Bible Study 10th November 2020

Bible Study on the Psalms

Introduction

When do you listen to music? Do you have to be in a particular mood or is music a constant thread through your life? For me, music has been incredibly important during lockdown; it has lifted me, it has comforted me or allowed me to rage. It has at times given me the words when I could not find them myself. Listening has both been an individual activity and a communal one. As a family we have listened to Zoom concerts together. The Psalms are liturgical but also the emotional songbook of the Bible.

1-When do we usually hear the psalms? How do we use them in Church?

2-Do you have a favourite psalm?

3-What type of psalms are there?

Thanksgiving Psalms e.g. Psalm 8:1-4

-Wisdom Psalms guidelines for righteous living e.g. Psalms 37:1-4

-Royal Psalms exaltation of a King e.g. Psalm 2:6-9

-Lament Psalms calling out to God individually or collectively in despair.

e.g. Psalm 77:1-9

Imprecatory Psalms asking for God’s judgement upon enemies e.g.

Psalm 35:1-6

-Pilgrimage Psalms sung on the way to Jerusalem for a festival e.g.

Psalm 121

-Enthronement Psalm describe God’s rule and care over creation e.g.

Psalm 93

People often tell me that they love the book of Psalms, but I suspect only know a few (maybe 6 or so) A third of the Psalter is lament or complaint. The psalms are about bringing the emotional flow of our lives before God. The Church should not be the happiest place in town but the most honest. In the Psalms there is no place for denial- denial to self or denial before God. The most famous example of this is Psalm 51.

Read Psalm 137

4-What personal pastoral situations could you use this psalm in? How would it help?

5-What national/international situations could this psalm be used in? How would it help?

6-How on earth do we make sense of verse 9? Brueggermann’s idea of rehabilitative local liturgy. When we feel vengeful we can a) take that strong emotion and intention to God b) deny it c) act it out.

Read Psalm 29

This psalm includes strong Canaanite influences. It may have originally been a Canaanite hymn. The voice of the Lord is associated with thunder, water and lightning. Appropriation is nothing new! Of course they psalmists uses it to show that Yahweh is greater.

7-Can we assimilate cultural influences around us in worship?

8-How important is it to have an artistic/poetic expression of our faith?

 

HOMEWORK- Find a psalm that expresses how you feel and read it as a prayer this week.

 

PRAYER

Almighty God,

We can’t hide who we are, what we feel or what we are going through from You.

It is useless for us to try.

Help us have the honesty of the Psalms

Help us praise You in times of joy and lament in times of trouble

Help us bring that honesty to our community and nation

So that the Psalms can be transformative.

We pray in the name of one seeped in the Psalms

Our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Amen.

 

 

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