A traditional formal Italian meal has at least six courses. You start with an aperitvo of small dishes of simple foods like nuts, olives, or cheeses accompanied by a bubbly beverage. Next is the antipastisi which often takes the form of the now popular charcuterie platter. This leads to the first course, primo, a generally meat free pasta or risotto. The secondi is a heavier course centred around meat and served with insalata and side dishes called contorni. If that doesn’t quite satisfy there remains the formaggi e frutta, a course dedicated to local fruits and cheeses. Which gets us, finally, to the dolce and caffe (dessert and coffee). The production is full of delicious intentionality from start to finish! As a whole, it is a brilliantly conceived culinary masterpiece that beautifully builds as you eat your way through it (and perhaps your belt setting whilst at it). Yet, any one of the individual components could stand alone as a simple meal with a friend.
On Tuesday I encouraged you to see the Psalms as an intentionally constructed whole, with themes and movement. It has shape and structure that serves the ultimate goal of presenting the story of God’s sovereign rule through his Anointed Son. That said, I do not want to take away from the profoundly personal and devotional nature of each individual psalm. Just as a sumptuous formal Italian meal consists of individual courses that can stand on their own, each psalm is whole in itself, and needs to be appreciated as such. Tomorrow we will look at a specific psalm to apply this.
Something to Praise:
One of the ways we see the sovereign majesty and care of the Lord is in the construction of the Psalms. It is no surprise to me that the Psalms are consistently cited as the favourite book of the bible. God has inspired its writers to sew them together in such a way that his glory is on display from tip to tail, and yet we can find that one green pasture within the whole that speaks to us so personally, on a particular day, that they feel as though God wrote it just for us!