March 17, 2017

If You Had to Choose One... (Psalms, Introduction)

Let's suppose for a moment that you were stranded on a deserted island.  Oh boy, THAT old chestnut...

Yes, indeed.  And as you might expect, the rest of the question follows:  if you had only one book, what would it be?  Now, devout Christians will almost invariably say, "the Bible."  That's all well and good, but I want to take the query one step further.  Devout Christian, if you had to pick only one book FROM the Bible, which one would you choose?

Only one.

Hard, isn't it?  Do you choose the great creation story and history of Genesis?  What about the Gospel story of Jesus, and which one: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?  Maybe the mysterious prophecies of the book of Revelation, or the practical wisdom of Solomon found in Proverbs would be more to your liking?  Want deep theology?  Maybe the book of Romans is for you.

How in the world would one choose?!?

Well, let me tell you what my choice would be.  It's OK if you would choose a different book than mine.  There are no right or wrong answers in this hypothetical scenario, but I think we can learn a bit about ourselves by examining our reasons for choosing one book in particular as (dare I say) a personal favorite.  Maybe more importantly, we can learn a lot from each other, if we can take the time to communicate what we know and believe.

My book would be...
• A summary of both the Old and New Testaments
• An Old Testament book that contains prophecies about the New Testament
• The 2nd most-quoted book of the O.T. found in the N.T.
• The inspired record of the full range of human emotions
• The longest book in the Bible
• A book of music

If you hadn't guessed it from the first few hints, that last one probably cinched it for you.  I would choose the book of Psalms.  You might say that my reasoning is influenced by the fact that I am a musician, and I suppose on some level you would be right, but I have more important reasons than that.

The book of Psalms is unique, because it's not just "about" God.  Every book of the Bible is about God, in one way or another.  But the Psalms go beyond a discussion about God; they bring us directly into communion WITH God.  Every emotion we have is displayed somewhere in the Psalms. Moreover, the Psalms show us the best way to communicate our emotions, our fears, our joys, our needs, and our desires to God. If we don't really know what to say to God, or how to articulate our feelings to Him, the Psalms give us a wonderful model to follow.

This post begins an exploration of the book of Psalms.  I hope you will find it informative, insightful, and most of all, helpful.  If you disagree with something I write, please by all means leave a (polite) comment for discussion. My goal here is to learn as much (or more) from you as I hope someone might learn from me. 

Let the journey begin...

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