Sermon:  The Inspired Song Book


Summary:  One of the most enduring parts of scripture in the hearts of those who have faced difficulties have been the Psalms.  These are not just poems or ancient songs, but are part of scripture.  They benefit us as part of God's word that is written not to us, but to God, and therefore gives us a model on how to relate to God and for meditation and reflection on spiritual things.  Therefore, we ought to make reading the Psalms part of our spiritual discipline.


Text:  Various


Scripture Reading:  Ps 139:23-24



1.  In recent decades, what has been one of the most powerful cultural


            a.  Music.  Often think of various generations and their music

            b.  Music gave voice to the feelings, aspirations, fears, joys, and outlook of

                 various generations

            c.  Music was shaped by and has shaped various generations

2.  What does that have to do with the Bible?

            a.  Part of our scriptures were originally music

            b.  Have you ever heard a sermon series on the Psalms?

            c.  Probably not a whole lot

3.  Lot of people not quite sure what to do with Psalms

            a.  Many don't seem to lend themselves to well for preaching sermons

                        - They are not like epistles or narratives

                        - Psalms are often written not to us, but to God

            b.  Many are not sure how to teach through the various genres of Psalms

                        - Praise, petition, lament, thanksgiving, royal, wisdom

                        - Psalms don't often have a direct command or instruction

            c.  In short, there are those that simply don't understand the Psalms

4.  This morning is an introduction.  Why preach a series on the Psalms?


I.  Because the Psalms are scripture

            A.  This is not just a songbook, but a part of God's word

            B.  Jews and Christians had a very high regard for the Psalms as scripture

                        1.  Jews divided up the Hebrew scriptures into three sections

                                    a.  Law/Torah:  Gen-Dt

                                    b.  Prophets/Nevi'im:  Prophetic Books like Isaiah

                                    c.  Psalms/Tehilim (or later Kethuvim-Writings)

                                                - Rest of Hebrew Bible headed by the Psalms

                                                - Contained poetry, wisdom literature, Psalms

                        2.  There were other writings that were read regularly

                                    a.  Wisdom of Solomon, Ben Sira/Sirach, Macabees

                                    b.  But unlike the Psalms, these were not scripture

                        3.  Jesus and others cite Psalms as scripture/an authority

                                    a.  (Jn 10:32-35) Jesus defends his sonship, quotes Ps 82:6

                                                - Notice he quotes it as an authority as God's word

                                                - Calls it scripture

                                    b.  (Jn 13:17-18) Quotes Ps 41:9 speaking of Judas' betrayal

                                    c.  (Jn 19:28-29) Sour wine fulfillment of Ps 69:21

                                    d.  (Jn 19:36) Not a bone shall be broken from Ps 34:19-20

                                    e.  (Heb 2:12) - Cites Ps 22:22, Jesus calls us brethren

                                    f.  (Heb 3:7-8) - Quotes Ps 85:7

                                    g.  And there are many, many more examples

                        4.  Two most quoted books in New Testament, Isaiah and Psalms

                                    a.  Psalms are organized into five books.

                                                - Torah has give books

                                                - Sometimes they called Psalms the second Torah

                                    b.  They had a very high regard for Psalms as God's word

            C.  ILL:  With that in mind, think about Psalms in devotion and worship life

                        1.  In Jewish worship

                                    a.  There were festivals, such as Passover and Tabernacles

                                    b.  Also had the regular Sabbath observance weekly

                                    c.  Singing and reciting the Psalms a regular part of it all

                        2.  Early Christian worship

                                    a.  Continued the reading and singing of Psalms

                                    b.  Became very familiar with them

                                    c.  When a New Testament author quoted from Psalms,

                                         people would have recognized it immediately

                        3.  Would be a powerful way to teach and remember

                                    a.  Current examples from Psalms

                                                - p.705-This Is the Day, Ps 118:24

                                                - p.714 - I Will Call Upon the Lord, Ps 18:3

                                                - Ps 95 - Come let us sing with Joy

                                    b.  Other parts of scripture put to music

                                                - p.724-The Steadfast Love, Lam 3:22-24

                                                - p.731-I Want to Know Christ, Phil 3:10

                                                - p.708-I've Been Crucified with Christ, Gal 2:20

                                                - p.17-Hallelujah Praise Jehovah, Ps 148

                                                - p.704-The Greatest Commands, 1 Jn 4:8;

                                                   1 Cor 13:4; Mt 22:37

                                    c.  Other songs that aid in memory

                                                - Fruit of the Spirit Song

                                                - Books of the Bible Song

                                                - The Apostles Song

            D.  How powerful it is for scripture to be put to music and poetry

                        1.  God knew what he was doing with the Psalms

                        2.  They are scripture, poetry, and music.  Powerful combination


II.  It helps form our heart language

            A.  Shows us how to related to God

            B.  ILL:  This is similar to children learning how to express self and relate

                        1.  Children are not born knowing how to relate and express self

                        2.  How do people learn?  They have to be taught

                        3.  I remember our kids when they were little

                                    a.  Limited vocabulary, things were either good or bad

                                    b.  Modeled for them and taught more precise vocabulary

                                                - Delighted, satisfied, grateful, annoyed, confused,

                                                   anxious, ambivalent, etc.

