I am transitioning into a study of the Psalms which might prove very tedious and overwhelming. Until now, most of my bible studies have focused on more of the intellectual: understanding context, analyzing words and their use, historical background, etc. It’s not to say that in my study of the Psalms I will stray from this, but it stands to reason that the Psalms are less of a historical reference as they are an expression of man’s interaction with God. There is sadness, praise, lament, calls to battle, remembrance, reverence, and more. While the Psalms offer us some details of history and even some prophecy, the main focus of the Psalms is man experiencing God in a real way. Some of these Psalms have been converted into modern day songs!
The Psalms are important to study in our spiritual growth because they produce a pattern of close relationships with God. A good number of them were written by King David, whom the Scriptures indicate as a “man after God’s own heart.” Despite his own sins which are also recorded in the Scriptures, we can see David’s closeness with the Creator and how he was blessed by it. Don’t you also want to be a man or woman after God’s own heart? I know I do and it’s time to get serious about it.
As we look at the Psalms, let’s keep in mind that these aren’t laws or commandments handed down from God, rather a response of man in regards to his interaction with God. I have in the past read a few Psalms that would cause one to pause and question if “this was right” or not. Hopefully we will learn that regardless of the severity of our human condition, God still loves us and we always have an opportunity to be connected with Him and experience His presence in our lives.
The truth is, and the reason why I’m deciding to work through the Psalms is because it is important to know who God is. We might recognize parts of His character but not all of them. If we want to know God, then we have to work to actually know Him. Part of this knowing God is understanding who He is, not just what He can offer us or why we should care. When I contemplate the grandness and greatness of who our Heavenly Father is, I am overwhelmed. I imagine that in studying the Psalms we will all be overwhelmed by all that He is. The writers tried to put it into words.
Do you want to know who God is? Do you want to understand why He is God?