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Psalms Introduction
The Psalms is a unique book and is filled with trivial facts that everyone can or has related with in there everyday life. This book in the Bible also has more chapters than any other book in the Bible. Do you know how many chapters are in Psalms? 150 Psalms also has the shortest and longest chapters 117 being the shortest and 119 being the longest. When you read the new testament you will also see that Psalms is the most quoted book from the old testament. Psalms has been a book that has been believed by all the saints of every age. Even most of modern culture and worldly people have come to hear psalms as it is used in writing and movies. is probably the most notable Titanic uses I am not sure how many can remember there was a movie called dangerous minds that was about a female teacher teaching urban black kids and the song used through out the film was Coolios Gangstas paradise. So even if people were or are not christians they have herd some portion of the psalms. The book of Psalms are unique as well because they are poetry. They were written to be sung. They were Israels song book. Being used and sung in public worship. Even more that poetry Psalms is rich in imagery that speak truths that come alive in our hearts when we read or hear them Because they are poetry they are meant to be read slowly. To be meditated on as much as just read to have read but reflect and contemplate on. If you are good at memorizing Scripture. Something I am not good at but if you are I would recommend as a book that all christians to memorize or read often. speaks of how the man is blessed the he can meditate on the word of God and this is how the Psalms is introduced Thats why we need to be careful when we read the Psalms that we dont just quickly read through a psalm but that we take time and meditate on up on it. The book of Psalms is not only a unique book but its loved and identifiable. That is one of the major reason that Gods people loved the book of Psalms but that they could Identify and relate with the write. Because the writer so often gives words to our emotions, our doubts, our depressions, to our Hopes, and joys. Its sometimes in a very transparent and raw manner. Have you noticed that? The Psalmist is able to articulate feeling that we have maybe because we are to blinded by our confidence in our works that we cant talk to God the way the psalmist does. That why even today we say people in times of great joy and also great loss they turn to the book of Psalms because it is identifiable and easier to relate to the write because he is able to communicate and articulate the feeling that you and I may be experiencing. Also the book of Psalms has several different categories. Some of the categories that are given when speaking of the Psalms would be The Thanksgiving Psalm - that is characterized by thanking God for answering prayer The penitential Psalms - They are characterized by confession of sin The Messianic Psalms - they prophetically refer to Jesus Christ The Psalms of Lament - that respond to crisis, grief, sorrow, or despair There the Imprecatory Psalms - thats when the writer is praying to God to vindicate the righteous and punish the wicked There are Psalms of Praise - there are identified with worship because of Gods Character and his action Then there are Psalms of Confidence - where the writer is conveying his trust because God is faith fully. Now look at the composition of Psalms, Its comprised of 150 chapters or 150 psalms but there composed in to one book. As you read through the book of Psalms you or your study bible will note that their are 5 different parts to the psalms . Now the psalms were written over about 1000 years. They go back as far as Moses and they go forward in the post exilic era when Israel returned from Babylonian captivity. So they cover about 1000 year period. Some of the writers that are mentioned having written a psalm David was the most prominent. He wrote 73 psalms Asaf wrote 12 The sons of Cora wrote 11 2 are attributed to Solomon 1 to Moses 1 to Ethan And then there are 50 that are anonymous
They were composed by human authors but they were composed by 1 primary author and that was God.
The Psalms are interest because they are written by people primarily speaking to God.
Ordinarily when we read the Bible we see God speaking to people but the Psalms are the writers recording there thoughts about God and to God. Now that does not mean Psalms was not inspired by God because he obviously did. All scripture is given by inspiration of God. But people are speaking to God because Gods word was given to them. So God gives his word to the writers and now they are given the word that God gave to them back to Him. So God gives them His word and they respond by give Gods word back to Him as it is fleshed out from there everyday life.
Also the structure of Psalms if very important. There is a structure of Psalms, there is a degree of organization. There is movement to the psalms. So the psalms as we have pointed out are in a 150 psalms. But they are not isolated one from another. They are not just randomly composed. And there is good reason to believe that that there is structure and organization to them for the following reasons.
First of all the title of the psalms captures the over arching purpose and that is worship. The jewish rabbis called the psalms the book of praises because it the overall trust of Psalms. Even in the times of Lamentations or difficulty we find overall trust of the book of Psalms is worship. To praise God. Our English titles derive from a greek word that means song. A song sung to the accompaniment of string instrument. So it was made for worship. So the title capture that there is structure to it. It was written in order to promote worship in Gods people. Both individually and corporately as they gathered together. Also the grouping of the Psalms. There are many sections or selections in the Psalms. For instance. The Sons of Cora. The Psalms they wrote are linked together as are the psalms of Asaph. And then in that are call Hallel Psalms. They were sung and Jewish fest. May have been the very Psalms that Jesus and the Disciples were singing at the lords super. they are give the Psalms title. Psalms of ascent - Shir Hama'aloth evidently they were sung as the Israelites traveled to Jerusalem for the annual feast as they would travel up the hill to Jerusalem they would sing the . And then -156 in the way that they begin and end saying “Praise the Lord”
halelu-yâh haleliy naphshiy 'eth-Adonay
Also as I had mention there are 5 sections in the Psalms. And ends each section with a doxology usually praise the lord amen amen.
And we really can see that there is movement to movement in the sections.
are primarily are Psalms that excess davids confidence in God. This is the primary thrust that we can see in this group of Psalms and direction overall is davids confidence in God.
Then in is the second section and those psalms express confidence but rather than David is an individual there is more of a community that is expressed and the mention of Nations. So from David the individual giving praise for God to a sense of community giving praise to God.
And then the third section 73-89 and thats where you find a time of crises. So you begin with people have confidence in the lord and then they move to a point of deep difficulty and in crises. For instance, notice how the section ends and looking the ending of and 89.
Looking at verses 17-18 of 88.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long;
    they close in on me together.
18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me;
    my companions have become darkness.[d]
Then the last three verse of 89
50 Remember, O Lord, how your servants are mocked,     and how I bear in my heart the insults[f] of all the many nations, 51 with which your enemies mock, O Lord,     with which they mock the footsteps of your anointed.
And then ending with a doxology
52 Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.
So this third section talk of great difficulty and pointed suffering. The low point of the Psalms and that it might be so fair to say the valleys the christian walk.
Now the fourth section which begins to magnify Gods Kingship, His Rule, His faithfulness and this section is marked by celebration, by confidence in God. Because of His rein give the people hope.
And then the 5th section concludes or better culminates in celebration because of God victory.
If you have your bibles turn over to psalm 146.1 After this time of Crisis God revels himself as the King that the people have hoped for and therefor they respond in celebration and worship
Verse 1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Then verse 10
The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Then is ends
Verse 1. Praise the Lord!
Praise God in his sanctuary;
Verse 6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!
So it ends with the people of God experiencing victory because of God faithfulness they celebrate the lord. So this is just a brief overview of Psalms.
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