This past Sunday we began a new series at Christ’s Covenant Church on the Psalms. We have entitled the series “Worthy” to capture two key truths: (1) God is worthy of our love, our devotion, our worship; and in light of this (2) we are called to live in a way that is worthy of him. So throughout this series we will focus on these two aspects of the term “worthy” as we look at various psalms to feed our souls and fuel our devotion to Christ no matter what life circumstances we encounter.
The Psalms connect with us on so many levels. They express the entire spectrum of human experience and display the full range of God’s character and his dealings with humanity. When we read the Psalms we scale the heights of joyful worship of our exalted God and plumb the depths of despair that come from living in a fallen world. In between we find the daily challenges of living a life of worship. The great Reformer Martin Luther referred to the Psalms as “the Bible in miniature.” In fact, one Luther scholar observes that:
Romans gave Luther his theology, but it was the Psalms that gave him his thunder. The Psalms gave Luther a towering view of God, so much so that in preaching the gospel, he was ready to fight the devil himself.
The 150 psalms that are in the book come from a variety of authors and time periods, some as early as Moses. The primary person associated with the Psalms is King David. He not only wrote many of them, but one of the major themes in Psalms is the promise that God made to him in 2 Samuel 7 about one of his descendants ruling over God’s people and ultimately the world. The book of Psalms is broken up into five “books,” which likely mirrors the first five books of the Old Testament. Sometime after the Jewish people returned from their exile in Babylon these psalms were collected for use in worship. So there is a sense in which Psalms is like a hymnal. But the arrangement and ordering of the Psalms is not accidental. In many cases psalms have clearly been grouped together to make a point that goes beyond the individual psalms.
That is the case with the Psalms 1–2, as we will see when working our way through them this morning. These two psalms were placed together at the beginning of the Psalms to introduce the book as a whole. When understood together they not only set the trajectory for the entire collection, but introduce key themes that are developed along the way. In addition to that, Psalms 1–2 beautifully capture the dual focus of our series—the worthiness of God and the call to live a life that is worthy of Him. Psalm 1 will lay out for us a worthy life, and Psalm 2 will show us a worthy king. But as we go through Psalms 1–2, the question I want you to keep in mind is the relationship between the two. In other words, what is the relationship between a life that is worthy and the king who is worthy of worship?
Interested in hearing more? You can find the audio of the sermon here.