This course explores 18 selected psalms from the Psalter, the prayer book of the Bible and the early church. You will be encouraged and inspired by Israel's worship and praise of God as Creator. You will also come to sense how these ancient songs and prayers shaped the lives of God's people and sense the call of the Davidic kingdom that resounds throughout many of the psalms.
This course will examine themes of celebration, including praise for God's glory and his presence, as well as thanksgiving for his lovingkindness and faithfulness. It will also examine the lament of God's people for challenges they faced, losses and injustices suffered, and the hope they found in the middle of distress or disaster.
The 'articles' in the course include the biblical texts (New Revised Standard Version), for every lecture and 18 corresponding practice exercises. The practice exercises and discussion questions that accompany each lecture includes 8-10 questions or prompts that enable students to engage with the material to absorb, reflect, and practice what they are learning. There are no extra academic articles or required readings for this course.
The lectures in this course do not address textual issues, nor issues of authorship or when or how the Psalter was edited. Instead, each lecture will examine various types and themes within the psalms and probe the ways in which Israel viewed God, themselves, and the world.
These important psalms not only point Christians today towards worship in song or personal piety in practice, they also give voice and expression to concrete situations of international justice and global concerns for God to put the world to rights. The psalmist asks real questions such as:
How come the world is this way?
How do I pray for someone who feels the closure of death?
What expressions can I use to praise the Lord and respond to the call to worship?
Where can I turn when everything seems hopeless?
Why does it seem like the wicked go unpunished?
What words can I use to give thanks to God?
How can I celebrate with joy for all that God has done?
We invite you to join us as we explore these selections from the Psalms that continue to sing God's praise, build up the church, and give Christian voice that might resound throughout the world today.