I did it.
All 150 Psalms in one day.
That was much harder than Jeremiah, but I am so glad I didn’t start with this book. I think it would have discouraged me on the first day trying to comprehend everything that the psalmists put forth. As it is I feel like I barely scraped the surface and I have many sections marked for further study (as usual).
I tried to be smart and make this a little easier to manage. When I sat down to read set a timer for 30 minutes and then took a shorter break until I finished a section. Psalms is divided into 5 books, so I made sure to take a significant break after each one.
One major benefit of reading all of them in one day was being able to tell who wrote it. Every author has a very distinct voice. For example, David in his psalms often cried out for rescue- from other people or from his own sins. And frequently when he asked for God’s help it was so that when it came David could proclaim it to the people. His request for salvation was rooted in his desire to return that praise back to God! Psalm 11: 14 says:
“Save me so I can praise you publicly at Jerusalem’s gates, so I can rejoice that you have rescued me.”
The other thing I began to notice was the difference between David’s psalms and the psalms of the other writers. David’s psalms are deeply intimate and vulnerable- at points it almost feels like I could be reading a private letter to God. The way David writes I imagine someone who was compelled to put these things down- that the desire to praise was so deeply rooted in him he had to write and share what God had done for him!
The psalms of Asaph, the psalms of the descendants of Korah and even Solomon’s psalms all had a much more corporate feel. They seem as though the writers sat down with the intent of producing something that the people could use to worship together. Often they reference Israel’s history and what God did saving them from Egypt or specific judges he raised up to rescue them. For example Psalm 107:43 says:
“Those who are wise will take all this to heart; they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.”
It is a clear reminder for the people to look into their past and see God working for them. A good reminder as we walk out our faith as well. Tell me, what has the Lord done for you in your past?
Tune in tomorrow- I’ll be in the book of Haggai for anyone following along!