Why Study The Psalms?
Last spring I was asked how I decide what to preach on next. It’s a dynamic process. The first thing I do is pray. At that time I had been praying for “what we should listen to next” for a while. I also try to heed the admonition for pastors to preach the whole counsel of God. Experienced preachers like Tim Keller suggest a rotation through both testaments and different genres of Scripture to accomplish this goal. I generally attempt to do this, though not slavishly so. I also seek to assess our spiritual climate as a congregation (harder than it sounds, and it sounds hard!) and appreciate the diversity of personalities, life experiences found at NPC. Factoring in the time of year is important (we travel less during the fall and more during the summer, etc.), as a series or an interrelated series of independent sermons may suit the time of year better. This says nothing of the differences in biblical literacy and spiritual growth among us, which makes the selection daunting. So I pray more.
Last summer I concluded that studying through Psalms is important for NPC and we studied the first 14 Psalms together. This summer we will return to Psalms. So what makes Psalms for us an important book to study?
The Psalms Support Discipleship
The Psalms support growth in Christlikeness differently than other genres in Scripture. Sermons on the psalms are useful to all and can uniquely serve those in our church whose personalities resonate with poetry and image, and connect with the deep emotion of this part of God’s Word.
The Psalms teach us to pray while passing through seasons of joy, fear, grief, hope, mourning, strength and weakness in the variety of life circumstances we face.
The Psalms enrich our theology by drawing our attention to a wide variety of God’s attributes.
The Psalms teach believers more about our Savior, who himself prayed and sang the psalms.
The Psalms point us to Christ by showing us our need for a Savior, the kind of hope our Savior gives, and in some cases specifically reveal how the Savior will work.
The Psalms Support Evangelism
The life circumstances addressed in the Psalms are common to all persons.
The call to trust, faith and hope in God is overtly evangelistic.
The Christ-centered nature of the Psalms help seekers and skeptics see who Christ is and what he has done.
We found last year that moving through the Psalms methodically over a summer creates a series of independent sermons that we can easily re-engage with. I encourage you to check out the Sermons page on our website to listen to sermons you miss due to serving in the nursery, travel and other summer plans.