02 (February 2015)

Songs of a Suffering King

John Harris John Harris retired from the pastorate at Mirfield Evangelical Church in 2006.
01 February, 2015 1 min read
Songs of a Suffering King

J V Fesko
Reformation Heritage Books
126, £6.24
ISBN: 978-1-60178-310-3
Star Rating: 3

An associate professor of systematic theology, the author has produced a thought-provoking study of Psalms 1-8 in this little volume. He maintains that the Psalter is not just a collection of sacred songs to be dipped into randomly, but a systematic and structured book. Indeed, the first eight psalms follow a definite pattern with a central theme (hence this book’s title).

As the life and experiences of David prefigure Christ, every psalm is said to be Christological (not just those that are overtly messianic). Fesko suggests that, had we fuller records of Christ’s prayer life during his earthly ministry, this Old Testament book may reveal the kinds of things he might have prayed.

Consequently, we find the conclusion that the ‘righteous man’ of Psalm 1 is primarily Jesus (although the need for believers to be Christ-like is a clear application). I have never heard the psalm expounded in this way, but it provided an interesting new perspective.

Following this approach, the remaining chapters speak of the suffering, deliverance and exaltation of the Messiah.

Sometimes his pursuit of this structure appears a little forced, but it certainly leads to a fresh reading of the Psalter. Each chapter is followed by helpful questions for further study, along with a metrical version of the psalm under discussion.

John Harris

John Harris retired from the pastorate at Mirfield Evangelical Church in 2006.
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