A Promising New Psalm Study

I’ve been a fan of Christian Renewal magazine for a while now.  It strikes a remarkable balance between news and edification with thorough reporting on URCNA events, thought-provoking editorials, and spiritually challenging devotional material.  Upon arrival each issue earns the coveted place of honor on our kitchen table and its contents are promptly devoured—figuratively speaking, at least.

I was especially excited upon receiving the October 3rd, 2012 issue of CR, which includes a number of great pieces.  First off is a meditation on the priestly garments of the Old Testament by Gary Fisher.  A feature article by Peter Glover considers the question, “Does it matter what the world thinks of the church?”  Several other articles, including editorials by Dr. Brian Lee and Norm Bomer on American politics and a question-and-answer column by Rev. Doug Barnes on congregational meetings, piqued my interest immediately.  But what thrilled me above all these discoveries was the start of a new series in the “Pilgrim’s Pathway” area—a study of the Psalms.

Dr. Nelson Kloosterman of Mid-America Reformed Seminary is currently translating a contemporary devotional commentary on the Psalms by Dr. J. Douma, a professor at the Theological University of the Reformed Churches (Liberated) in the Netherlands.  Dr. Kloosterman explains,

Although these commentaries do include some technical terms familiar to trained biblical students, these occasional terms need not prevent the reader from enjoying these Bible studies as invigorating textual meditations that provide perspective on all of Scripture, and on the person and work of Jesus Christ.

While the title of this piece is “Psalms 1-2: Gateway to the Psalter,” the first installment contains only the first quarter of Douma’s commentary on Psalm 1.  It promises to be a lengthy series, but the riches Douma mines from the text make it completely worthwhile.  He begins by identifying Psalm 1 as a wisdom psalm, appropriately placed as “the gateway to the Psalter.”  Here, he says, we learn “who we are and must be: people who do not consort with the wicked but who take delight in the law of Yahweh.”

Douma proceeds to address a multitude of implications of Psalm 1.  What is the difference between the righteous and the wicked?  How can the righteous remove themselves from the wicked yet remain in the world?  Are we literally to meditate on God’s law “day and night”?  Does the “law” refer only to the Torah or to the entire Old Testament?

Additionally, Douma is quick to clarify that Psalm 1 does not describe the actual difference between the righteous and the wicked: “Very often the godly are no saints.  And the wicked can behave rather honorably.”  However, “Psalm 1 shows us the pattern of the godly and the wicked as a kind of model.  That pattern must be shown clearly and concisely.”

I won’t say more about this meditation, since I’d rather encourage you to subscribe to this magazine yourself.  My purpose is merely to point out this immensely promising devotional resource.  Dr. Kloosterman comments, “We aim to provide a sampling of these studies, and invite our readers to give us feedback on their usefulness and value as part of this magazine.   Your feedback is always welcome!”  Why not consider letting Christian Renewal know if you support their continued labors to spread excellent Reformed material like this across the globe?


3 Responses to “A Promising New Psalm Study”

  1. 1 Tony Jelsma October 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

    I concur with your appreciation of Christian Renewal. However, I might point out that Dr. Kloosterman is no longer a professor at Mid-America. He is now associated with Worldview Resources International, see http://www.worldviewresourcesinternational.com/about.html.
    Keep up the good work with this excellent blog.
    From a fellow organist.

  2. 2 Tony Jelsma October 2, 2012 at 7:51 am

    I might add that Dr. Kloosterman has also written an excellent study guide on the Psalms, entitled Walking about Zion; Singing of Christ’s Church in the Psalms, which we have studied at the Sioux Center URC.

    • 3 Michael Kearney October 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Dr. Jelsma,

      Thanks for commenting! I apologize that it took me so long to find your comments. For some reason they were flagged as “spam” and I barely saved them from going down the cyber-drain.

      Thanks for the update about Dr. Kloosterman. The information I had found on Mid-America’s website stated that he was still the Adjunct Professor of Ethics there, but that could be out-of-date. And I will certainly look into his study guide on the Psalms.

      Thank you again!


Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Welcome to URC Psalmody

We hope you'll join us as we discuss music, worship, the psalms, the church, and much more here on URC Psalmody. You can learn about the purpose of this blog here. We look forward to to seeing you in the discussions!

With this feature, just enter your email address and you'll receive notifications of new posts on URC Psalmody by email!

Join 221 other followers


%d bloggers like this: