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A Heart for God - A Series from the Book of Psalms

• Daniel Baker

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"You may rightly call the Psalter a Bible in miniature, in which all things which are set forth more at length in the rest of the Scriptures are collected into a beautiful manual of wonderful and attractive brevity."
Martin Luther, Works, 3:356

“The Psalms are an epitome of the Bible, adapted to the purposes of devotion.”
George Horne, Commentary on the Psalms, iii

“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," Commentary on the Book of Psalms, I:27).

"A Bible in miniature," "an epitome of the Bible," "An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul": That's why we're excited about our spring sermon series on the book of Psalms. These 150 chapters put words to our prayers, whatever we're feeling. They teach. They even preach at us! They point to Christ in some of the most vivid language of the Old Testament. They explain. They give us words to sing—whether in a private lament or in a public explosion of praise. This is why Christians (and Jews before Christ) for two thousand years have been feasting on the Psalms as a regular part of their private and public worship.

For our series this spring, "A Heart for God," we won't hit all the Psalter. Instead, we'll look at seven important Psalms that reflect some of the diversity of this unique book of the Bible: Psalms 2, 16, 22, 8, 67, 90, and 145.

By the way, you can see all the upcoming sermons on our website (where you'll find the texts, topics, dates, and preachers).

Here is a brief look at each of the Psalms we'll be exploring over the next weeks:

Psalm 2 is one of the great Messianic psalms, which overhears the Father saying, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you" (2:7), and invites us to "kiss the Son, lest he be angry" (2:12).

Psalm 16 also prophesies of "your holy one" the Father won't let "see corruption" (16:10), but it also invites us to see our situations through eyes of faith: "The lines have fallen for me in please places; indeed, I have a pleasant inheritance" (16:6).

Psalm 22 begins with the cry Jesus speaks on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (22:1). But it travels through many other terrains as well: "You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel" (22:3); "All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you" (22:27).

Psalm 8, preached by Philip Sasser, opens and closes with the explosive, "O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (8:1, 9). In the middle we're given careful theology on what people are and were made to be.

Psalm 67 puts words to those who feel the burden of the Great Commission: "Let the nations be glad and sing for you!....Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!" (67:4, 5). Some speak of it as "the missionary's psalm."

Psalm 90, preached by pastor emeritus Phil Sasser, is the rich "Prayer of Moses, the man of God." It is deep theology: "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God" (90:2). But it's also penetrating wisdom: "Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom" (90:12).

Psalm 145 is fittingly titled, "A song of praise," in our Bibles: "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable....The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (145:3, 8).

We pray this series ministers to your soul in a whole variety of ways.

Daniel

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