We’re about to hit the English summer school holidays and up and down the country, churches will be rediscovering the Psalms – or at least the people who are around and in church will be. There’s a tendency to expect attendance to drop as people head off on holiday, ministers themselves take a break and hand over preaching to visitors and others within the church. There’s something to be said about all of that generally -and I’ll get back to that another time.
However, what I wanted to pick up on here was that the result is that we often put our planned preaching series on hold and fill in with a few Psalms. It’s probably wise to adjust the pace a little and there’s certainly benefit from dipping into the Psalms, so I’m not having a go at you if you are opting for that.
My point is not that we shouldn’t preach on the Psalms in the summer holidays but rather that we shouldn’t only preach on them then and we shouldn’t treat them as the opportunity for stand alone talks only.
Why? Well, first of all because the Psalms form part of the wisdom literature in Scripture and this is often neglected for teaching. There are depths of riches and practical application to be found here. Secondly because the Psalms as part of the canon of Scripture are intended to point us to Christ. When Jesus walked and talked with the disciples on the Emmaus Road, do you think he skipped the songs of David because it wasn’t July yet? You bet he didn’t!
Thirdly, and this is my reason for not just preaching on a Psalm in isolation, like the rest of Scripture, the book has been edited together carefully for our instruction. Each Psalm is not meant to be read on its own but rather in context. The Psalms come together to tell a story and because few of us have read them together as a whole, we often miss that.
So, why not use your summer in the Psalms as a taster series and plan to take your church through the book as a full on expositional series at a later date?