Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

A Word in Favor of Psalms

bible-text

We probably do not consider it much but we need good art.  We need poetry and song.  We need beautiful things that move us and motivate us.  We need lyrics that speak to our hearts.  God understands this and so he gives us exactly what we need.  We find poetry and song scattered throughout the Bible, but most famously we find them in the book of Psalms.

Scripture is full of all kinds of things that we need.  It is important that we do not neglect certain parts of it.  The psalms are sometimes neglected because they are so different from other things we read in the Bible.  We love stories.  We love to hear about David battling Goliath and Jesus walking on water.  We know what to do with commands.  We memorize the ten commandments.  We teach them to our children.  We understand Paul’s moral instructions and we seek to apply them to our lives, but what about poetry.  Most of us have a hard time grasping poetry written in English, how are we supposed to understand Hebrew poetry that is 3,000 years old?  It can be a little challenging, but it is something we need.

There is something beautiful about this ancient art.  It speaks to us.  It reveals things about ourselves and about God.  It gives us words to use when we do not have any.  Have you ever wondered why there are so many lament psalms?  It is because lament and mourning is something we do.  It is human to grieve and the Bible helps us do this by giving us the right words.  These are words God wants us to have.  These are words of healing and hope.  These are the words God wants us to turn to and use when our life falls apart.

Another thing the psalms do is bring beauty to what we often consider ordinary. Consider the first two verses of Psalm 19.

The heavens declare the glory of God,
    and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours out speech,
    and night to night reveals knowledge.

The psalmist could have simply said you can find God in creation and stopped there, but instead he uses poetry.

The heavens declare God’s glory.

The sky above proclaims the work of the Lord.

The day speak to us.

The night is full of knowledge.

The day speaks and the night is knowledgeable?  Really?  Yes, they do but we are often too busy to notice.  When we slow down and look around us we see the glory of God and his handiwork.  We see God in a beautiful sunset.  We hear him in the stillness of a fresh spring day.  We see his work in the intricacies of the design within creation.  The evidence for God is everywhere if we will simply open our eyes and look around.

We find the beauty of God in creation and we find the beauty of God in poems and songs.  Do not neglect the reading of the psalms.  Do not miss out on these beautiful words God has given us.  Do not speed through them.  Poetry was not meant to be read that way.  Read them slowly.  Meditate on what God has to say.  Soak up the beauty of these words and place them in your heart because someday you might need them.

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