Series: Psalms for the Summer
Saved to Sing
June 11, 2023 | Peter Rowan
Psalms for the Summer
All right, so we are back in the Psalms and we are actually picking up right where we left off last summer. Sort of both in terms of numbers, we're just jumping onto the next one and actually thematically, sort of picking up where we left off.
For many of us, this is actually our ninth summer in the Psalms together. I actually came as your pastor the last Sunday in June in 2015 and so in two weeks I will have been here for eight years with you and we just started that first Sunday on Psalm 1 for the summers and so we're back in the Psalms for the summers and we're on Psalm 57.
I wanted to explain to you, and I kind of do this at the beginning of every summer, just why we do that. You know, we kind of have a diet of scripture. If you're around for a little while, you'll get the Old Testament, the New Testament, the fall, you'll get the gospels around Advent really often through Easter. You'll have a series in the Easter tide and then we'll have the Psalms. The idea is you're getting a diet of scripture, but we go back to the Psalms every summer for a few reasons. I was going to say this, honestly, one of them is so practical. So many people are not around in the summertime. I mean, lots of educators here at this church and lots of reasons why people are on vacation. There's lots of people that are gone even this Sunday and if you're gone for a week or you're gone for two and you're doing that in a text that was really making an argument, you're actually going to miss something of the argument of that book, right? But for the most part, the Psalms, they give you a singular Psalm and if you miss that one Psalm, you're not like at the next week, you're like scratching your head going, "What's happening?" You're able to jump back in. Another practical reason is that I'm gone sometimes.
I'm actually going to be here next Sunday, but I am gone this coming week. I'm down in Memphis for our denomination's National Gathering of pastors and elders and stuff and so I'm gone sometimes and it allows other people to kind of jump in with the Psalm and it kind of works easily to fill spots like that. So there's some practical reasons for why we do this.
Psalms: A Book of Prayer and Song
But here's the other reasons. The Psalm book has always been the main prayer book of God's people.It has been the way that God's people offer their voices up and their hearts and their whole selves up to God and that has always been the case. I've just actually mentioned in my prayer that John Calvin famously called the Psalms the anatomy of the soul. It's just the deep places of our beings offered up to God and every aspect of them.
The fourth reason is kind of similar and that's that it's a song book. It's a prayer book, but it's a song book and I want you to think with me just for a moment about the songs that really resonate with you. They're the songs that kind of met you at a place that was really, really deep and tragic and it sort of gave an expression to what you were feeling. Or you were just driving down, the windows are down at summertime and you're listening to summertime and the libs, you're like, "This is perfect! It's just meeting you right where you are!" And that's just kind of how it works. Songs kind of give expression to that part of your soul that's also being expressed in the Psalms. So they work together.
Here's what's going on in the Psalms in this kind of way. God wants every single aspect of you. I mean like he wants all of it. And so you can find Psalms that give voice to your celebrations, the things that you're really, really excited about. Maybe it's just the beauty of a day like today and you say, "Praise him! Praise him! Praise him!" Or you can find Psalms that actually speak of this dynamic of having enemies that are chasing after you and you are full of fear and you need saving.
Or you have Psalms that arise from within the places of doubt. You know, "Where are you, O God? Why have you hidden your face from me? What's going on? Why are you engaging in the world like this?"
There are Psalms that talk about the beauty of life, your anguish over ongoing sin in yourself or systemic sin in the world. They give voice to depression. Actually, if any of you… I noticed this in the reading just this morning from Psalm 33 in the lectionary. If anyone read their lectionary, it mentioned that God bottles up the waters of the oceans, the waters of the seas. Well, that phrase, it's actually a little bit different word, but it's a similar phrase, is found also in Psalm 56 where it says, "The Lord bottles up your tears." If you put those together, the Lord has a keen sense that your tears can be so overwhelming that they need to be actually bottled up and they can actually be compared to a whole ocean of them. I mean, I'm telling you that the Psalms span every single experience that you have. And that's partly why they've been given music and melody and all. It's also partly why it has been the prayer book, the devotional book of God's people. And he knows what we're going through and he longs for every single part of us to be brought before him.
Okay, I want to tell you about someone and then we're going to jump into Psalm 57. So at the height of the Cold War, late 70s, there was a man, Anatolah Skyransky, I think that's the right way to pronounce his name. And he was arrested by the KGB.
