The Psalms have long been the preferred prayer book of souls in quest of God's guidance and comfort. It has been a hymnbook for the soul and a trove for canticles and verses of the heart. The Psalms have served both Judaism and Christianity's religious communities as a favored source of rich and magnificent readings perfect for liturgical settings. Most significantly, they have nurtured the soul in its desperate times of brokenness and longing for God. This is true of both religions and of their various branches across the years. For that reason, the Psalter ranks among the noblest of spiritual masterpieces, cherished for its eloquent and poignant prayers that lift the heart to God even as they bring God down to mend the soul. We need such times of private and communal withdrawal into the sphere where God alone reins. Solitariness with God heals the heart's wounds, individually and communally. Alone with God, God sees us as we are and allows us to acknowledge ourselves as we are--at our best and worst, in our joy and folly. The Psalms remind us that God is inescapably present wherever we allow God in to renew, inspire, redeem, and fulfill the highest hopes of our human capacity. By the Waters of Babylon provides meditations on all 150 of the Psalter's hymns. They are written to speak to the heart as well as to the mind and soul in search of grace and consolation.
Benjamin W. Farley Rev. Luther H. Rickenbaker
Benjamin W. Farley, PhD, is Younts Professor Emeritus of Bible, Religion, and Philosophy at Erskine College in Due West, SC. He is the author of numerous books, among them Fairest Lord Jesus, In Praise of Virtue, and Jesus as Man, Myth, and Metaphor, as well as a translator of John Calvin's sermons and other Reformed works. Farley is also widely known as a novelist and short-story writer.