Review: Songs of a Suffering King

Charles Spurgeon once said that the study of the Psalms had, “yielded me boundless profit and ever growing pleasure”. John Calvin, in the Preface to his commentary on the Psalms, told his readers that there were not words to describe the wonder of this, “inspired book”. While those quotes are great I believe that, in one sentence, Mathew Henry hits the nail on the head when he introduces his commentary with these words; “We have now before us one of the choicest parts of the Old Testament, wherein there is so much of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that is has been called the summary of both Testaments”. This book which contains so much of Christ has been taken up afresh in our day by J.V Fesko, in his newest book, Songs of a Suffering King.

Fesko traces the theme of Christ through the Grand Christ Hymn of Psalms 1-8, by highlighting the main thrust of each chapter. Here in these first 8 chapters of the songbook of the bible, we see themes like Majesty, Vindication, and Forgiveness jump out at us. In each section, Fesko provides a running devotion, all the while keeping the reader focused on Christ. He treats deeper subjects like union with Christ with clarity as he navigates the truth contained in these verses and makes sure to note that the Scriptures constantly have Christ in mind even if just in shadow form.

Throughout this book Fesko is right to make all of the application points ending in Christ. By that I mean that Christ is always the fulfillment of every promise and the substance behind every shadow. Christ is the meaning of the Psalms and they find their completion in his life, death, and resurrection. There is simply no other way to interpret the Psalms than with Christological lenses on. I found this book extremely helpful in orienting my heart towards the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The devotional style of this short text is easily understandable and therefore endorses practical application.

Fesko includes resources in this book which may help facilitate a time of family worship through the Psalms. Not only does he include a series of questions which serve to spark further interaction, but he also includes a metrical version of each of the 8 chapters in hopes that Christians may take up and sing. He also points out handy websites which may aid the reader in expressing the joy of the Psalms through song. I hope this book opens up the awesome power of the Psalms in a believers life through a careful and devotional reading of majesty which is the Holy Psalter.

Fesko, J. (2014). Songs of a Suffering King: The Grand Christ Hymn of Psalms 1-8 (p. 128). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books.

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