"The Wonderful Psalms"

Would you turn with me in your Bible to Psalm chapter 1. As you are making your way there I want to help us see just why the the Book of Psalm is so vital for us to look at as we journey through this life and to prepare us for what is to come. Athanasius who was one of the early church fathers was known for his devotion to the Psalms, and used this wonderful book to lead the church in the worship of God. Athanasius likened the book of Psalms to a beautiful garden with many kinds of fruits such as law, history, prophecy, and gospel. He believed that every situation in life is found represented in the book, wether it be a spiritual, social, or emotional condition. There is so much here in these 150 chapters. I want to look at 2 main texts today and then several others to see how the Psalms instructs us to live, walk, act and think. So, lets begin in chapter 1 and then we will turn to chapter 19.
Psalm 1:1–2 ESV
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
God’s Word speaks to us on how we should live. Do you delight in God’s Word. Do you spend time reading it, studying it and even memorizing it? You should, because so often we can wonder away from making righteous decisions and stumble and hurt ourselves. So, follow God and His Word. Now turn with me to Psalm 19. Lets us begin in verse 7.
Psalm 19:7–11 ESV
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
In just these 2 passages we see so much of how important God’s Word in that of the Psalms is to life. So, what exactly do we know about this wonderful book?
Here are just a few special things that stand out to us. First, Psalms in the longest book in the bible and Psalms 119 is the longest chapter of the bible with 176 verses. However Psalm 117 is the shortest chapter in the Bible. Psalms is written by more authors than any other book. The authors include, King David, Asaph, The sons of Korah, King Solomon, Moses, Heman, Ethan and many Anonymous authors.
Psalms is the most quoted Old Testament Book in the New Testament. Of the 360 Old Testament quotes or allusions in the New Testament 112 are from the Psalms. The book of Psalm contains more Messianic prophecies of the coming of Christ than any other book. What it shows us is this.
-Jesus is the Son of God. Psalm chapter 2. If you have ever wondered if Jesus is truly God read Psalm chapter 2.
-Jesus is the Son of Man. Psalm chapter 8.
-We see Christ’s obedience in Psalm 40.
-We see Christ’s betrayal in Psalm 41.
-We see mention of His crucifixion in Psalm 22. In fact, the dying words of Jesus were taken from here when Jesus says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
-We see application of the resurrection in Psalm 16:10.
-We see the Lord’s ascension in Psalm 68:18.
-And we see Christ’s enthronement in Psalm 110.
I want us to know today that there are so many special and incredible things about the book of Psalm and that is why we need to read it.
Another thing that stands out to us about Psalms is that it has Five Divisions. Many people do not know this about the book. The 150 Psalms have been put together in 5 stages covering a long period of time. Many scholars believe that the book of Psalms go hand in hand with the first five books of the Bible because of the 5 divisions. This would be Genesis through Deuteronomy. And because of this the book of Psalms has been called, “The Pentateuch of David” because each section seems to look like the books of the law. Here is the breakdown of the sections.
-Book Number 1 is Psalms 1-41. This book is almost entirely assigned to King David. This book spotlights the power of God in creation and is dominated by the theme of sin and redemption. If you have ever wondered how did everything begin and did things just start with a big bang than read these psalms. God has created everything including the heavens and the earth.
-Book Number 2 is Psalms 42-72. This book was probably put together during the reign of King Hezekiah Judah’s 13th King. It could of also been compiled during the reign of King Josiah. Regardless, this second book focuses on Israel’s ruin and redemption.
-The Third Book of Psalms is chapters 73-89. This section begins with 11 chapters written by Asaph, a Levite who led one of the temple choirs. It also includes some Psalms written by David. These Psalms deal with the holiness of Israel’s sanctuary.
-Book Number 4 is Psalms 90-106. This collection of Psalm’s probably came during the post exile days when Israel came back to their homeland under Ezra and Nehemiah. It was written during Israel’s 40 years of wilderness time, which brought about a time of serious testing.
-Finally book Number 5 is Psalms 107-150. This fifth book helps us to see the sufficiency of God’s Word. God’s word is enough. It is exactly what we need for this life. (Psalm 119 is a prime example) We also see the universal praise due to the Lord’s name.
Psalm 150:6 ESV
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
The next section I want to address is about how the Psalms were written. Psalms were written in the literary style of Hebrew Poetry. This is a form of communication which is much different from other genres we see that are used in Scripture like Narrative, Prophecy, Epistles, Parables, and even Legal Writings. In this next section I want you to see the various psalms are actually categorized by their literary themes and forms. Of course these Psalms have different subject matters that they deal with and various styles that they are written in. Here are the basic types of Psalms.
First, there are the Wisdom Psalms. These type of Psalms instruct us and provide practical guidelines for godly living and how to pursue God’s will. If you have ever wondered how should I act, talk walk and live, run to these Psalms. Psalm 1,37,119.
