These devotional guides to the Psalms were written over a period of sixteen years, from 2000 to 2015, as accompaniment to sermons that I preached on the Psalms. They were not written as scholarly or exegetical commentary, but as aids in processing and applying the sermons.
The sermons themselves were written over a much longer period, beginning in 1970; later, I re-wrote many of the sermons and added devotional guides. For Psalms 13 – 44, I created devotional guides that were never published in connection with the sermons on which they are based. All of the sermons were influenced by my systematic devotional reading of the Psalms from the years 1970 – 1974, during which time I translated each Psalm and then made personal observations and applications from the translation. I do not claim to be a Hebrew scholar. For my translation I leaned heavily on an inter-linear psalter, but at least I worked through the Hebrew vocabulary and syntax.
The bibliography attached to this introduction is a partial list of resources I used over the years. Three of the most useful resources were Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, and Rabbi Avroham Feuer’s Tehillim. Feuer’s commentary utilizes Talmudic, Midrashic, and Rabbinic sources that were totally new to me. The centuries of Jewish scholarship referenced by Feuer on the psalms seemed to me worthy of consideration, even if the interpretations and applications sometimes arose from very different paradigms than the evangelical Christian views I was used to. I often found Spurgeon’s hints to the “Village Preacher” helpful in suggesting outlines for sermons. As far as Matthew Henry, I agree with the evangelical luminaries Spurgeon and George Whitfield in recommending his commentary. One of my pastor friends told me that one of his seminary professors had snorted, “You can do better than Matthew Henry.” This may be true in terms of technical aspects of interpretation, but it is difficult to imagine a more helpful devotional resource, with practical applications, than Matthew Henry. Whitfield is said to have read Henry’s commentary through four times, the last time on his knees.
When in these guides I sometimes ventured into the territory of linguistics, I did so with trepidation. My seminary Hebrew professor, Dr. Donald Madvig, warned, “When you preachers make comments regarding the original languages, you almost always get it wrong.” In light of that, I tried to avoid suggesting interpretations that were not buttressed by the opinions of linguistic experts. Checking my interpretations against that of recognized linguistic experts was made easier through the use of the electronic Bible program Logos.
Each of the devotional guides is divided into seven sections. I divided them that way to provide a guide for each day of the week, Monday through Sunday. It is my prayerful hope that the reader will find these guides helpful in a devotional reading and personal application of the psalms.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and My Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
David H. Wick