Here's what had happened. This man was an amazing mathematician and he had actually gone to the top tech college in Moscow and he was also Jewish, and his dad was an avid, avid communist. Actually, during his youth, he went to camps where he was just trained in sort of thinking, Soviet thinking. And yet through his education and all, he began to sort of push against that and rebel against that.
So he gets this job out of college at the Institute for Oil and Gas and he's like a top, top level mathematician. And yet he becomes this dissident. He starts actually pushing against Soviet communism. And you know what happens when that takes place?
He gets arrested by the KGB in 1977 and he's actually sentenced to 13 years in a Soviet gulag, a Soviet prison camp. And from morning to evening, this man Skarinsky read and studied all 150 Psalms in the Hebrew.
And I guess how he approaches, and he said this in a letter, what does this give me? This is his quote, "Gradually, my feeling of great loss and sorrow changes to one of bright hopes." He's in a Soviet gulag and every day he's studying the Psalms and somehow in the midst of that situation, his sorrow and all that is changing to a place of hope.
This is what happened. "One day the guards take away his Psalter, his Psalm book from him, and he laid in the snow, refusing to move until they returned it." That's how precious the Psalms were to him in the midst of that situation.
I read that during the years in prison, his wife traveled around the world campaigning for his release and actually accepted an honorary degree on his behalf. But this is what he finally wrote.
It says, "In a lonely cell in Chistopol prison, locked alone with the Psalms of David, I found expression for my innermost feelings in the outpourings of the King of Israel thousands of years ago." He's finding the expression for what he's feeling in the middle of a Soviet camp from someone so long ago writing in ancient Israel.
I'm suggesting to you that if you spend time in the Psalms, you will have the exact same experience. You'll be amazed at how God shows up to you right where you are through these ancient Psalms, these ancient prayers.
Here in Psalm 57, I want to suggest to you that this Psalm is broken up into two sections. Maybe turn with me and you can see them. Look at me at verse 5. It says, "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens.Let your glory be over the earth." Then if you turn the page, verse 11, listen to this. It says, "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth."
It's the same words. I love it when the Bible does this for us. It just breaks it down for us. We're going to have two points and the first point is going to be much longer than the second point. Here's what I want to do. I want us to look at this first little section and see this, that we have a need for salvation.
The second section, which is actually following on this, is a need for song. A need for salvation, a need for song.
A Need for Salvation
First, a need for salvation.
If you look at this, the first line of verse 1 is this, "Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me." What you might immediately want to ask is, "Why is he crying out for mercy?"
We just sang a long song, Psalm 51, on crying out for mercy for our sin. The way that we've acted in rebellion against God. That's certainly something that we cry out for a lot and the Psalms invite us to do that and the Bible invites us to do that.
The first title part of our psalm actually gives us a clue into why he's crying out for mercy. It says two things that I want you to see. One, it says that it was, "To be sung to the tune, do not destroy." I am totally convinced it's like a heavy metal screamo tune. "Do not destroy."
That kind of thing.
Then it's actually said to be a "miktam of David." We actually don't know what that word means, a “miktam.”
There's a lot of little words like that. In fact, the word "salaah" that you sometimes see in the Psalms, we don't totally know what that means. We think it means "pause" or "peace," but that's actually why it's not translated. We don't translate it because we're not totally convinced of what it means. Miktam is the same thing. We actually don't totally know what miktam means, but it's a genre and it's probably the screamo genre.
The other thing that we learn is that David is in a cave because he's been fleeing from Saul. What we have is David is crying out for mercy because he is actually worried about possibly being destroyed. Do not destroy. He's crying out from a place of refuge, the cave, and he's crying out because somebody's after him, King Saul.
Here's what I want to suggest to you, and I want to do it this way. I want to suggest to you that part of what he's crying out for mercy from is actually other people. I want you to consider this, and we're going to get to this eventually, but I want us to consider that he's also crying out for this need for mercy and salvation from even the places where he takes refuge.
I hope you'll understand what I mean by that in a little bit. First, salvation from others.
Here's what I think is tempting when you come to the Bible. I think it's tempting when you come to the Bible to approach it and think that all it has to do with is what's in your heart or within your soul or within your head, your mind, and there's good reasons for why we kind of approach the Bible like this. One is the Bible is a religious text, and we know that religion has to do with your soul and your heart and what's going on in the unseen.
