• Daniel Baker
Posted in Sermons
Beginning Sunday, we’ll, Lord willing, spend eight weeks looking at the book of Psalms (and one looking at Acts 2). The title of the series is “A Heart for God.” The reason for the title is that’s what we hope you experience, a greater heart for God.
The Psalms meets us wherever we are—even in the most desperate of all places—and draw our heart to God as the Good Shepherd, the Almighty Creator, the One Faithful to his promises, the one sure and steady anchor in a world collapsing all around us.
It is a vast book, 150 individual works written over a period of a thousand years, beginning with the Prayer of Moses (Psalm 90) and ending with God’s people remembering their time in Babylon after the exile (Psalm 137). That diversity is also found in the variety of individual experiences captured in these 150 works. A Psalm might be written by a man hiding in a cave or written for the gathered people of God on a feast day.
An Anatomy of All the Parts of the Soul
John Calvin said of the book of the Psalms,
I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, "An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;" for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the Holy Spirit has here drawn to the life all the griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated.
John Calvin, Introduction to the Psalms
Yes! How true it is that the Psalms provide words to every heart in every situation. Whether it's the peak of joy or the cavernous depths of despair, the Psalms put words to prayers you sometimes can't even voice. We'll see that in set of Psalms we've picked for this series.
The plan for the series is to hit these eight Psalms:
- Apr 11 - Psalm 1
- Apr 18 - Psalm 133
- Apr 25 - Psalm 42
- May 2 - Psalm 23
- May 9 - Psalm 100
- May 16 - Psalm 119
- May 23 – Acts 2 – Pentecost Sunday
- May 30 - Psalm 122
- Jun 6 - Psalm 150 (Lord willing, the Sunday we return to a single service)
These eight give us a broad look at key themes in the Psalms but all will revolve around that idea of a Heart for God.
3 to Memorize
As we move through these Psalms, three stand out as superb ones to memorize—superb because they’re short, excellent to call to mind in a whole variety of situations, and diverse. These are Psalms 1, 23, and 100. Make this at least one goal for you and your family over the next couple months.
Here they are to get a taste of them:
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 23: A Psalm of David.
1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 100: A Psalm for giving thanks.
1 Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
Did You See It?
Did you notice that comment above, that June 6 is the date the elders have targeted as our reunion Sunday? Now that we’re in Group 5 in NC and the vaccine is broadly available, we feel like it’s time to move toward regathering in a single service. Two of the sermons above are intended to prepare us to regather, Ps 133 on the preciousness (and challenge) of unity and Ps 122 where the Psalmist rejoices about going to the house of the Lord with the people of God. Psalm 150 on June 6 is placed there so we can "Praise the Lord!" we’re finally able to be back together.
May God use this series to stir all of our hearts to love him more, worship him more, and know him better.
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps 100:5)