I think we all have that one friend who just reads the Psalms. And don’t get me wrong. We all need a little comfort food from time to time. I’m just not sure that’s the best way to approach Scripture. But, to each his own.
It’s not that I don’t like the Psalms. They’re lovely treats, in moderation. Feel free to tack one or three of those onto your Quiet Time, just don’t get your wires crossed. Psalms aren’t supposed to be ingested in large quantities. That’s like drinking more than one glass of water, or reading substantial portions of poetry in one sitting. Nobody likes a Scripture hangover.
You know that friend? The one that tries to make everything in the Bible apply directly to them?
No, hon. I don’t think that David was talking about roommate trouble when he said that his friend who was like a brother betrayed him. Ever heard of Absalom? I didn’t think so.
Yeah. And Psalm 23:5, about God preparing feasts in the presence of enemies, has nothing to do with that free pizza you got at Pizza Hut. It’s got a lot more to do with a negligent cook. Sorry to burst your bubble.
But, I mean, really, why do we insist on making the Bible applicable? Isn’t the whole point to see how very different we are than our heroes in the faith? So that we can definitively know WJWD (What Jesus Would Do), and then beat ourselves up for falling short again?
I don’t know about you, but that’s why I read the Bible.
And that’s why I’ve got to put my foot down when it comes to reading the Psalms devotionally. Sure they’ve got nice meter, but is meter sharper than a two-edged sword?
Now you’re probably thinking, “But isn’t all Scripture God-breathed?” I’ve got to level with you, kiddo. All Scripture is God-breathed, but some is more God-breathed than others. And those Psalms… Well, like I said. They’re fine little “cherries on top,” but you have to have them with more substantial Scripture. Try digging into Daniel, or raking through Revelation. The Bible is supposed to be difficult to understand, and Psalms are for slackers.
Seriously, if you want to read poetry, go grab a Robert Frost collection. There’s no room for artistry in the Holy Bible. So sit back in your pew and get to work.
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