Last year while on vacation together, Brad’s grandma and I were talking about the importance of reading the Bible for yourself instead of just relying on Bible studies and Christian books. As we talked about where we were currently reading, she suddenly burst out, “I’ve been reading the Bible for 80 years and sometimes I just can’t get on!”
Her honesty is one of the many reasons I love her.
I’ve felt the same way so many times. I read the Word, I read the words, but I’m not getting it. Sometimes all I need is a little context (the Old Testament Survey and Land Between Geography life groups have helped me so much in that regard). Sometimes I need an outline so I can recognize what’s happening more clearly. And sometimes I just need a 21st-century analogy to make it snap into clarity.
Take the Psalms. You can read them as songs, as poetry, as journal entries. But lately, I’ve been thinking of them as David’s blog posts. They’re short, honest, and personal. In Psalm 39 when David says, “I said, ‘I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as a with a muzzle, while the wicked are always in my presence,'” that’s like a blogger today writing, “I made a resolution of 30 things to do before I turn 30…”
Or David’s Psalms about battles like Psalm 44: “Thou art my King, O God; Command victories for Jacob. Through Thee we will push back our adversaries; through Thy name we will trample down those who rise up against us.” That’s like a peek into the heart of someone who is literally fighting battles and at war. Think of the war reporters who write short blog posts about conflicts in Afghanistan. David is doing that for us here.
We’re glimpsing into the mind and heart of a real person as he pours out his thoughts with raw honesty. And then, my favorite, we also see him repeating truth to himself over and over again.
“Thou, O Lord, wilt not withhold Thy compassion from me; Thy lovingkindness and Thy truth will continually preserve me.” (Psalm 40:11)
“But Thou, O Lord, art a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.” (Psalm 3:3)
“Let all who take refuge in Thee be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may Thou shelter them, that those who love Thy name may exult in Thee, for it is Thou dost bless the righteous, O Lord, Thou dost surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12)
How do you read the Psalms?