The Bitesized Bible
28 February 2021
There can be no doubt that the biblical book of Psalms is wide awake when it comes to devotions to God. With intense enthusiasm, the Palms pour out a powerful encouragement for praising God. So much so, that to offer a bitesize version of the book, borders on the disrespectful. However, that is the case with every biblical book. Written by those with a specific passion for the God of Abraham, the depth of faith personified within the Psalms is unrivalled. Characters such as David, Moses and Ezra dominate the Psalm landscape with prayers, meditations, and songs of worship that focus upon the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In fact, the overall faith Journey of the people of Israel is constantly under the Psalmist microscope, asking questions of it, challenging its waywardness, and bringing comfort to its every affliction.
For many, the Psalms serve as the Hymn Book and Prayer Book of the whole Bible. As the longest book, it sits as the middle book in the chronology of all 66 biblical books. With regards to authorship, many Christians accept David as the main contributor, place the writings at around 1,000 BC. Psalms such as those credited to Moses, pre-date those assumed to be David’s, in the same way as those credited to Ezra, post-date David. The question now is how to bitesize the whole book, so as to encapsulate the books overarching purpose from a Christian perspective?
A focus on Psalm 23 could work. Why? Well, historically, and bearing in mind that chapters and verses only appeared in writing constructions almost 2000 years after the Psalms were written, what we call Psalm 23 was more than likely part of a bigger temple scroll that included those writings we have separated as Psalm 22 and Psalm 24. When read as a single narrative, this block of Psalmist writing underpins the crucifixion narrative, particularly as it begins with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” - as in Matthew 27:46. The narrative concludes with a powerful signpost to a risen Saviour by proclaiming that the Lord of Hosts is the “King of Glory” – as in John 1:14. However, the word glory stems from the Hebrew expression for ‘convincing argument’ and the Psalms reveal something more profound than Jesus as a ‘convincing argument’ for God’s greatness, so the Psalm 22,23,24 combination is not enough for Bitesize representation. I suggest the responsibility falls to Psalm 118.
Nestled between 117 – the shortest chapter in the whole Bible, and 119, the longest chapter in the whole bible, Psalm 118 has 29 verses. The psalm sits central in the whole Bible. Verse 14 is therefore pivotal. It says: “The Lord is my strength and my might; he has become my Salvation” – meaning that God is Salvation. The Hebrew for this is Yeshua, or Joshua in Greek. In English, it is Jesus. This offers Psalm 118 verse 14 as the stronger signpost to God being prepared to come among us for our sake, regardless of what we would do to the human manifestation of Prevenient Grace.
The image that goes with this is my first attempt at drawing and painting with online tools. A new type of creative composition. In essence that what the Psalms can be to all Christians. Creative compositions that are new every morning because we, as individuals, are made new every morning in Christ. The word Psalm is translated from Hebrew musical terms that mean to pluck the string of an instrument. We are but one note in the melody of God. In unity we become the tune of faith, a beautiful noise that is far more convincing than the cacophony of argument.
© 2020 David Hollingsworth
Last Updated: 28 February 2021