Philip Yancey wrote, “Strangely, rediscovery may strike a deeper chord than discovery.” (What’s So Amazing About Grace, 52). There are fewer books in the Bible that is more true of than the Psalms. Written over half a century and read now for three thousand years the psalms are valuable in the process of rediscovering God. Much of the Old Testament is narrative or story. The psalms are different. The psalms don’t narrate the story. The psalms reflect on the story.
When we read the narratives of the Old Testament there is a process of discovery at work as we receive glimpses of who God is and how he relates to his people. When we read the psalms we are reading the thoughts of those who are both familiar with the story that existed up to that point yet they were also active participants in the further unfolding of God’s story with his people in their own day. For instance, David could reflect on the events of the Exodus experience as he did in Psalm 80:8. He could also rediscover much about God’s dealings with himself and his own parallels with the exodus experience as he does later on in Psalm 80 (80:19). As the authors of psalms put their thoughts to the parchment their reflections on God’s interaction with their life in the present in light of the stories of the past provide a moment of introspection that results in a rediscovery of God that, as Yancey said, is often deeper and more profound than the initial discovery. It is one thing to remember the history of your people (for example the Exodus). It is quite another to relate that experience to what is happening in your own life.
God’s dealings with his people includes his dealings with you and his dealings with me. It doesn’t stop in Egypt or at the Jordan. It has an impact on us today as well. There is much to discover about the Bible but for the mature Christian much of the richness of scripture comes through rediscovering what we have already known. The core of the Gospel is really pretty simple but it is certainly not mundane or “ordinary”. Let us hear what many of us have heard every week for our entire lives as if we are hearing it for the first time. Let us hear what we have heard so many times in light of our present situation (whether good or bad) and learn something new about God, because we have never before been where we are today in life and that changes how the same scriptures and the same stories impact us. Let us rediscover God.