You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. – Psalm 18:28-29
We begin a new series this week – Selected Psalms. So familiar to many of us and perhaps a frequent ‘Go-to’ when we turn to the Old Testament; and what a wonderful collection – numbering 150 and divided into five books. The Psalms are a most particular style of literature and portion of the Bible. Mostly poetic in composition and musical in hymnody. Used by Israel of old recounting its own history and in its own worship; and also some are Messianic. Frequently quoted and used in the New Testament to reveal Christ. Jesus is in the Old Testament and lay waiting there to be fully realised in the person and work of Jesus.
The Psalms have also been described as, “Speaking for us” (Athanasius-4th Cent AD). That is, we read and listen to the often heartfelt emotion and words of those who have ‘Wrestled’ with God and life situations and they are in the Scripture speaking to us and for us. Those, who were just like us; we are not alone as we also ‘wrestle’ with life. Making sense of life when it doesn’t always make sense; making sense of God and so trusting in him to save us, and deliver us, and sustain us. The Psalms speak richly of God and about God and place God in human experience that we may identify with.
The Bible is like a ‘Tardis’: so small we can carry it around yet so large in content. The Psalms, 150 of them! Lie as a treasury. In fact, C H Spurgeon titled his 3000-page exposition on the Psalms (21 years work) as, “The Treasury of David”. He offers this prompt to us: “More and more is the conviction forced upon my heart that every (person) must traverse the territory of the Psalms himself if he would know what a goodly land they are in….None but the Holy Spirit can give a person the key to the Treasury of David; and even He gives it rather to experience than to study. Happy he who for himself knows the secret of the Psalms.” I would think to study is important (Spurgeon did that himself) but to ‘experience’ the Psalms, that is, to see and explore how the Psalms, ‘Speak for us’, is a most dutiful exercise to embark upon. So we place the two together: to study and experience. But I don’t want to be left with a knowledge bereft of an experience that I too may identify in my own day to day.
Are you looking for a regular Bible reading system? A suggestion is the Psalms or their inclusion. Perhaps a portion at a time over a period of time.
A meditative thought for today: “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning (if my lamp is burning I can see much clearer); my God turns my darkness into light. (In darkness I tend to stumble and get lost, even becoming afraid; light sheds light into my darkness and I see much clearer). With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. (With God’s help I really can do things which otherwise I couldn’t. (Psalm 18:28,29)
PRAYER: My gracious Father, I pause again at the beginning of another new day which you have provided. A brand new day now lies before me. I am reminded how Jesus has come that I may have life, and life to the full. My age does not limit me to experience such fullness no matter my abilities or disabilities; nor my health or my wealth. You have promised me this life in Christ, so now may I venture forward and by faith trust your ways revealed. My prayer today is for you to spark the embers within me, of Christ, for my light to burn brightly that I may see. “Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Ps 119105). Lord, shed light on my life in these times that I may see within the darkness. Lord, reveal to me the help that you have promised to me so that I may overcome. Bless my family. Watch over our Church family and deliver us safely through. In Jesus name. AMEN.
SONG: The Best Book to Read is the Bible (the children can’t keep all the good songs to themselves!!!) by Colin Buchanan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVw6Z3QC958