the Psalms because -- like the Psalms themselves -- I desperately want and need to become so much bigger than I am.  I need to become more than what I am.

And God has given me (and you!) the Psalms so that we might grow -- grow into more than what we presently are.

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