The other thing is that we're told the world that we live in at large tells you your religion is private. It's just for you inside of your closet. Maybe it's on Sunday mornings, but once you leave that door, don't take it with you into public places at least. Don't invite it into your work, or certainly don't let it influence your politics or your policy or any of that kind of thing. Religion is just for you in your own private place. That could not be further from the case from what the Bible teaches, actually. The Bible opens up from the very beginning and says, "God made all things."
It begins the idea of religion as saying it's all creation. All of it exists for him, and it's made by him, and it's declared good for him, and all of it's to be offered up to him. Everything that you do is offered up to God. It kind of pushes against that from the beginning.
Also what we see is that actually rebelling against God to sin is a very physical thing. What we're told is that Adam and Eve, these first parents in the garden, actually took something. That was their rebellion. It wasn't just a rebellion in the heart. It was actually a physical rebellion that was taking place. It's the physical thing that's going on. Here's what I'm suggesting to you. We should just think that mercy is only for the inner parts of the heart. That's true. That's part of it. But there's also this thing that we need salvation from the physical world, and sometimes that exists as other people.
David is fleeing from Saul.That needs to happen sometimes just from other people specifically. Look with me down at verse 3. He will send from the heaven and save me. He will put to shame him who tramples on me. Him who tramples on me. There's a specific enemy in view here.
But we also get in this psalm that it's not just a specific enemy, but there's also this idea that there's generally other people, physical in the flesh people that he needs saving from. Verse 4, look at this. "My soul is in the midst of lions. “I lie down amid fiery beasts." Kids, you guys know how to read. How do you distinguish between a singular and a plural? One thing and two things in words. Normally, it's S, right? You put an S at the end of a word. It's like past or or past ors, right? He's not just talking about one person. He's like a whole group of people. It says, "The children of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords." So David's fleeing from Saul, but it seems also that there's whole groups of people that are after.
Now, I want you to think about this with me. Do you all remember where we left off last summer in the Psalms? Come on, in some ways, this is an easy...yes, 56. Okay, on some level, that's actually a really easy answer. On another level, I understand that that's like a whole long time ago and you don't remember. It's fine.
But here's what was happening last summer in the Psalms, is that again and again and again, David was saying, "Lord, meet me in my distress. Lord, there's somebody coming after me. I need you to show up." This is a scary situation. So let me remind you a little bit. Psalm 52 was written in response to Doeg the Edomite. You might maybe remember Doeg the Edomite? That dude was bad, bad.
He betrayed David when David was with Ahimelech the priest and he went and told Saul about it. But Doag led the people to go slaughter Ahimelech and 84 priests along with their families.
Bad dude. Okay. Maybe you remember how Psalm 54 told us about the betrayal of the Ziphites? I know there's lots of names like that in the Bible. It's kind of hard to remember all of them. But part of what you're supposed to be thinking about there is that those were the people around actually David. David should have found protection from them and he didn't. He was actually betrayed. There's a whole group of people. Doag one guy who's kind of leading a revolt against David and killing other people. He's leading it. But now there's a whole group of people.
Maybe you remember actually in Psalm 56, maybe you'll remember this as I mentioned this. Psalm 56 is the Psalm where David recounts the story how he goes to the town of Gath, which is in Philistia, which would have made a lot of sense for him to go into an enemy territory. So Saul wouldn't follow him there, but they recognize him when he's there. And what does he do?
He acts like he's gone mad and he escapes. He's really creative in how he escapes. He acts like he's gone mad. Here's what I'm saying is that just here in the 50s of the Psalms, what you have is this individuals who are enemies, whole groups of people who are enemies, the Ziphites and the Philistines. You have of course Saul and you have Doeg.
Maybe you actually remember this. In Psalm 56, one of the things that it says is, "What can flesh do to me? I mean, if God's for me, what can other people do to me?" And we had thought about how pandemics and lockdowns and massive increases in depression, all these sorts of things make us go, "Man, the flesh can do a lot."
And David says, "You know what? With the Lord, you are still safe. You're still safe. His mercy is for you. His salvation is for you."
So here's what I'm trying to point out is that here in this passage at least, there's this dynamic of seeking salvation from a specific individual and also from groups of people. And that seems kind of basic.
