Discerning Reader Editorial Review
Reviewed 01/15/2008 by Tim Challies.
Recommended. Combines passionate Reformed theology, energetic expository preaching and committed evangelistic fervor together into a commentary accessible to any Christian.
Even though I only preached a few sermons from Psalms in 2007, this volume was a great addition to my shelves because it beats with a passion for all Christians to enjoy and profit from the Psalms. That is, although this commentary is built on solid exegesis, the goal is not an excellent sermon but an excellent life.
The pastoral ministry of Steve Lawson has been an inspiration to me for several years now. Here is a pastor who combines passionate Reformed theology, energetic expository preaching, and serious evangelistic fervor. All three of these are blended into the writing of this commentary on Psalms 76-150 (he also wrote the Holman volume on Psalms 1-75).
In the dedication page I was reminded of Pastor Lawson’s involvement with the Samara Theological Seminary in Russia. He wrote: “May God give the Russian church a new generation of biblical expositors who preach the Word.” I first heard of Samara via Jonathan Moorhead who is building support for his eventual ministry there.
Turn to the Introduction for a 3-page summary of the church’s use of Psalms since the Reformation - Luther, Calvin, Bunyan, Edwards, Carey, Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, etc. - Lawson knows his church history. He writes:
“God has used the Psalms to bless his servants over the centuries in immeasurable ways. This is only a sampling of countless other examples that could be offered here. The power of the Psalms to capture and conquer human hearts is unsurpassed. These incidents from church history are intended to whet your appetite for the Psalms with the hope that you will delve more fully into this book.”
You really get the idea that Lawson wants to pass on a Psalm-based passion for God to all Christians, not just those in the process of preparing sermons. So, in addition to the normal use of a commentary as a tool for preachers, I heartily recommend this volume as a devotional aid. Meditate on the biblical chapter, and then read the 3-5 pages from Lawson for devotional profit. He says:
“The Psalms is a vast ocean of truth, but it is a challenge to stretch one’s arms around it. Consequently, the Psalms often remains untaught and unpreached. To reverse such a trend, this brief commentary on the Psalms, limited as it is, is a humble attempt to make this great book more easily accessible to you. These pages survey each of the psalms in the second half of the Psalter and are intended to help you grasp their richness. I hope this book will encourage you to teach and preach the Psalms. My prayer is that David’s treasury will become all the more treasured by you- for God’s glory and your good.”
And, if for no other reason, get this book for all the “power-quotes” from great figures in church history, each relevant to the chapter under discussion.