A Parade and a Pacemaker: Getting Into the Psalms, So That the Psalms Get Into You

the-psalms

A Parade and a Pacemaker: Getting Into the Psalms, So That the Psalms Get Into You

After three weeks away from preaching, and hearing three faithful sermons on Psalms 22–24, Psalm 73, and Psalm 88, I took to the pulpit again yesterday. And instead of jumping into Book 3 of the Psalms, I sought to answer one question: How do we get into the Psalms? Or more precisely, how does a canonical approach to the Psalms apply to our daily devotions?

Comparing the Psalms to Christ-anticipating parade, I made the case that we must read the Psalms

  1. With Christ as our guide,
  2. Consistently,
  3. Prayerfully,
  4. Canonically,
  5. Consecutively, and
  6. With Christ as our goal.

You can listen to the message here or read the sermon notes. Discussion questions are below, as are a few resources. Continue reading

Reading the Psalms Canonically: Neither Undisciplined Allegory nor Christ-less Historicism

psalmsHow did we get the Psalms? And how do we get into the Psalms? Meaning, how do we apply the Psalms of ancient Israel to ourselves today? And in applying them, how do we avoid undisciplined allegory and mere historicism devoid of Christ?

These are important questions for reading the Psalms. And few have answered these questions better than Bruce Waltke.

In his essay, “A Canonical Process Approach to the Psalms” (found in Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg, 3–18) he observes four historical phases in the development of the Psalms. And rightly, I believe, he helps us to see (1) how individual authors wrote Psalms, (2) how these Psalms were gathered into various collections (perhaps stored in Solomon’s temple), (3) how these collections were arranged at a later period by a (Levitical?) editor, and (4) how this collection of Psalms serves to point forward to the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has now come and fulfilled the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44–47). Continue reading

Reading Genesis 1-11

Today I preached Genesis 1-11: “In the Beginning: Creation, Corruption, and Christ.”  I love this section of Scripture because it is pregnant with so many themes that are developed in the rest of the Bible.  For instance, you can see the whole pattern of Creation-Fall-Redemption-New Creation if you pay careful attention to the literary structures of the passage. The Gospel of Genesis by Warren Gage is an excellent resource to help outline these themes.  So is Bruce Waltke’s illuminating outline below (An Old Testament Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007], 307-08).

What Gage and Waltke show is how Genesis 1-11 teaches us to read the rest of the Bible.  The explicit metanarrative in Scripture moves from Creation to New Creation, falling with sin, rising with Christ.  Notice how in the outline below that Noah and Abraham come as Christ-figures who anticipate the greater rest (Matt 11:28) and the fulfillment of all the promises (2 Cor 1:20).

Creation: Genesis 1:1 – 6:8

A Creation out of chaotic water with divine blessing (1:1-2:3)

B Sin involving nakedness, seeing/covering nakedness; curse (2:4-3:24)

C Division of humanity into the people of God and the enemies of God (3:15-4:16)

D No descendents of sinful of murdered younger, righteous Abel (4:8)

E Descendents of sinful Cain: builds a city (4:17-24)

F Descendents of chosen son Seth: ten generations to Noah (5:1-32)

G Downfall: unlawful unions – men & women / marriage (6:1-4)

H Brief introduction to a faithful savior: Noah (6:5-8)

Re-Creation: Genesis 6:9-11:32

A’ Creation out of chaotic water with divine blessing (6:9-9:19)

B’ Sin involving nakedness, seeing/covering nakedness; curse (9:20-23)

C’ Division of humanity into the people of God and the enemies of God (9:24-27)

D’ Descendents of younger, righteous Japheth (10:1-5)

E’ Descendents of sinful son Ham: builds multiple cities (10:6-20)

F’ Descendents of chosen son Shem: ten generations to Terah (10:21-32)

G’ Downfall: unlawful union – men / government (11:1-9)

H’ Brief introduction to a faithful savior, Abram (11:27-32)

Our God is worthy of infinite praise for he is patient with sinners and perfect in his wisdom to bring salvation in his Son from eternity past to eternity future.  With Paul we sing:  “Oh, the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”  Genesis 1-11 is an astounding passage that flickers with the light of God, light that will only grow brighter as the Scriptures continue until the light of the world comes to dwell with man (John 1:1-14).

Soli Deo Gloria, dss