While there is one bookcase of reference material that I have kept over the years, there are a few of those books I consider 'must haves': The Bible Knowledge Commentary, a two-volume set, Vines Complete Expository Dictionary, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, A Biblical Theology of the Old Testament, George Ladd's A Theology of the New Testament, and A.T. Robertson's A Harmony of the Gospels and my 'go to' book, Rienecker's Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament.
Of all the books on my shelf, there is one the is prized above all the others that is simply titled The Psalms. It was published over 160 years ago, the author is unknown, identified only as G.V.W. It is a rendering of the Psalms written in old King James language and using the Hebrew names of God, such as Elohim and Jehovah.
The Psalms begins with the words, Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of Jehovah (LORD -- the covenant name for God), and ends with, Let everything that hath breath praise Jah (the Lord). In the psalms, God reveals Himself to us. We read about His great mercy and His faithfulness; Thy mercy, O Jehovah is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds (Psalm 36:5). As readers we are drawn to the One who is our Helper; Elohim is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
His divine attributes are revealed to us throughout the Psalms. He is the Almighty (Psalm 59:5), the One who created all things (Psalm 148:5), the God who watches over us (Psalm 121:8), and the One who guides us (Psalm 25:5). He is holy (Psalm 99:3), righteous and just (Psalm 89:14), compassionate, gracious (Psalm 86:15) and loving (Psalm 144:2). He is our source of joy (Psalm 1:11) and hope (Psalm 62:5).
The psalms speak to our humanity and the relationship we have with the Divine; they invite us to worship and praise our God, in every circumstance. I will bless Jehovah at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth (Psalm 34:1). We are exhorted to, taste and see that Jehovah is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psalm 34:8). How often do we find ourselves turning the psalms to find comfort, praying as the Psalmist did, May your unfailing love be my comfort (Psalm 119:76)? How many of us have turned to David's 23rd Psalm for reassurance, to be reminded, The Lord is my shepherd...Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever (23:1,6)?
As I take some time to rest, refresh and renew, I will be withdrawing to my place of refuge, our back deck, to spend some time with my Lord, to meet Him once again in the pages of the Psalms. May you too, find encouragement, hope and joy as you meditate on the Psalms.