Biblical Worship 8 The Psalms
The Psalms were the content of Israel’s worship in the Temple. The New Testament Church continued the use of the Psalms in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” The Psalter does at least three things that no other part of Scripture does. 1. They put God’s word in our mouths. When we pray and sings the Psalms God puts his word in our mouths and teaches us how to pray. They shape our prayers, emotions, and bring us into worship by the Holy Spirit speaking in Scripture.
2. The Psalms teach us as we read them. Many people ask me how to pray. How do I learn to pray? The answer is the Psalms. They, and the Lord’s prayer are models in scripture that give us the categories of appropriate prayer. They are not the end all and be all of prayers to be lifted up to the lord, but they give the categories. These categories include Psalms of deliverance, confession of sin, praise of God’s nature, calls and responses to worship, historical statements of God’s goodness, deep theology, emotional cries to the lord, thanks for God’s goodness, and many other categories. These give us hooks upon which we can hang our prayers. As we pray the Psalms they teach us the right way to pray. Most of all they gives us words, emotions, and petitions we would never have on our own. The creativity of the Psalms gives new life to dead wrote prayers, with canned phrases, and pop-christian lingo.
3. They are inspired by God and become effective for our salvation. This is the hidden gem of the Psalms in worship. God speaks in his word. God works in his word. Peter preached Psalm 110 on the Day of Pentecost. That Psalm resulted in the conversion of three-thousand souls on that day. There is nothing like the Psalms in the rest of the Bible that rivals the depths of piety, the depths of theology, the depths of power for Christian attitudes toward God, and the depths of emotional affection and wonder at the glory of God.