‹ All Articles

Psalms 1: How I came to love the Psalms

I used to avoid the psalms. I loved OT narrative, just not the psalms.  The most common type of psalm (the laments) includes a lot of whining and complaining (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, etc.).  I had no enemies, so the imprecatory psalms (cursing psalms) felt harsh (35, 58, 109, 137).  Many of the praise psalms seem redundant (136).  I was always healthy, so the hypochondriac psalms focusing on illness (32, 38) didn’t connect with me.

But right about the time that I was assigned to teach the psalms in a course on Biblical Poetry, I started having heart problems.  When I went to see the doctor about a skin rash, the nurse said I had an irregular pulse. I was soon diagnosed with Arial Fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat).  Soon, I was on a first name basis with my cardiologist.  The cardiology nurses would ask me what I was doing there since I seemed too young to have serious heart problems.  I went on Coumadin (blood-thinner) to prevent blood clots (and to encourage bruising) and started taking beta-blockers (I never understood exactly why my betas needed to be blocked) which gave me persistent headaches.  I passed out three times, was hospitalized three times, was cardio-verted twice, had my chest shaved more times than I can count and finally underwent a cather ablation (basically shoving small tubes up my veins and arteries into my heart to calm/kill the places in my heart that
were causing the improper electrical impulses).

What Scripture did I read most during this year and a half period of constant health crisis?  Those whiny laments and hypochondriac psalms.  I don’t avoid the psalms anymore.

I’m going to start a series of blogs on the Psalms.  What types of psalms do you avoid?  Which specific psalms?  Why?