Saturday, January 14, 2012

"Therapeutic Praise"

The weekend devotional in January's Tabletalk Magazine is entitled "Therapeutic Praise."  David Murray wrote an excellent article about the value of singing the Psalms.  He starts off saying, "Despite hundreds of new Christian songs being composed each year, the ancient Psalms are experiencing something of a revival."  He goes on to give five reasons all dealing with our emotions, thus the title of the article. 

First, the Psalms are God's word and at the same time, express our emotions as humans.  "The Psalms strike an inspired balance of doxology and theology; they combine the objective with the subjective in perfect proportions." 

His second and third reasons deal with those emotions.  "...[T]he Psalms richly express the full range of human emotions: grief and joy, doubt and confidence, loneliness and fellowship, despair and hope, fear and courage, defeat and victory, complaint and praise."  In addition to the full range of emotions the Psalms also portray honesty of emotion.  He says, "Although the strong expressions of stark reality can initially jar our refined ears, we are soon relieved to find kindred spirits who helpfully express what we often think, feel, and experience in our messy daily lives."

Fourth, the Psalms allow us to deal with painful emotions.  "The Psalms not only permit us to 'vent' our emotions but also call for transformation.  We are not left to wallow in our feelings but are shown how to move from fear to courage, from sorrow to joy, from anger to peace, and from despair to hope."

Fifth, the Psalms encourage us to be sympathetic to others who are experiencing emotions different from our own.  "The Psalms call me to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice, even if I feel the exact opposite."  Romans 12:15 says exactly that.  As the body of Christ we bear each others burdens.

His last line, "The Psalms turn me inside out."  That makes me smile.   

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