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Summary: An introduction to the book of Psalms

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What’s Your Songbook?

Psalm 1 & Overview

One of the most prevalent parts of our society today is music. Think about it: we listen to it in the car, it plays in the mall, even elevators have it playing gently in the background. It makes a movie romantic, funny, or scary -- all depending on the type of music played.

So, what radio station did the Jews listen to? None! But music was a very central part of their lives. In our reading through the Bible, we have come to their songbook: the Psalms. The Psalms were sung by the Jews throughout the day.

There are a few key ideas for us to consider as we think about the Psalms. Psalms have a few common characteristics. Psalms are-

Poetry - an emphasis on parallelism of thoughts

Songs - to be sung over and over

Wisdom Literature - teaching sound truth in concise statements

The Psalms are not designed basically to teach doctrine, but it is impossible to experience the Psalms and not learn correct doctrine.

The Psalms are not just an account of what David [or another psalmist] was feeling, but rather the psalmist bares his soul to us, draws us into his world, and calls us to share his feelings and emotions as he uses example after example to show us his point.

*Smithsonian - "To Fly" - you actually see what the pilot sees

*Hersheypark - Cinemascope - you get dizzy, scared, nauseous

The Jews were a people given to expression. A Jew always had his own opinion. Ask ten Jews a question and you’ll get 25 answers.

*Day of Pentecost -a miracle- all in one accord in one place

Jews spent much time in meditation and personal reflection.

*Europe, Mexico - siestas at noon - we have lost much by our fast-paced lifestyles

Psalms were used by the Jews to express their innermost questions, problems, feelings, and praise. Psalms were used in liturgy, the worship ceremonies, but moreover, they were an integral part of daily life. The Psalter was the songbook and also the prayer book [cf. Anglicans] of the Jews.

Psalms were constantly on the lips of Jews.

*Mother - always singing around the house -

forgot the words, and made them up - the rejoicing spirit is what was important

*Dave Roever - music isn’t what you hear, it’s what you feel; the feeling is the important thing.

The Psalmist saw no difference between the secular and the sacred. His faith was his life. His beliefs were totally integrated into his day-to-day affairs. [Why do we seek to change this in America?]

Two main type of Psalms: lament (sorrow) and praise (joy)

The Psalms lead us in worship as we encounter every area of emotion in our life.

*funerals - why Psalm 23? The Psalms give us hope, and show us that in the midst of grief we can have love, comfort, and peace.

Psalms are designed to meet every need of our heart. They speak about many feelings:

life, death, persecution, affliction, sickness, doubt, worry, rejection, isolation, grief, adversity, enemies, friendship, love, questions of life, protection, daily provision, acceptance, self-worth, daily lifestyles, wise choices, grace, mercy, hope, the nature and character of God, and the hope of eternal salvation.


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