In the opening pages of the Psalms, believers discover foundational truth for right living and great delight as children of God. Trusted theologian Dale Ralph Davis leads readers through a careful study of Psalms 1-12 with clear application for daily life. These beautiful Psalms see the Psalmist go through both good and terribly bad times. The righteous rely on God, and the Psalms teach us how. This book is ideal for use by small groups, as a teaching guide or for reference.
The best commentary on the Psalms is the experience of life through which God leads His people. As a young man, I confess that I found these 150 poems (generally speaking) repetitive, indistinguishable, and irrelevant. I was, of course, mistaken. It is amazing how a good dose of misery makes them come alive. But even personal experience can be usefully supplemented. This compact study of the first 12 Psalms, using the author’s own translation, is not to be missed. Unlike expositors who rush into instant typology, Dale Ralph Davis is concerned primarily to let these inspired lyrics speak to saints living and suffering in a damaged world. Always attentive to detail, he is deeply sensitive to the abiding lessons of the poetry. In this sense, he provides a marvellous primer for any new reader of the Psalms. Despite a denominational allegiance to amillennialism, he cannot avoid finding – and rejoicing in – glimpses of coming glory. His account of Psalm 2, for example, teeters on the brink of acknowledging a future messianic kingdom centred on Zion, but doesn’t quite make it. That aside, this is a superbly practical study, eminently readable, and spiced with the author’s trademark illustrations both historical and personal. His style is characteristically memorable: meditation in the Word enables “faith’s fingernails … to hang on for another day” (p 18); “David is both lured by grace yet sobered by fear – just the right packaging for worship!” (p 67); “prayer doesn’t change things, but prayer lays hold of God who changes things and who, in prayer, changes you” (p 80). I relished reading this book. You will do the same.