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The World's Oldest Mixtape

Songs can hold significant meaning for us. Whether it’s that catchy tune that you associate with your high school prom or one of your favorites that was the cornerstone to that mix tape you had as a kid (keep in mind that we still have mix tapes today - they’re called iPods). Songs are associated so closely with certain memories in our lives that it almost takes us back to that time and place. That’s nothing new. Thousands of years ago, people wrote songs and then they would hear them, they would sing them and remember.

We have some of these ancient songs recorded for us in a book called the Psalms. That book is actually just the world’s oldest mixtape: a collection of 150 songs written (and presumably performed) by many different authors (or bands if you prefer). Actually, here’s an interesting tidbit – Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 are the exact same Psalm. Quite possibly this would be the answer to the trivia question, “What is God’s favorite song?” I mean, it’s so nice, he included it twice!

So I have a confession for you. There are many people who swear by the Psalms, who can spend eternity here and are always so comforted, encouraged, and full when they read the Psalms. I am not one of those people. Look, I could go for a good rendition of Psalm 23 ("The Lord is my shepherd…") most days, but for the most part, the Psalms for me are a little bit like the Cranberries playing in the background during a gathering of good friends – I can hear the songs, and I appreciate the music, but I’m not singing along. As I write this chapter, my wife just happens to be reading through the Psalms in her Bible-in-a-year journey. (Just happens to be? Yeah, right. There are such things in life as coincidences. That’s not one of them.)

This Cranberries analogy – I’m going to let it linger for a bit. Yes, I have to. There is something about music like that which puts you in a sober mood. Not unlike, say, the Psalms. They are indeed sobering. They are written by people who are on the other side of the cross, who are still waiting for salvation in many ways and who know the depths of their needs. They acknowledge their reliance on the one true God who is their one hope, their one joy, their one way forward in this life. They announce him as their protector. They scream out, “Save me!” They ask for peace. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some of that in the world we live in today? Peace. Beside still waters, where his rod and his staff comfort us.

You might notice that the number 150 is a nice, round number. It actually divides nicely by the number 5. I would encourage you to spend a month this year reading five Psalms a day and I triple dog dare you to see if God won’t speak something fresh into your life through this ultimate mix tape of his.  

Happy listening.

Both Tim Dooley and his wife Christina were baptized in 1998 and then married in 1999 at CG. They have three growing boys who keep them busy. Before working at Common Ground, Tim spent 17 years working in finance for Republic Airways, a regional airline headquartered in Indianapolis. Tim's hobbies include puzzling, golfing, and more recently, running. He is passionate about scripture memory and spreadsheets. Tim and Christina also co-own a retreat house on Lake Lemon near Brown County that is frequented by many families and small groups for times of peace and renewal.