06 (June 2013)

This Brief Journey

This Brief Journey
Michael Bentley Michael, aged 76, is a retired Baptist minister, chairman of the Bracknell Forest Society and author of 16 books.
31 May, 2013 2 min read

This brief journey — loving and living the Psalms of Ascents (Psalms 120-127)
Rhett Dodson
Day One Publications, 128 pages, £6.00, ISBN: 978-1-84625-354-6

To be a pilgrim — further reflections on the Psalms of Ascents (Psalm 128-134)
128 pages, £6.00, ISBN: 978-1-84625-355-3
Star rating: 4

From the time that I preached my first sermon, almost 60 years ago, I have gained much help and encouragement from other believers.

I was advised to turn to the Psalms when I was at a loss to know what the Lord wanted me to preach about. My friend said, ‘The Psalms are the book of human experience. In them we see men and women struggling with their hopes and fears, and the pressures of sin as they seek to live holy lives’.

In my library I have many expositions of the Psalms, but none of them are as simply written or as easy to understand as these two short volumes. The author, who has been a seminary professor, takes our hands and leads us gently through each of these 15 psalms, pointing out helpful lessons on the way.

Psalms 120-134 are called the Psalms of Ascents, because they were songs that Israelites sang on their way to Jerusalem for the three annual pilgrim feasts: Unleavened bread (Passover), Weeks (Pentecost) and Booths (Tabernacles).

Day One has served us well in publishing these books. They are remarkably free of theological jargon. My soul was sometimes warmed and then at other times challenged. The author constantly points us to the need for prayer. He warns us that our spiritual life will shrivel up without prayer.

Another theme, that regularly arises in these psalms and in our experience, is opposition. Dr Dodson quotes J. I. Packer: ‘Spiritual warfare made the Puritans what they were. They accepted conflict as their calling, seeing themselves as their Lord’s soldier-pilgrims’ (vol. 1, p.23).

These books are well illustrated by contemporary events as well as the writings of God’s people from past ages. They will be invaluable to new believers and of great benefit to those who have walked the ‘pilgrim way’ for many years.

Michael Bentley

Michael, aged 76, is a retired Baptist minister, chairman of the Bracknell Forest Society and author of 16 books.
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