Sunday June 7 – Saturday June 13
What to look for in Psalms 1-14
Of primary importance in the Psalter are the two poetic pillars of Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 that usher the reader into the “temple” (i.e. the location of prayer and worship) of the book of Psalms. Taken together, these twin psalms anticipate some of the major themes that will permeate the Psalter. In Psalms 1 and 2, we note the contrast between the righteous and the wicked as they are judged on the basis of their response to God’s revealed Torah – that is, the teaching, the instruction, the wisdom for life given by the Lord. Psalm 1 lays out the downward slope of the ungodly, and the entirely different way of life of a righteous person who embraces God’s covenant and God’s self-revelation through His teaching and instruction. Psalm 2 reveals the blessing for all those who hope in or take refuge in God. The journey that begins in Psalm 1 and 2 with obedience to the Lord culminates in full-throated doxology (praise) in Psalm 150.
Another theme that emerges in Psalms 1 and 2 is God’s Anointed One (i.e. Messiah), who is to be the culmination and ultimate telos (end goal, or purpose) of God’s covenant promises of the Old Testament. In fact, the Lord’s covenant with David is one of the pivotal theological frameworks for understanding the theological movement of the Psalms. Climaxing the covenants God with Adam and Eve, with Noah, with Abraham and Sarah, and with Moses is God’s covenant with David, who provides the typology for and pathway to God’s Messiah.
3 I am indebted to O. Palmer Robertson for his helpful thoughts about Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 in his book, The Flow of the Psalms.
Questions to ask of Psalms 1-14
How do these psalms depict and talk about God?
How do these psalms depict and talk about humanity?
Using Walter Brueggemann’s framework of orientation-disorientation-new orientation, do any of the psalms in chapters 1 – 14 seem to describe one or more of those locations within the human experience?
What language do you find in these psalms that beckons you into prayer? What examples of prayer, worship or conversation with God do these psalms offer?
What language in these psalms causes you to think, feel or act differently toward yourself, or toward other people?
Triune God, open me to the transforming presence of Your Spirit as the Psalms point me toward Your steadfast love. Amen.