In this work Peterson, who spent ten years creating the Message translation of the Bible, writes about the fifteen Songs of Ascents (Psalms 120-134) which the ancient Jewish people memorized and sang on their annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. Of the impetus to write the book, Peterson says,
"I knew that following Jesus could never develop into a "long obedience" without a deepening life of prayer and that the Psalms had always been the primary means by which Christians learned to pray everything they lived, and live everything they prayed over the long haul."Peterson uses Psalms 120-134 as a frame to show us what Christian discipleship is. Though the book I reviewed yesterday, Spiritual Discipleship: Principles of Following Christ for Every Believer by J. Oswald Sanders, is also about discipleship, there is a stark contrast between the two in what each author does in expounding the basic concept of discipleship.
If Sanders’s book reads like a cookbook, Peterson’s reads like philosophy and poetry.
And, indeed, Peterson draws from poetry to talk about discipleship. Of the Psalter, which I have heard some refer to as a mini-Bible within the Bible, he says,
"There is no literature in all the world that is more true to life and more honest than Psalms, for here we have warts-and-all religion. Every skeptical thought, every disappointing venture, every pain, every despair that we can face is lived through and integrated into a personal, saving relationship with God-a relationship that also has in it acts of praise, blessing, peace, security, trust and love."
Psalm by psalm from 120-134, Peterson goes deeply into the meaning of each one as it relates to discipleship. I loved that his is not a shallow treatment, as I've often seen in books that talk about the entire book of the Psalms.
Dealing with only 10% of them gives him plenty of pages to bring out the meat of each one, especially in relation to our walk with Christ.