PSALMS—Songs For Sorrow As Well As Joy

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Cries from the Heart

(NIV Student Bible, notes by Philip Yancey and Tim Stafford)

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 32:7 (NIV)

Here at the very center of the Bible are songs, rising up like a tune from its heart. They capture the innermost thoughts and prayers of Old Testament people—and they still speak directly to our needs.

For every emotion and mood you can find a psalm to match. The psalms wrestle with the deepest sorrow and ask God the hardest questions about suffering and injustice. Their voice is refreshingly spontaneous. They do not tip flowery compliments toward God: they cry out to him, or shout for joy before him.

After you read these poems, you can’t think of the Old Testament as dry and rule-bound. Nor is the Old Testament God distant and impersonal. In almost every psalm you find the presence of God, not a philosophical principle, but an active, strong, and loving ruler—a God who makes a difference in life.

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