But I want you to think about this. Think about the singular person that David is seeking salvation from, Saul. Many of you know this. Saul was actually anointed by God, right, by Samuel to be the king. He was put in that place of power to exercise that power for the good of those who were under him. David should have found refuge under Saul and his power. Instead, he's fleeing from him. Saul should have had David's best interest in mind.
And the fact is that that's actually one of the great enemies so many people experience in the world. Somebody who should have actually had your best interest in mind and abuses that power. Many people can recount about how the most scarring thing in their life was how a teacher spoke to them or how a parent abused them, how they demeaned them with their words.
So many people know how absolutely scarring it is to have a father particularly. And I think that's partly why the instructions for fathers in the New Testament are don't provoke your children to anger, to wrath. It's because the father says, "You know what, kid? The Bible tells you to honor and obey me. And I'm going to do anything I can to make sure you do it." And you know how utterly crushing that can be. One person, one person in power has been put there properly can absolutely actually be your worst enemy.
Some of you know how often this takes place in the context of a boss. You show up, you put your time in, and yet nothing is ever right. So many people can speak to the dynamics of pastors who abuse their authority, their place, and they crush others, or they spiritually abuse others, or they sexually abuse others.
It's doubtful that many people have been like Saul to you. They've been actually out to kill you and sought you and sought where you were hiding in the cave. But it's actually very likely that most of us have actually experienced somebody who's over us, who's abused that authority. And they have been enemies of God and enemies of you. And this psalm is telling you, you can say, "Lord, they're like lions. They're out to get me. Save me from this physical enemy."
But it's also groups of people. And I think this is actually really helpful too because it's true that sin is something that's inside of us and oftentimes works itself out in ways that are harmful to others. But sin is not just always personal, but it also can actually be systemic and it can be social and there could be sins that whole groups of people grab onto. They can be collective. Sins can have systemic effects. Systems or groups of people can be used together to harm an individual or harm another whole group of people.
That's something that's true in the Bible. We all know right now that Putin is largely leading the war against Ukraine, but it's not just Putin. And everybody knows that. There's all kinds of other people involved, right?
This week I spent some time a little while watching this new documentary on Prime Video called "Shiny Happy People." I don't know if any of you all have seen this. Many of you probably should see it. But it's sort of telling some of the story of the Duggar family, that huge family that had like 19 kids that was on TLC quite a few years back. If you know that their oldest Josh Duggar is in prison and was so because of promulgating content, online content that he shouldn't have had and all of that. But the story is not just about Josh or about his father Jim Bob or about his mother or about this huge family. It seems like the big thing that it's about is the Institute for Biblical Life Principles. It has the word "Bible" in it. It's this huge organization, largely of course run by Bill Gothard, as the whole system. It's a whole system that has so often built abusive situations time and time and time again.
What I'm suggesting to you is this passage is saying that enemies can be individuals and they can be whole groups of people. And the Bible itself is saying, "They're latest before the Lord. Ask him to save."Ask him to show up. Ask him to save. Ask him to do something about it. I need salvation, Lord, from this authority who's abusing it. I need salvation, Lord, from this whole group of Christians.
Okay, let me shift a little bit. What I'm suggesting to you is that part of the thing that's saying, "Be merciful to me. Save me," is from actually just really physical people, individuals and groups. I think that's a big part of what's being said here. But I also think there's this really little detail here that we would lose something if we skimmed over.
So verse one, let me read it again for you. "Be merciful to me, O God. Be merciful to me. For in you my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge till the storms of destruction pass by."
Here's the thing. What we learned from that title is that David is in the cave. Little FYI, actually, in Hebrew, the title is always the first verse, so that would be verse two in Hebrew. But the cave, the cave, is in the midst of actually a whole series of limestone caves. In fact, there is a national park in Israel now that is called the Park of Agilim. And you know how big it is? It's 12,000 acres.
It's a huge park. And there's hiking trails and biking trails, and there's four different archeological sites. But the thing you need to understand is that the Cave of Agilim wasn't just some tiny, tiny cave. There were probably multiple caves in the region of Agilim, which is actually a place that we first learned about all the way back in Genesis 38.
But it's talking specifically about the cave. There would have been a specific one that people would have known that maybe people would have gone to find refuge. It was a special cave that was maybe deeper down into this solid rock that you could hide.
