Psalms (Letter 19, Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters)
Ask Your Hardest Questions and Sing Your Loudest Praise
But even the best conversations seem only to matter for the moment, then whatever it is I’m scared of, comes back to bite me again. I really do believe that you’re good and that a good plan is somehow unfolding through all the mess of my life.
God says: You assume I relieve struggle and replace it with rest. But I use struggle to uncover a rest beneath the struggle that no anguish can destroy. The struggle with fear and pain will continue. Only in the storm will you know there is an anchor.
I have not wanted an anchor in the storm. I’ve wanted a quick trip to shore.
God says: Face the hard questions that life requires you to ask. Gather with other travelers on the narrow road, pilgrims to acknowledge their confusion and feel their fears. Then, together, live those questions in my presence. The stakes are high. Either you will find yourself in finding Me as I reveal myself, or you will lose yourself in creating Me to fit your foolish expectations. Make the right choice. I want you to sing a new song.
God, just yesterday a pastor asked me my reaction to what the modern church calls worship. I told him that more often than not, I can’t stand it. Where is the struggle? Where is the confusion? Where is the honest admission of emptiness? When I see a pretty girl smiling on cue and singing happily into a microphone, thinking she’s leading me into worship, I want to unplug her microphone and slap her face. Am I wrong?
God says: The more clearly you see me, the more gladly you will sing a new song that can never be sung by those who live on the broad road of seeking me for blessings. Those who die to every false hope (the message of Job), who come alive to me as they are and as I am, not as they think I should be (the message of Psalms), are ready to live My way in this world.
Psalms: The Worship of an Honest Heart – From Ray Stedman<-(click here for entire Bible summary)
There are 150 psalms in this book, making it the longest book in the Bible. It divides very
easily and obviously into five different books. It has often been pointed out that the book of Psalms is the book of human emotions.
The five books of psalms parallel the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Bible.
1. To begin with, the first book of psalms – Psalms 1 through 41 – is equivalent to the book of Genesis and has essentially the same message. It is the cry of human need.
2. The second book of psalms, Psalm 42 through Psalm 72, corresponds to the book of Exodus in the Pentateuch. Here is the experience of a new relationship.
3. The third book of psalms, Psalm 73 through Psalm 89, corresponds to the book of Leviticus. Leviticus is the book of the tabernacle of worship, the discovery of what God is like when man comes before him and what he himself is like in the presence of God.
4. Psalms 90 through 106 make up the fourth book, paralleling the book of Numbers – the wilderness book – which sets forth the experience of human failure.
5. The fifth book, Psalm 107 through Psalm 150, corresponds to the book of Deuteronomy, the experience of the new resource in God.
All the psalms are designed to teach us to do one thing – to worship. These psalms reflect every human emotion, but they do so in a distinct and important way: they are emotions seen in relationship to God. Every psalm is written in the presence of God. This book, therefore, teaches us how to be honest before God.
That is what worship is – a heart’s honesty. As Jesus said to the woman at the well in Samaria, “The true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” (John 4:23). God is looking for that kind of worshiper. And as you worship in Spirit and truth, you will discover a new source of strength. If you can be honest before God, even about those troublesome problems of wrong moods and attitudes, you will find grace answering your needs.
Psalms – David Jeremiah (Understanding the 66 Books of the Bible)
Key thought: The book of Psalms — Israel’s hymnbook — teaches us to continually praise God for His greatness, goodness, and glory.
Key Verse: Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Psalm 100:1-2
Key Action: Worship: Sing! Praise!