But then, how do I create a blog each week that is fresh and inviting? You might say I have been bogged in the blog.
As you know, I catalogued every verse in every psalm before starting weekly blogs on this wonderful book. Even then I sensed it was going to be a challenge.
Sometimes, if you can’t find what you are looking for in the mirror that is the Bible, it is important to step back a bit and look again with a broader focus. It is one thing to stand close if we are looking for that pebble – or log – in our eye. But it is also important to step back if we need to make sure our shirt is tucked in.
I have come to realize that because the psalms are a hymnbook and not a historical narrative like most of the first half of the Bible, the psalms repeat key themes for worship – that is why they were collected over a long period of time. The psalms reflect and celebrate what we already know about faith; they do not reveal new narrative.
I suspect the Book of Proverbs will be the same way, and I am now part way through classifying them according to the Cycle.
So here is where God is leading me.
In total, the psalms contain 2,412 verses. The smallest categories of the Cycle, less than one percent each of the total, deal with temptation and warnings. This begins to make sense – psalms are written in retrospect, so the psalmist has likely moved on from initial temptation to disobedience and disunity. In retrospect, these psalms often begin with regret but move toward what the psalmist has learned in the resulting judgment he has experienced. Sure enough, the second highest number of psalm verses – almost 20 percent – deal with judgment and its aftermath, much of it wreaked on a conflicted King David.
But here is what makes the psalms such an inspiration for all of us, as we reflect on our own foibles and failures: more than 33 percent of verses in the psalms present the very thing we sat down to study in this series – unity with God.
If I stay the course with two to three psalms per week, it will take an entire year from this point to write blogs on them individually. And I feel God pushing me forward to pursue the Cycle through every verse of the Bible (if I live that long)!
Next week I will reveal more of where God is leading me. More now, I offer you a challenge.
Take some special time over the next few weeks and read the psalms as you never have before. Look for your personal sermon in the hymnal. Be honest and find the parallels to your life, good and bad. And claim the Cycle over and over, because it beckons you that way. Whatever you have faced, repentance, the never-ending love of God, and restoration await a new and exciting transformation that you never thought possible. Leave the garbage behind. If King David could be completely restored to unity with God, so can you!
Get ready for an exciting new road – both for you personally – and here at Streamside Unity. Hurry back next week to learn more!