Joe and the Worship Team lead us this month in a study of the some of the Psalms. The Psalms is a collection of 150 (in western Protestant bibles: other collections count more) songs, poems, and prayers that were originally meant to be sung, accompanied by musical instruments. The Psalms are intended to focus the worshiper’s thoughts on God in praise, thanksgiving, and adoration. The Psalms were an important component of Jewish worship in biblical days, and remain so today for both Jews and Christians. Authorship of the Psalms is attributed to many writers, with David cited in 73 instances. Other Psalms are attributed to Solomon, Moses, Asaph, the sons of Korah, or to no one at all. With the diversity of authors, the time of the writing of the Psalms varies. The earliest may be the prayer of Moses (Psalm 90) and may date to around 1,300 years before Christ, and one of the latest being Psalm 137, a lament written during the Jews’ Babylonian captivity from about 586-538 B.C.
Many people, myself included, try to incorporate at least some reading of the Psalms in their daily devotions. Why? What are we to take from these ancient songs for which no musical notes are existent? I am certain the answer to this question will be provided by Joe as we progress through his study in the coming weeks, but let me suggest why I study the Psalms.
First, the Psalms are written as beautiful poetry. The lyrical rhythm of the Psalms brings me a sense of peace as I read and contemplate. Many books and passages of the bible are written as poetry, and understanding Hebrew form and usage of poetry is essential in basic comprehension of God’s word.
Then, the Psalms cover a marvelous range of human emotions, spilling out in praise, thanksgiving, and lament. In reading the Psalms, we learn the ways King David and others spoke with God, and thereby enhance our communication with our Creator and Lord as we go to Him in prayer.
Lastly, reading the Psalms points us toward the Messiah. I have read that every passage of the bible either reveals God’s everlasting truth, or contains some historical or cultural expression underlying His truth. The Psalms are quoted far more often in the New Testament than any other book. Jesus himself says in Luke 24:44, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Seeing these truths revealed, hundreds of years before His birth, is both thrilling and inspiring.
I am so looking forward to this study using the Psalms. I hope you are, too, and if you do not already, you will join those of us who include a passage of the Psalms in our regular time in God’s word.