Behind the Psalms

This Sunday we’re starting a new 12-week series in the Book of Psalms, which will take us through the summer. The plan is to cover the first twelve psalms, beginning with Psalm 1, and eventually, over time, God willing, we’ll preach through all 150.

In preparation for the series, I want to mention a couple foundational convictions that we’re bringing to this Book. These have been standing out to me as I study Psalm 1, and they’re pertinent to how we understand its message.

For example, the main theme of Psalm 1, which we’ll see Sunday, is that this blessed man (who is ultimately the Messiah), is devoted to the the instruction of the Lord. The blessed man, the happy person, is the one who is saturated by the word of God. And that requires that we think a certain way about the word of God. If the Bible is so important to our daily lives, what is the Bible about?

There is a key conviction here. It’s behind our series on the Psalms. It’s that …

#1. The Bible is mainly about God, for us.

God is the author of Scripture, and he’s the main character. Jesus is the hero. That’s the Bible’s main message, and it’s a message for us. This book is a gift from God, about God, for his people. Paul says in Romans 15 that the Bible has been written for our instruction, and its purpose is to encourage us and to help us endure in hope (see Romans 15:4).

    Christian, the Bible is for your faith! It’s for your hope. It’s how you make it in the Christian life — and that’s because the Bible is mainly about God, not you. The Bible is about God for you.

And therefore ...

#2. The whole Bible is worthy of our attention.

One of the things that we’ve been talking about now for several months is the need and desire to be robustly biblical. We don’t want to just give lip-service to the authority of Scripture, but we want to be shaped by Scripture by our inhabiting the world of Scripture to see all reality through the lens of Scripture.  

This is a different way of approaching the Bible than as just a handy reference tool, or as a mere collection of wisdom-sayings that we just reference for a little pick-me-up when it’s convenient. That approach to the Bible is what we can call therapeutic reductionism (or we could call it the  “coffee mug hermeneutic”). It’s when we reduce the Bible down to only the parts that sound good on a coffee mug.

And just to be clear, I’m all about Bible verses on coffee mugs. Hang Bible verses on your walls. Write Bible verses all over your house. The front door of our house is outlined with bricks, and one of our kids recently took a Sharpie and wrote some Bible phrases on the bricks. It’s right by the door knob on our front door. You couldn’t miss it, and yes, it’s a little tacky, and there’s some misspellings, but I’m not too upset about it because, Hey, it’s the Bible and it’s true and it’s meant to be seen and believed. So verses are good. Get Bible verses everywhere, but only as long as we know the Bible is much richer and fuller than a few verses here and there.

The whole of Scripture is good, and the whole thing is worthy of our attention, not just the parts that are immediately helpful — not just the parts that we understand at the surface-level. We want to give ourselves to the whole counsel of God. We want to know the whole story of Scripture in all its contours and depth and wonder. And because that is the Bible — that is the Bible God has given us! — and the Bible is worthy of our attention. It is hard to overstate the miracle that this book is. That we can hear the voice of God in our language. This is a holy, ancient book — and we have it right here … in our hands! It is worthy of our delight and our meditation. It is worthy of our attention.

And we’re bringing these convictions about the Bible to this sermon series on the Psalms (like with every series). We’re asking the Father to meet us in power this summer, in this season of Pentecost. May the Spirit open our eyes to the glory of Jesus in the Psalms. I’m eager to behold him this summer.