Contemplating The Psalms: An Introduction

As a musician-turned-pastor, I’ve always been enthralled to know that right in the middle of my Bible is a songbook! Think of it. A Holy Book written for the explicit purpose of helping me know better this Creator-King of the Universe and right in the center of this book lies 150 melodies.

Wow. Who would have imagined it?

Songs of praise. Songs of lament.

Short songs. Long songs.

Songs with lyrics that rhyme. Songs with lyrics that don’t.

Songs written in the standard verse/chorus format. Songs that are just a simple chorus.

Songs that follow a pre-set meter or pattern. Songs that don’t.

Songs that make you cry. Songs that make you laugh.

Songs written by high kings. Songs written by lowly shepherds.

Songs written by professional musicians. Songs written by peasants.

Songs, songs, and more songs.

150 in all.

150 songs to be sung in every generation, by every tribe and every tongue.

And since music styles change in every generation, God wisely chose that the Hebrew people who composed these songs not write down the musical notations, except for an occasional ‘Selah’ or a brief instructional phrase suggesting that instruments might accompany the vocalists on this verse or on that chorus.

150 Psalms to be sung using contemporary sounds. Lyrics remain, but the orchestrations must be provided by every generation or tribe that picks up the songbook.

I like that.

That way, I can go to Africa and hear Psalm 150 sung with instruments made from the trees of the jungle. Then, I can fly off to Europe and enjoy Psalm 23 performed by a full orchestra, conducted by a maestro who studied Bach and Beethoven.  Then off to America, where blue grass and jazz were born. In New Orleans, I can hear Psalm 10 as it should be sung, using the blues.

I love music don’t you?

And so must God.

Join us as we take one calendar year to ponder the 150 Psalms. With 3 blogs per week (Monday, Wednesday & Friday), we’ll get to Psalm 150 around Christmas time! Forgive me, if during this long journey, I take out my tuba from time to time and oom-pah along the way. Please feel free to sing along with us…or tune up your harmonica, guitar, or Jew’s harp, and play along as well. Hey, you might even want to try that comb and wax paper thing!

Keep in mind, that through it all, it’s all about making a joyful noise unto the Lord. For His name’s sake.

My prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the gift of song. Since music can touch my soul at depths none other can reach, I choose to believe that my ponderings of Your 150 Psalms will do my soul well. May it put a song in my heart and a spring in my step. For Your name’s sake. Amen.

My questions to ponder: What does it mean for my faith to know that the God I love and serve loves music? If songs of praise are at the center of my Bible, how can I become a follower of Christ with a song of praise in the center of my life?

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Click on one of the links below to go to one of the ten sections of our blog series:

Psalms 1-15

Psalms 16-30

Psalms 31-45

Psalms 46-60

Psalms 61-75

Psalms 76-90

Psalms 91-105

Psalms 106-120

Psalms 121-135

Psalms 136-150

So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?


Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!


Click here to continue on this blog series…

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