Reintroducing the Psalms

Fri, 05/05/2023 - 12:28 -- James Oakley
Psalm 31

I wrote a longer post in 2010 that gave some thoughts on the book of Psalms and how we read them.

Today, I've been working on some notes to equip our small group leaders to lead a Bible study in Psalm 31. This comes as part of a series of Bible studies that look at passages that speak on the theme of prayer.

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Psalm 2 and 2 Peter 1

Tue, 17/09/2019 - 15:55 -- James Oakley

So often, when you read a commentary on part of the Bible you're studying, you have pages and pages of material but the commentator doesn't seem to be puzzling over the same details of the passage as you are.

How refreshing when the commentator asks exactly the questions you were asking, and has some very sensible things to say.

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New songs

Thu, 23/07/2015 - 17:01 -- James Oakley

Psalm 33:3 says this:

Sing to him a new song; play skilfully, and shout for joy.

Note the three ingredients here of how we are instructed to sing to God.

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And you don't want to meet him when he's angry

Tue, 21/05/2013 - 09:09 -- James Oakley

I feel prompted to post part of Psalm 2 this morning

1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

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Why is Psalm 8 in Book 1

Tue, 01/11/2011 - 11:53 -- James Oakley

That is one of the most fruitful questions I've asked of this familiar Psalm.

As I explained about a year ago, the book of Psalms is not 150 prayers and hymns in random order. It's sometimes hard to know exactly what conclusions we should draw from the order the Psalms are in, but that they have been carefully arranged is beyond doubt.

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God loves good and hates evil

Thu, 02/06/2011 - 16:48 -- James Oakley

I love this quotation from Gerard Wilson. He's commenting on Psalm 5.

By relentless goodness I mean that from the beginning, God’s only intent was and still is to bless his creation. Judgement and mercy, therefore, are not two competing characteristics of Yahweh but are two inseparable consequences of his holiness. Relentless goodness is the flip side of incompatibility with evil. (Page 167)

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Psalm 95: Our maker and saviour

Mon, 21/03/2011 - 17:07 -- James Oakley

Psalm 95:1-7c inverts the categories of creation and salvation. Roughly, the pattern of the Psalm goes like this:

  • Come, let us shout joyfully to the Lord, the rock of our salvation (1-2)
  • For, he is a great God who holds, owns and formed everything (3-5)
  • Come, let us bow and kneel before our maker (6)
  • For he is our God, and we are his people, under his care (7a-c)
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Introducing the Psalms

Mon, 29/11/2010 - 12:45 -- James Oakley

I thought it might help if I wrote down my thoughts so far on the Psalms: What kind of literature are they? How are they to be read and interpreted today?

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Praise God for his wonderful deeds

Tue, 31/08/2010 - 07:26 -- James Oakley

We are forever looking for things God has done for us for which we can give him thanks. Things he has done for us and for no other people. That could be a temporal thing - we want things he has done for our generation and not for previous ones. That could be a spatial thing - we want things he has done for our village / town / county / nation and not for others. It could be both at once - things he has done for me and me alone.

Psalm 105 is a total contrast. It starts

Oh give thanks to the Lord;
call upon his name;

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