Perhaps no other book can act as a such a companion in our daily lives-joy, heartache, drama, songs, prayers, poetry. Psalms takes us from the heights to the depths. We cry with the psalmists; we cry because of the psalmists. Most importantly, we feel that the psalmists-and God himself-cry with us.
The Why's of Wisdom In the Psalms, we find the answer to questions like: Who am I? Why am I here? (Psalm 8) Is my life valuable? (Psalm 139) Why do good things happen to bad people? (Psalm 73) How can I be happy? (Psalm 1)
Search the Psalms for stories and writings of real people in real difficulties and apply the lessons the psalmists learned from God.
Wonder of Worship The Psalms show us how to worship God with our courage, memory, intellect, and whole body. We see the psalmists literally summoning thanksgiving from deep in dark caves and amidst turmoil, and we realize that we, too, can do that. We see them turn from lamentation to joy by trusting in the absolute, divine sovereignty of God. We listen as they recapture their memories of a past faith nearly squelched by present circumstances.
In the very act of praising God, the psalmists illustrate worship, and we find ourselves joining in-a kind of corporate worship of two people, millenniums apart, in awe of the One God who created everything.
Magnifying the Master Psalms gives a true picture of my God, and He now seems larger. I see Him in charge of an army of angels, covering the entire earth as under the wings of a dove.
Presenting Your Plan The Psalms put into words our pain, disappointment, and depression. If the thoughts are in your heart, you need to express them so that they can be dealt with by God and dismissed for good. The Psalms do this for you.
Journaling the Journey When we record our thoughts, feelings, and prayers, we learn about God and ourselves. The Psalms are like personal journals, with all the emotions that one might expect in times of uncertainty: fear, stress, anguish, despair, and praise.
As we read the Psalms, we study accounts of lives filled with pain, joy, hope, and loss. We read about the full range of human emotions and circumstances. We can hardly complain that no one knows how we feel because it's clear from reading the Psalms that someone most certainly did!
Maybe the psalmists' example will motivate you to start your own journal. If you keep a record of your life, even though you don't notice it at the moment, you may discover God at the heart of every happening in your life, good or bad. And it will be God's provision and peace in the bad times that makes good come from it.
Praise-Filled Poetry Aside from their spiritual impact, the Psalms stand as great pieces of literature. They are Hebrew poetry, though unfamiliar in poetic structure from English verse. They are examples of masterful writing, containing the most beautiful language and a way with words that is unparalleled.
The psalmists' vivid imagery inspires us to worship God creatively. Although we may never capture the brilliance of these writers, their words compel us to stretch our word power and stretch our minds to grasp the vastness of God. When we fail to find the words ourselves, we can turn to the Psalms for words of worship.
Scriptural Songs Actually used in the hymnal in Old Testament times, the Psalms are joyous, triumphant songs of praise. Today, many of these psalms have been put to contemporary melodies, giving us the opportunity to worship with the very words of Scripture that the psalmists penned.
What a vast treasury of devotion and praise we've been given in the Psalms! They have always been a source of praise, strength, and encouragement for me-even more so in recent years. I have found great help in the Psalms through difficult as well as good days. By studying the Psalms, I trust you will find your faith strengthened and enlightened, too.
This article was excerpted from Turning Points, Dr. David Jeremiah's devotional magazine. Call Turning Point at 1-800-947-1993 for your complimentary copy of Turning Points.