About This Blog

Thursday, October 16, 2014

"The Psalm 119 Experience" (John Kramp)

TITLE: The Psalm 119 Experience: A Devotional Journey You Will Not Forget
AUTHOR: John Kramp
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing, 2014, (256 pages).

It is the longest psalm in the Bible. It is also the longest book in the entire Bible. Comprising 176 verses divided into 22 sections, this psalm is one of the world's most loved and most quoted and has William Wilberforce repeating the psalm by heart in great comfort. According to author John Kramp, it is possible to remember all 176 verses in the psalm. More importantly, it will be an unforgettable "a devotional journey." He notes that Ps 119 is based on the 22-alphabets of the Hebrew language. Each eight-line section would be linked to the next via a literary device "bridge." It needs to be simple with memory tunes. Very soon, for the busy executive, one song leads to five, then twelve, then fifteen, and soon covering the entire psalm. Themes start to form and the ancient psalm becomes very relevant, very enriching, and deeply personal. He is experiencing what the Psalmist then was experiencing. What started as a song stuck on as a powerful instrument of faith. Each chapter comprises five days of devotions followed by a review of the particular section of the Psalm called "Lyrics." There are themes of righteousness, seeking to live purely, appreciating the Word, Truth, joy, the goodness of God, faith and faithfulness, and many more.

As I read this devotional, I find the Psalms gradually drawing me into its beauty and prose. Truth and beauty flow together providing a very rich and calming effect. Kramp gives a strange suggestion toward the end of the book to read more of the Bible "rapidly" rather tan to read less of the Bible "slowly." For me, I feel we need to strike a balance and at the same time, to keep an eye on what the Word itself is telling us. For instance, we need to pause when passages grip us, move faster as the Spirit hastens us, and slow down when our hearts are being formed. Each of us are different and we need to understand the way we read and meditate and not to be too hasty in adopting wholesale any "proven" methods. Only the Spirit knows us fully and completely. When God teaches us, we need to listen. I think the length of Ps 119 is instructive in itself. It shows me that the range of human emotions are extremely wide and not easily compressed. Time is need to untangle the mangled emotions we have from time to time or straighten the crooked parts of our lives.

Read rapidly to discover the themes. Read slowly to mine the depths of the emotions behind each verse. Read constantly to keep ourselves aware of the presence of God as we devote ourselves to the Word. One of the things Kramp does is to avoid telling anyone about his plans. That was why there is no need to impress people, or simply to boast. He provides some encouraging steps which I find helpful for the busy person. Written as a busy man to other busy persons, Kramp shows us that it is possible, manageable, and thoroughly enjoyable. At the end of the book are 22 songs. These songs can be purchased on iTunes via "Psalm 119 Experience Music." You can listen to some samples Kramp had put together via podcasts here.

What helps me appreciate this book is the determination and devotion that Kramp has toward reading more of the Word, digging deeper, and sharing widely his experience. As I reflect on Psalm 119, it is literally asking us to do the same. My advice to readers is: If this book pushes you to desire more of the Bible, and to read the Bible more, it would have worth every penny you spend on it.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of B and H Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

No comments:

Post a Comment