As I am reading through the Bible, I am currently in the Psalms — what a great book! Sadly, for some, Psalms seems to be preached only as filler material in the summer holidays. There is so much potential for preaching in the book of Psalms. Let me offer three possibilities opened up by preaching from this book:
1. You can introduce new treasure to people. People tend to be familiar with some Psalms. Probably 23. Perhaps 24, 1, 110, 121, 127, 51, 8, 73, 37, 27. But what about Psalm 36? Or 33? There is a whole host of Psalms that tend to get ignored in the annual audition for three filler sermons. And don’t just stick to the filler sermon approach. Why not preach Psalm 34 at the start of a series on 1 Peter? It certainly was in the mind of the apostle as he wrote his epistle. Why not preach Psalm 118 in connection with Easter? It might add a new set of thoughts to the Easter considerations since Jesus would very likely have sung that with his disciples at the last supper.
2. You can connect with a different group of people. It may be a stereotype, but some have suggested that engineers enjoy epistles. They like the truth statements, logical flow, direct discourse. So if that is the case, who might appreciate the Psalms? Artists? Sure, and there are more of them than we tend to realise in every congregation. How about the suffering? Certainly. Psalms connects with different people at different times in the complexities of each personal biography.
3. You can offer a more vulnerable sermon. When David wrestles with spiritual realities, why not be more openabout the fact that we do too? Personal sin struggles, doubting God’s goodness, tendency to trust in ourselves, feelings of extreme fatigue, etc. We don’t preach to preach ourselves, but we ourselves do preach. The Psalms opens up the possibility of greater vulnerability from the preacher, and hopefully stirs vulnerability in the congregation. The Psalm writers didn’t treat God as delicate or fragile, they blasted their prayers at Him. Perhaps we can stir greater prayer in churches that tend to pray religiously, and Psalms would be a worthwhile workshop for that kind of goal.