Imagine though that this would have been something that people would have known about. Maybe they would have even dug it out. Limestone caves all around the world are actually oftentimes dug out for various purposes.
Some of you maybe have seen pictures of the Ear of Dionysius on Sicily. It's an enormous 70 feet high dug out cave into the limestone. We're not really sure why it was dug out, but it keeps going back into this limestone a long ways. Have any of you been to mammoth caves in Kentucky? Maybe a couple of you have been to mammoth caves in Kentucky. That is the largest limestone cave in the world. People say it's 400 miles of caves in mammoth caves.
This is a limestone cave in Israel. It would have been a place, the cave, would have been a place where people knew they could go hide. What I'm suggesting to you is that he is in the place of refuge.
What we find out is that God did meet him there. He brought other people to him, his family and his mighty men. They came to meet him there at the cave of Agilim. What he ultimately says is, "This is not my refuge. You're my refuge."
He says, "For in you my soul takes refuge. In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge." Just after he'd mentioned the cave. To quote this well-known commentator, Derek Kidner, he says this, "You see, solid rock even by itself can be a trap as well as a stronghold. Even the places that we seek refuge can be traps as well as strongholds."
Let me give you an example, something I've mentioned at least once before to you. A friend of mine was in my Bible study as a freshman in college at Western Washington University. We also played on some intramural soccer teams together. He was really good at soccer. A few years after I graduated, I learned that he, in a soccer game, had injured his knee really badly. He had actually married another one of my good friends. He had injured his knee and he actually needed surgery. He got some pain medication after this surgery for the sake of his knee.
We know what happened. This place that he went for refuge in the midst of that pain actually became a deep addiction. What happened is that his wife eventually found stacks of credit card statements that he had maxed out, new credit cards that he had opened up, just tons and tons of debt so that he could get more pain medication. The very thing he went to for refuge in the midst of that pain, saying, "Be merciful to me and save me from this," became the actual thing that led to their own divorce the next year.
What I'm suggesting to you is any other refuge, even possibly good places of refuge like the cave, can actually be to your detriment. God alone is your salvation.
Think about this. We all know that some of us, and probably all of us at times, take refuge in things like substances and food and exercise. Let's just exercise enough to not think about something. Let me just read a book. Good things can become places where we actually run to instead of the Lord. He's saying no other place will be your salvation. You alone is my refuge.
You know this. The devil never creates the Bible. You cannot find the devil creating. You can find him distorting good things. A lot of times you might run to a good thing to find your refuge from this situation where something's happening. You're like, "I need to get away from that." You run to this good thing, and then that good thing, you think it's just going to feed you and it's going to save you, and it becomes your very destruction.
I think this is why actually we have this refrain in verse 5 and then again in verse 11. "Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let your glory be over all the earth."
Because he's saying, "Let me see that you're actually above all of these things. Let me see that you're above these people that are running after me, these individuals and these groups, and even the places where I'm going for refuge. Let me see that you're more weighty, you're more glorious than all these other things, that your salvation can actually be for me, that you exist outside of the realm of this place. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens. Let me look to you alone for salvation and show yourself.
Show yourself to be the one who can show up and save. Be my solid rock because even the solid rock, as Skinner said, can be a trap as well as a stronghold, the solid rock that we look to in this life.
Saved: We Need to Sing
Okay, I want to move from this idea in this passage that it's saying we need salvation to we need to sing. And this is a move that's very common in the Psalms. A lot of the Psalms actually speak specifically about singing and praising and lifting up your voices to the Lord. And I'm going to make this pretty short.
Let me start with this.
How many of you, other than my wife, have heard of the earthquake game in college football? The earthquake game? All right, it's okay. You're going to learn about it today.
So the earthquake game took place on October 8th in 1988. And it was a game between, at the time, undefeated Auburn University, where Melise spent one year, and LSU Tigers, which is the far superior team. Amen.
And this game was really interesting because it's absolutely dominated by defense. In the first half, LSU only managed to get one drive that was over 10 yards long. They only had one first down the whole first half. The score after the first half was actually only one field goal that was scored in the last two minutes by the Auburn kicker. And then actually, up until almost the very end of the second half, the score was just six to zero because that same kicker got one more field goal for Auburn.