Royal Psalms are the next type of Psalm. These Psalms help us to see the coming messianic rule of Christ. These Psalms address the fact that Christ is the Sovereign King of both heaven and earth. Yesterday there was a king coronated in England, but there is only one true King of both heaven and earth. And someday every knee will bow to him and every tongue will confess that he is Lord. If you have ever wondered who is Christ, run to these Psalms. Psalm 2,18,20,21,45,47,68,72,89,101,110,118,132 and 144.
The third type of Psalm is Lament psalms. These psalms have been written in such a way for us the reader to see the heart cry for God’s deliverance in the day of the psalmist trouble and personal pain. There are many Psalms, so I will just mention several. Psalm 3-7,12-13,25-28 and 38-40.
The fourth type of Psalm is Imprecatory psalms. These psalms invoke God’s wrath and judgment upon the psalmist enemies, who are actually against God and therefore enemies of the Lord. In these psalms the author calls upon the Lord to punish the wicked and defend Him as he carries out the work of the Lord. These psalms are Psalm 7,35,40,55,58-59,69,79,109,137,139 and 144.
The next type of Psalm are Thanksgiving psalms. These psalms should constantly be on our hearts and lips. They help us to have a great awareness of gratitude for God’s many blessings, whether individual or national. These psalms are Psalm 8,18,19,29,30,32-34,36,40 and 106. There are many more as well.
Another type of Psalm are Pilgrimage psalms. These festive psalms show us a celebratory mood of praise to God as Israel remembers God’s goodness to them. Every year as they would head to Jerusalem for there many feasts they would sing some of these Psalms. They are Psalm 43,46,48,76,84,87 and 120-134.
The last group of Psalms are known as the Enthronement Psalms. These psalms describe God’s sovereign rule over all of His creation, and the perfect care by which He sustains, controls, and directs all that He has made. These psalms are Psalm 48,93 and 96-99.
Now you may be here today and say Matt we get all of this, but what is the big deal about Psalms? What is the purpose of all this for us today? Well I am glad that you are on the right track. I want to spend some time by sharing with you the main purpose of Psalms. No matter where you are at as a believer, whether you are on fire for the Lord or struggling through this life, there is a Psalm that speaks directly to where you are. The psalms have been written in such a way as to guide believers in the proper worship of God. I want to give you 5 ways that we see the psalms direct our hearts toward God in every experience of life.
1. The Psalms should cause us to have a Worshiping Heart. There are many psalms that have been written to lead the hearts of believers to magnify and praise the Lord as we worship His wonderful name. There are many things that people can worship today, but there is none more important than God. He is the one that our worship should be directed too. Here are just several Psalms that help us to see the point.
Psalm 95:6 ESV
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
Psalm 96:9 ESV
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 103:1–5 ESV
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
2. Second, the Psalms should cause us to see how they Comfort the Fearful Heart.
In our day and age it is easy to have fearful hearts. The psalms were written to console troubled hearts when so many grow fearful and grow weary because of the dangers and trials of this life. It seems as if every day we turn on the news and hear about some type of tragedy and trial happening in this world like yesterday in Plano. So, this is why we need to run to the book of Psalms. It really does comfort our fearful hearts. Here are just a few.
Psalm 23:4 ESV
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
As a believer it is very comforting to know that God goes with us, and is with us every step of the way. We are never alone.
Psalm 42:11 ESV
11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
If you are tired, discouraged, or fearful today may you find your hope in God today.
3. The third area that the Psalms direct our lives toward God is that they show the Sinner how their lives can be cleansed.
The psalms were written to search out, convict us, and even cleanse the impure heart of sin. This leads us and God’s children to personal confession and repentance. When we pick up God’s Word and read the Psalms it should help us to see our sin and how awful it is and how much we truly need a Savior. Here are just a few psalms that help us to see this.
Psalm 51:7–10 ESV
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Psalm 139:23–24 ESV
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
4. Forth, the psalms help to strengthen the persecuted heart.
There are times where God’s children find themselves opposed by this crazy world. There are many people today who no longer fear God and reject the message of Jesus and His words. Because of this there are many who have suffered unjustly for the sake of living righteously for the Lord. We as believers need strength today as we live for the Lord, and we can find it in Psalms.
Psalm 3:1–3 ESV
1 O Lord, how many are my foes! Many are rising against me; 2 many are saying of my soul, “There is no salvation for him in God.” Selah 3 But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Remember today Christian that our strength comes from the Lord.
Psalm 18:2–3 ESV
2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.
If you find yourself struggling and being opposed by others for standing for your faith call upon the Lord today and know that He is there. He is your rock and refuge and this Psalm tells us.
5. The last thing that I want to give you today is this. The Psalms instruct the Teachable Heart.
Of course, there are some people today that have no desire to learn or grow. Many people can become set in their ways. Hopefully today you are not one of these type of people. I pray that you have a desire to learn and grow in your faith. I hope that as God’s children we will always desire to learn and have teachable hearts and minds. The psalms serve to direct the steps of the righteous down the path of life that leads to the fulness of God’s blessing.
Psalm 32:8 ESV
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Psalm 119:105 ESV
105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 25:4–5 ESV
4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. 5 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.
(Pray and lead into Communion)
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