PSALMS--Songs to Shape the Soul

What is the shape of your soul? That is, tell me about your spiritual realities.

  • How do you recognize and honor your SPIRITUALITY, your spiritual existence as one made in the image of God. God's spirit dwells within you. The image of Christ is being formed in me, you are being transformed. Spiritual awareness builds character and commitment to spiritual health.
  • Then tell me about your HABITS. Your habits reflect your heart, and your heart is the root of your motivation.
  • Next examine your God-given ABILITIES. Being in shape spiritually requires strength and skill development. This is no mere human task nor human dimension. We must cultivate by God-given talents and abilities. We must develop your spiritual gifts.
  • How do you understand your PURPOSE--your perspective on what you must do and why you must do it. In the Bible, this word is mission. What is your mission?
  • Finally, how have you integrated your education and experiences to enable effective spiritual EXERCISE. The modern term for this concept is spiritual discipline.

    There you have it--

  • how do you recognize your spirituality
  • how do you live our your spirituality in daily habits
  • how do your daily habits reflect your aptitudes, abilities, and gifts from God
  • how do your abilities inform your purpose in God's work
  • how does the work God wants to do in you and through you impact your spiritual exercise, your discipline, your activities.

    What is the shape of your soul? How would you describe your soul? Whatever your answer, the psalms are for you because they are soul-shapers. The psalms are serious about life. You will find your deepest needs met--regardless of the kind of soul you have. In the psalms, we experience life in its many facets. At times ours is a soul of praise, honor, searching, worship, reflection, doubt, confidence, confession, suffering, concern. At times life disorients us, and we need psalms of orientation. At times life is too orienting and comfortable, and we need the psalms of disorientation. This process of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation is one of the great wonders of the psalms.

    The psalms are favorites for other reasons. They are poetry, beautiful, memorable. They are man speaking to God. They are personal, they are devotional. They have many applications. This poetry speaks to the soul.

    Here we see our reigning Lord, we hear the wedding celebrations, we share the prayers, the praise, the psalms of worship. These are impassioned, vivid, concrete, poetic, unforgettable images, simile, metaphor, word pictures.

    Here is communication, man listening and responding.

    There are several different kinds of psalms--hymns of praise (Israel's hymnal), royal psalms proclaiming God as king, lament, thanksgiving, penitential, psalms of nature, worship, wisdom, character.

    I do not know how familiar you are with the psalms, but I want today to suggest to you something of the nature of this unique book, to increase your love and appreciation, perhaps to spur you to deeper study, to know the psalms as the great devotional literature and strength they have been through the centuries. I am not certain that is our shared life, in part because of our NT emphasis. So, we touch the OT today.

    I. Psalms of orientation.

  • The Creation Psalms, 19:1-6; 29; 104; 145:3-9
  • God is God, 145, 107
  • The Historical psalms, 105-106
  • The Torah Psalms, 119, 24:3-6
  • The wisdom Psalms, 1, 133, 131, 128, 112:1-10, 37:1-7
  • Worship, 90-100 (95,100); ascent, 120-134
  • Worship/praise, 116.

    II. Psalms of disorientation.

  • Lament, 3, 5, 6, 7, 13
  • Pentential, 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143

    III. Reorientation.

  • Thanksgiving, 124:1-8; 121
  • Praise, 144-150; 90-100, 42
  • Confidence, 91, 27, 23
  • Trust/hope, 62

    Closing Song (from Ps. 27)
    In the day of trouble he will keep me safe
    He will hide me in his shelter, he will set me on the rock. (repeat lines 1-2)
    Then he will exalt me, sacrifice with joy,
    I will sing and make music to the Lord. (repeat lines 3-4)

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    Last updated March 20, 2005.