So here's how it goes. Okay, Auburn is ahead by six to zero with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter. And LSU's quarterback, Tommy Hodson, drove the team down the field before throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass, and he wins the game. Now here's what happens. This minute, when you think there's no way we're going to win this, we have had one down that's gotten more than 10 yards. We've had one first down, and it's six to zero. We haven't been able to make anything happen, and then they finally make it happen at the end.
What does a crowd do at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge when that touchdown happens? They go crazy, right? I don't know exactly how this is. I know all of you know experiences in your life where you're like, "Wow, we were saved. We made it." We, as if we threw the ball. Right? Here's what I'm saying. You cannot help but sing.
You cannot help but sing and cheer and be enthralled by this amazing thing that happens. And so here's actually what happens, right? The crowd goes crazy so much that there is an earthquake registered on a seismograph located a thousand feet from the stadium at the Howell Russell Geoscience Complex. And it literally, the Richter scale goes off because of what happened in that game.
It's amazing. You cannot help but sing.
Christians have always been a singing people. Did you hear Dawn read from Exodus 15? You know the context of this song? They have just been brought out from Egypt. They've made their way to the Red Sea and they're like, "Well, there's no way. There's this one dude, Pharaoh, coming after us." And then there's this whole group of chariots and riders who are coming after us. There's no way. We're doomed. God makes a way right through the Red Sea. And they get to the other side of the sea and what do they do? They sing because God alone is their refuge. The only hope in this life. Of course we're going to sing. Grab a tambourine. Come on.
And in case you're wondering, it's not just Maryam and actually the ladies who are dancing. If you know the whole chapter, actually, that's the last part after everybody else has been singing. They just keep singing. They're like, "Wait, we stopped? Let's grab some more tambourines and keep going."
Okay, this is the movement in Scripture time and time and time again. And of course it's the movement here in this psalm. I mean, it says, "My heart is steadfast, I will guard my heart steadfast. I will sing, make melody, awake my glory, awake, oh, harp and lyre. I will awake the dawn. I will give thanks to you, Lord, among the peoples. I will sing praises to you among the nations."
C.S. Lewis in his book, Reflections on the Psalms, actually says in reference to this psalm that it was raucous. He actually says, he was in the Church of England, he says, "As Anglicans aren't very good at being raucous." He says, "We should learn something from the Orthodox and the Catholics." And I was like, "I don't know what he's talking about. Maybe we need to learn something from the Pentecostals or something." But he says the point is that the psalms often make this move to something that is loud, crashing symbols, multiple instruments, coming together and saying, "Let's sing. Let's create an earthquake." Because of what God has done.
Now, I want to—so I want you to see that this psalm actually says that we need salvation that's only found in the true refuge of God and that that leads us to the need for singing. But I want to end with this, and I want to end with this idea that our Lord Jesus is the great song leader. We saw that in Zephaniah 3 and I want to read that again. But I want you to notice actually how—this is something that Dietrich Bonhoeffer mentions quite a bit—how Jesus is the first person and the primary person that can say every single one of the psalms. They're first true of him before he leads us. Okay. So look with me down at verse 6.
It says this, "They set a net for my steps." Meaning there's a group of people that are out to get you. My soul was bowed down. I mean, I'm picturing Jesus sweating blood saying, "Lord, take this cup from me. Yet not my will, but yours be done." Because he knows they're prowling around like lions. They dug a pit in my way. They're saying, "We've got him. He is in the grave. He's done with."
And it says, "But they've fallen into it themselves. The tables turn."
God doesn't stay in the grave.
He comes up from the grave.
What I'm suggesting to you is that Jesus can first sing this song even better than we can. And it's partly because of that that he also becomes this great worship leader that leads all of God's people together, praising, singing, lifting their voices up. Because Satan, sin, and death, and all the enemies, and all the places we look to refuge other than God, none of these places are anything compared to the one whose glory is exalted above the heavens and whose glory is over the earth.
And so Jesus, we would say, is the great song leader in Zephaniah 3 saying, let me read this again, "The Lord your God's in your midst. He's a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love. He will exalt over you with singing.
The Lord has become our salvation. And because of that, he's also our great song leader."
Every summer Peter and an occasional guest speaker take us through the Psalms. Of the Psalms Luther said " the Psalter is a book of all the saints, and everyone, whatever his situation may be, finds psalms and words in it that fit his situation and apply to his case so exactly that it seems they were put in this way only for his sake..."