Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: Sing a New Song

Sing a New Song: A Woman's Guide to the Psalms. Lydia Brownback. 2017. Crossway. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Lydia Brownback guides readers slowly through the book of Psalms. This is not a book to be rushed through. Not only because it is a devotional book. But also because the approach--though in some ways a devotional approach--is not a quick rush. The goal isn't for readers to spend two minutes a day with a particular psalm--end of story. Brownback's book is an invitation to a relationship, an invitation to meditate on the psalm and meet the author face to face.

In the preface, Brownback suggests ways readers can best use the book. She suggests that readers can use the book to build confidence in prayer, to prepare a Bible study, to journal your emotions, to weave Psalms with hospitality. (Psalms is not a book of me, me, me--but of WE.)

There is a chapter--an entry--for each psalm, all 150. Each entry consists of the following:

  • Theme. A one sentence overview of the psalm.
  • Harmony. Something about the nature of the psalm and how it fits into the big picture of the Psalter.
  • Singing in Tune. A verse-by-verse breakdown of the psalm.
  • Musical Notes. How the psalm reveals God and his grace.
  • Sing the Song. A suggestion for related Scripture reading and personal application.

Perhaps now you can understand why I said this wasn't a book to be rushed through.

I am not sure why Lydia Brownback limits her audience to women. There is nothing specifically "for women" about this book. The psalms are for everyone. And the studies and applications are for everyone.

From "Singing in Tune" Psalm 1
Turning from worldliness isn't a onetime choice; it's constant--every moment of every day. Whose counsel will guide us? What will fill our time, and with whom will we fill it? The psalmist makes it seem so simple, and it actually is that simple--it's just not easy. But by fixating on God's Word, it gets easier. That's because we're changed in the process. Over time, the pull of worldly power is weakened, and our delight in God's ways grows stronger (Psalm 1:2). So does our wisdom, for we realize that delighting in God's ways isn't something to do as a way to get more blessing--the delight is the blessing.
From "Musical Notes" Psalm 7
Every human being is accountable to God--both bullies and bullied--and in great need of the deliverance found only in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus was bullied on our behalf, the mistreated who trust in him are among those whom God promises to shield and deliver. 
From "Sing the Song" Psalm 7
David asks God to judge him according to his righteousness (Psalms 7:3-5), but this is no claim to sinlessness. His confidence in asking is that God is his shield (Psalm 7:10). Explain how Psalm 5:1-5 helps you sing Psalm 7.
"Theme" Psalm 23
God watches over his people and guides the course of their individual lives.
"Harmony" Psalm 23
David composed Psalm 23 to inspire confidence in the Lord's care.
"Sing the Song" Psalm 23
Describe what John 10:11-15; Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 2:24-25; and Revelation 7:13-17 add to your understanding of our Great Shepherd.
"Harmony" Psalm 25
David composed Psalm 25 as a lament. These prayerful songs express perplexity, anguish, and even discouragement during times of overwhelming circumstances, and they teach us that God welcomes boldness and honesty when we cry out to him. Some laments include an acknowledgement of sin, as we find here in Psalm 25. These songs remind us God has promised never to turn away from those who truly seek him. 

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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