Dear Church Family,
Our “Summer in the Psalms” Sermon Series, together with the accompanying Bible Reading Plan and Daily Devotionals, begins Sunday, June 3. I would like to use this opportunity to reflect on two aspects of our coming journey together in the Psalms.
First, I write and preach as someone who finds the Psalms both inspiring and interesting, as well as frustratingly challenging and difficult to understand in our modern context. The thoughts I share with you are those which I find myself attracted to in my reading of the Psalms; sometimes they have brought me enjoyment, sometimes they have brought me to a not very enjoyable but no less important place. Undergirding my thinking on these things is always a prayer to our Lord that He will guide me by the Holy Spirit to those insights that will be helpful for Christian living; yours, as well as mine.
Second, I want to say a few words about what scholars call “parallelism” in the Bible which is the practice of saying the same thing again using different words. Parallelism is prevalent throughout the Psalms. Take as an example the first two verses of Psalm 24: 1“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (is parallel to saying) the world and all its people belong to him.” 2“For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas (is parallel to saying) and built it on the ocean depths.” It helps tremendously in our understanding of the psalms when this pattern is recognized.
Parallelism can be further appreciated in our reading of the Bible when we realize how often Jesus himself used it, which should be no surprise to us since He was steeped in the poetic tradition of the Jews. For example: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). The advice is given in the first phrase, and then twice repeated with different images.
May our Lord bless each one of us as we read, study, and meditate on the Psalms this summer, putting them into practice in our spiritual lives.
Yours in Christ,