"Our task is to learn, as did David, that God is committed to those who are committed to Him."

An intensive study guide to help readers fully understand and appreciate the portion of the Old Testament called the Book of Psalms has been carefully organized by preacher and teacher Deaver. The 150 sacred works in the book were mainly composed by David, a shepherd who became King of Israel and was said to be “a man after God’s own heart.” These psalms, sometimes referred to as songs, show David’s full humanity and his deep devotion to God throughout his personal struggles. Deaver believes that the Book of Psalms stress the personal tests of faith to which we are all subjected. Thus David, who had been a shepherd and knew the duties associated with overseeing the flock, could sincerely declare, “The Lord is my shepherd.”

Deaver initiates his guide with instructions on how it can be used, either by groups or in individual Bible study. Each psalm is a focus for one lesson or meditation. He then enumerates the psalms, providing for each a title of his devising, followed by a “Background,” which is comprised of a condensed version of the wording of the psalm. The historical context and other relevant information are found in this and other segments. “Analysis” cites verses that express the psalm’s major themes. He then gives a “Fundamental Message” and “Lessons” that can be learned through the psalm. The final portion of these individual treatments is a series of questions with suggested readings from other parts of the Bible. The text of the psalms is not included, with the author’s assumption that those who utilize them will refer to their own copies of the Bible.

Delving into the book’s titular psalm, the 23rd, one perhaps most familiar to the greatest number of readers regardless of religious affiliation, Deaver offers the name “The Love of God Through the Eyes of a Shepherd.” He suggests in his background statement that David recognizes his helplessness and “observes the marvelous way God supplies his every need.” A reference cited from elsewhere in the Bible concerns the psalm’s statement that God’s “goodness and mercy” will follow the psalmist throughout his life. This is found in Hebrews 11:6, which states that God is the “rewarder of those who diligently seek him.”

Deaver is well qualified to construct this unique collection. He has written several Bible study guides focused on both the Old and New Testaments as well as the Book of Revelation. Further, he has made a study of linguistics and has lived, preached, and taught on five continents, giving academic and emotional weight to his analyses of the language and meaning of the various psalms, their historical context, and David’s personal viewpoint. Deaver’s composition is spiritually grounded, reasonable, and targeted to a specific audience—those who will utilize his work for either group or individual concentration. He presents detailed guidelines for the leader or facilitator of a “Small Group Bible Study,” including his permission for copies of the materials to be made and distributed, suggestions on preparation for discussion, and methodology for addressing questions. For this reason and for the richness of the Book of Psalms as spiritual self-analysis, it is easy to envision Deaver’s well-researched manual being widely accessed and appreciated.

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