The psalms are emotional poems, and women are more emotional than men. So goes the logic of the psalms as material for women’s Bible studies. Men may be thought to take up the psalms at times of emotional crisis (job loss/stress, family health concerns, etc.) or when they are not sure what to study next in their own Bible reading (just choose a psalm…).
Our men’s summer Bible study takes up the psalms for several reasons. The psalms:
1. were written by men. King David, Moses and the unnamed Hebrew poets write from the male perspective. They write, albeit emotionally, about conquest, war and nature–not just the beauty of nature but its threatening power. They write about competition, weakness, sin, repentance, death, family, children, victory. The psalms could be thought as a manual of manhood.
2. provide instruction as much as emotional solace. These Hebrew poems were meant to instruct generations concerning God’s faithfulness to His people and establish a frame for how they should respond to God’s creative revelation. Natural phenomena are detailed by the psalmists time and again, purposefully repeated, so as to indoctrinate Israel in the theology of God as Creator. “He is the LORD our God; He judgments govern the whole earth” (Ps 105:7 CSB). Yes, His judgements (decisions about reward and punishment for individuals and nations) stand because He caused the earth to stand. The fact that God established the heavens and the earth is the foundation (no pun intended) for the special revelation He has given in His word. The logic of Psalm 19 thus epitomizes the psalter.
3. and offer implicit encouragement for leadership. To lead, men first must follow; to teach men must first learn. And the psalms are about learning to follow God. The psalms teach men of the faith and devotion that will prosper their families and communities. And this is where we find the connection with Outreach Season: men engaging the psalms will learn to seek God; men who seek God will find themselves in positions of leadership at home and in the world; Godly leaders ultimately point people to Christ.
So, from 8-9 pm on Sunday evenings June-July men of The MCC (teen boys and up) will gather in the fellowship hall to study the Psalms. We will look at 1, 2, 16, 23, 51, 110, 118, 139 and 150. Some will be paired (1/150, 2/110) but otherwise we will look at one psalm per week. We will spend time reading, writing, discussing them; praying them. Perhaps laughing and crying, too.