Over the past decade, one thing has remained relatively constant in my Christian life, my love for the Psalms. At various times in the Psalms, the author is crying out to the Lord (Psalm 18:6) and pouring out the mess of his heart and life to Him. Then, he turns around and praises the Lord (Psalm 59:16). The Psalmist also calls out to the Lord who is His rock of refuge (Psalm 18:2), and help in time of need (Psalm 46:1).
The Psalms are full of heavy theology. From Psalm 2 declaring the exaltation of the Lord to the Psalmists expressing the depths of God’s character, virtues, and attributes (Psalm 103,117, 145), the Psalms are first and foremost theological. The book of Psalms shows us not only how to do to right theology but also how good theology should lead us to have sound worship and right living before the face of the Lord.
Pivotal Moments in My Walk with God as a Teenager
In my teenage years, there were some very crucial moments in high school where my life could have gone a very different direction very quickly. As a sophomore in high school, my parents got divorced. While I knew this was coming it still wasn’t easy. The book of Psalms during this period of my life stabilized my heart, mind, and soul on the Lord. In addition to lots of people in my local church surrounding me in Christian love, taking the truth of Psalms and preaching it to myself helped me immensely in this season of my life.
Preaching the Psalms to Yourself
Preaching the Psalms to yourself means taking the truth of any book of Scripture and applying it to your heart and life. It also means taking what the Scripture says about God, His person, character, and all that He is and preaching it to ourselves. We do not preach the Word to ourselves willy-nilly. When we talk about preaching the Psalms to ourselves, we are talking about using proper biblical interpretation.
Preaching the Psalms to ourselves is soul-stirring and soul-satisfying. In the Psalms, the biblical writers tell us that like a deer pants for the Lord so my soul pants for you (Psalm 42:1). Also, the Psalmist is often downcast and then in a few short verses turns around and acknowledges the greatness of God and praises Him (Psalm 42:5, 42:11, 43:5).
Psalms as a Beginning Point for Preaching the Word of God to Ourselves
I don’t know where you are at in your Christian life. I also don’t know if you’ve been a Christian one minute, a month, a few years or most of your life. Wherever you are, and however you have walked before the face of the Lord, you and I are in need of the whole counsel of God’s Word. Preaching the Psalms to ourselves doesn’t mean we only need the book of Psalms. We have sixty-six books that are the inspired, inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative Word of God that we are to take what it says and apply it to ourselves.
The Psalms from my vantage point are the easiest book, to begin with taking the Scripture and applying it to our lives. When dark days come and come they will, or weariness threatens to overtake me, I turn to the book of Psalms. There I’m confronted by the Psalmist pouring out the stuff of his life to the Lord. Instead of running away and hiding, the Psalmist pours out the mess of his life again and again to the Lord and then praises the Lord.
Getting Real Before the Lord
You and I need to get honest before the Lord. This means not just saying the right words with no meaning behind them. Instead, at the heart of preaching the Psalms to ourselves is expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the Lord who sees, knows and loves His dearly Beloved people. It also means pouring out the mess of our hearts before the Lord knowing that God will not despise the broken. Instead, He is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).
Whether you are in a season of blessing or a season where you feel beaten up and crushed, the Psalms have something for you. The book of Psalms is a collection of men pouring out God-besotted truth before the face of the Lord. The result of their prayers and pleas to the Lord were not to pick themselves up off the ground or to beat themselves into submission. Instead, the result was their hearts and minds turning in praise to the Lord who alone is the rock and refuge of their souls.
Preaching the Psalms to ourselves means taking the truth of Psalm 1 seriously. It also means seeing in Psalm 22:1 the One in Jesus who cried out, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” the One in Jesus who paid the full penalty for our salvation when He died as a substitute in place of sinners and for their sin.
Pour out the mess of your heart and life to the Lord. He sees, knows, loves, and cares for you. He can take all of everything that’s going on in your life. Not only can He do that, but He is utterly sufficient for all you need both now and always.
Preach the Psalms to yourself. As you do, your confidence in the Lord will soar with the result your knowledge of Him will grow with the consequence of you responding in worship and right living before the Lord. Open your Bible to the Psalms and begin today, preaching the Psalms to yourselves.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.