                                                - Also taught to use colors, metaphors, phrases

                                                - Gained language and vocabulary to relate to others

            C.  Psalms do a similar thing

                        1.  Ps 8:1-2 - Expresses praise

                        2.  Ps 9:1-2 - Expresses thanksgiving

                        3.  Ps 22 - Expresses despair, then request for help, then praise

                        4.  Ps 42:1-4 - Desperate longing for God, like a deer panting

                        5.  Ps 38:1-3, 18, 21-22 - Pours out heart in confession & appeals

                             to God for help

                        6.  Ps 139:19-24 - Express bitter hatred, and appeal to God to

                             examine the heart

            D.  Psalms model how to relate to God

                        1.  No wonder many have found the Psalms to be so valuable

                                    a.  Many recommend regular devotional reading of it

                                    b.  New Testaments often printed with the Psalms

                        2.  Deitrich Bonhoffer was a man nourished by the Psalms

                                    a.  A Christian minister executed by the Nazis

                                    b.  He read Psalms two times a day

                                    c.  He wrote:  "There is not a single detail of the piety and impiety of the Christian church that is not found in the Psalms, and to study them is to make a strange journey of ups and downs, falling and rising, despair and exaltation, the experience of those who pray their way through the Psalms, one after the other."

                        3.  Psalms help to form the language of the heart, can relate to God


III.  They model meditation and reflection

            A.  Meditation and reflection are Christian disciplines

                           This means they are a benefit when one makes a regular

                              practice of them

            B.  The Psalms demonstrate what godly meditation is

                        1.  It is not transcendental meditation

                                    a.  Transcendental meditation does not come from the Bible

                                    b.  Transcendental meditation is rooted in a worldview that

                                         denies that God is a personal being, but a force

                                    c.  Purpose of transcendental mediation is to empty yourself,

                                         not even to have thoughts, you want to cease to exist as

                                         an individual

                                    d.  Typical image, sit in lotus position humming

                        2.  To meditate means to think on, to contemplate, to muse, reflect

                        3.  The words translated "mediate" appear most often in the

                              Psalms, 17 out of 23 occurrences

                                    a.  Ps 145:1-5 - I will meditate on God's works

                                    b.  Ps 119:15, 27, 48, 78, 97, 99, 148 - Mediate on God's

                                         word, precepts, statutes, law, wonders

                                    c.  Ps 77:11-15 - I will meditate and muse

                                    d.  Ps 63:1-8 - My soul thirsts for God in a dry & weary land

                                                - Similar to Ps 42, deer panting for water

            C.  ILL:  Meditation is not emptying, but filling yourself with God

                        1.  Have you ever been thirsty?  Really thirsty?

                        2.  Remember hiking in Korea all day, forgot to bring water

                                    a.  Irony, surrounded by water, but couldn't drink it

                                    b.  It was rice patty water, not the cleanest water

                        3.  We got so drained of energy, so tired, so thirsty

                        4.  We got back and drank water from grandma's well

                                    a.  It was always trickling, spring fed

                                    b.  It was cold, refreshing, invigorating

                                    c.  We instantly felt our strength and vitality return

            D.  Meditation and reflection on God and his word is water for the soul

                        1.  Many in the world turn to rice patty water

                        2.  But only the pure, living water from God will strengthen soul

                        3.  The way you drink deeply is meditation and reflection on it



1.  Do you remember those food pyramids in health class?

            a.  To be healthy, you need right proportion of various kinds of food

            b.  If all you ate was meat and no grains or vegetables, not be healthy

2.  It is the same in our spiritual life

            a.  When it comes to Bible reading, there is sort of a food pyramid

            b.  To be healthy, need to read, reflect, meditate on God's word

            c.  But if you only read epistles, or the Gospels, is that balanced?

            d.  All scripture is inspired of God, this includes the Psalms

                        - The Psalms are important part of spiritual food pyramid

                        - Incorporate regular reading of it into your disciplines

3.  But reading the word as an outsider will not be of much benefit

            a.  Like reading about history of another country, or studying foreign law

            b.  Might be of interest, but little benefit for you, because you are outsider

            c.  Word must be read as one of God's people, with submission

            d.  Only thing that keeps you from God is your sin (inv)

4.  If you have obeyed the Gospel, nourish your soul on the Psalms