Worship the King - Book 1 of Psalms
The Psalms that make of the “book of Psalms” are not a book. Though they are in a book called the Bible, they are not a book but a collection of divinely inspired ad arranged songs, prayers, dirges, reflections and poems. They are a reflection of Israel’s full-faith experience. Often rising high on waves of divine ecstasy but not mystical to let the pain of this world go unnoticed or unvoiced.
The psalms are Israel’s soundtrack for the Torah. If every great story has a great musical score weaving in and out of the background and foreground, the Psalms are Israel’s soundtrack for the adventures of Israel past, present and future. Like the hit song from the Rocky movie, “Survivor (aka., eye of the tiger)” has inspired three generations of people to try hard to accomplish impossible goals based on the score of this music and the portrayal of Rocky Balboa. So the Psalms are the score of music that inspire generations to do great things, even impossible things for the glory of the God who made covenant with His people Israel. Not only is it the score to triumphant moments, it is also the score of music for the student learning wisdom, the lover and his beloved, the mourner and his grief. The Psalms are the soundtrack to Israel faith past, present and future.
So this is not a study of a book nor is it the study of a book of songs. This is really not a study at all. There are great books in the halls of the academy that will help you study the Psalms. Those books have their place. This book is meant to do one thing and one thing only: help you become a better worshiper of the God of Israel. Through the course of this journey you will come to believe better, trust deeper, hang-on longer, praise louder, grieve better but that is only because you have done this one thing: become a better worshiper of the God of Israel.
Why do I insist on making the God of the Bible the God of Israel? I did not, but God decided to do that long before any of us even had a say in the matter. God decided to enter into a special relationship called an “unconditional covenant” relationship with one man Abraham and his family forever. It would be impossible to say that any person can know God in His unique identity without acknowledging his unique, deeds, acts, and relationship with the people of Israel.
This fact gets turned into an important moment of worship at the end three of the collections of the Psalms. Notice how all the final benedictions concludes with the name “Adonai” and three of the collections (1, 2, 4) have the title “the God of Israel.”
Collection 1 -
Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and amen!
Collection 2 -
Blessed be Adonai Elohim, God of Israel, who alone does wonders. Blessed be His glorious Name forever. May all the earth be filled with His glory! Amen and Amen!
Collection 3 -
Blessed be Adonai forever. Amen and Amen.
Collection 4 -
Blessed be Adonai, the God of Israel, from everlasting even to everlasting! Let all the people say, “Amen!” Halleluyah!
Collection 5 -
Let every thing that has breath praise Adonai. Halleluyah!
Even though collections 3 and 5 don’t have “the God of Israel” it would be impossible to know the meaning of Adonai (YHWH) apart from the special relationship God established with the nation of Israel (see. ).
God, the creator of ALL, entered into a forever relationship with a small and imperfect people to put his glory on his display. That is why the psalmist sings out
Praise Adonai, for Adonai is good. Sing praises to His Name, for it is delightful. For Adonai has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel as His treasured possession.
And what is Israel’s response to this grace? What should be the response to this from all who “revere” His Name?
O house of Israel, bless Adonai! O house of Aaron, bless Adonai! O house of Levi, bless Adonai! You who revere Adonai, bless Adonai! Blessed be Adonai out of Zion, who dwells in Jerusalem. Halleluyah!
Blessing and praise is the appropriate response. As God manifests His eternal power and loving attributes through His people, He invite all people - Jewish and non-Jewish, to gain the benefit and satisfaction of worship of the God of Israel.
I know this introduction has answered some questions and no doubt raised more questions than answers. At least, I hope it has done this. I hope your appetite is wet, your soul is longing, you spirit ready to sore.
Remember, this is not a study this is worship. As your guide, psalms will not seek to bring you to the place of intellectual equilibrium. The psalms will introduce tensions and polarity that will stretch the spiritual fibers of your soul. It will often not resolve those tensions but call you to worship the God of Israel in the tension, to worship Him without resolution of circumstances but with clarity of vision of who He is and what He does. The psalms will train the heart to not unwind the polarities but to bend and twist to the polarities and trust in God to remain ever caring, loving and resolved to your salvation.
As your guide, the will not seek to bring you to the place of intellectual equilibrium.
If you are looking for answers this not the guide for you; yet, if you are desiring to be a better worshiper then prepare to train your heart, your life, your faith according to Israel’s ancient soundtrack.