Book of Psalms


The Book of Psalms best connects our heart to the heart of God. We know that David (the composer of the majority of the Psalms – and most of the others were clearly written during the David-Solomon era) was characterized as “a man after God’s own heart.” Despite his major failings, he had a passion for intimacy with God and a zeal to pursue after God with his whole heart. He had a supreme love for God’s Word with the longing to obey His commandments. He also had the heart of a shepherd and the creative gifts (both in terms of his musical ability and his poetic genius) to achieve this masterpiece of expression.

 

Big Idea:

Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, whatever emotions your heart may be feeling, whatever struggles you may be going through, you will find a place in the Psalms that resonates and draws you closer to the Lord.

 

Basic Outline:

The Psalms are divided into five books, each ending with a doxology (1-41; 42-72; 73-89; 90-106; 107-150). It is helpful to study the Psalms in various topical groupings:

  1. RIGHTEOUS VS WICKED / INTEGRITY / GODLINESS — Psalms 1; 7; 14; 15; 17; 26; 49; 64; 101; 120
  2. REVELATION / WORD OF GOD — Psalms 19; 119 (22 strophes)
  3. MESSIANIC (broken out separately, but could fit under other topics as well) — Psalms 2; 8; 16; 22; 40; 45; 69; 72; 89; 102; 109; 110; 132
  4. KINGSHIP / ROYAL / SOVEREIGNTY — Psalms 21; 24; 47; 48; 85; 87; 93; 97; 99; 113; 122
  5. CRISIS / DESPERATION — Psalms 55; 57; 70; 88; 142; 143
  6. REPROACH / SLANDER — Psalms 4; 86; 123
  7. ANSWERING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS — Psalms 10; 13; 74; 77; 79
  8. PROTECTION / DELIVERANCE / VICTORY — Psalms 3; 5; 12; 18; 20; 28; 44; 46; 59; 61; 62; 108; 118; 121; 124; 140; 141; 144; 147
  9. JUDGMENT / VINDICATION / IMPRECATORY / WRATH OF GOD — Psalms 7; 9; 35; 50; 54; 55; 58; 59; 68; 69; 75; 79; 82; 83; 94; 106; 129; 137; 139
  10. PENITENTIAL / CONFESSION OF SIN / DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD — Psalms 6; 32; 38; 39; 51; 53; 130; 137; 143
  11. IMPORTANCE OF FAITH / FAITHFULNESS OF GOD — Psalms 11; 27; 56; 91; 105; 146
  12. HOPE / PERSEVERANCE / PERSPECTIVE — Psalms 31; 37; 38; 42; 43; 71; 78; 90; 125; 130; 131; 138
  13. GOD’S PROVIDENCE / GOODNESS / THANKSGIVING / BLESSINGS / GOD’S FAVOR — Psalms 23; 65; 67; 73; 80; 81; 84; 95; 100; 103; 115; 126; 127; 133; 134; 135; 139
  14. GOD’S LOVINGKINDNESS / MERCY — Psalms 36; 41; 52; 60; 63; 107; 116; 117; 136
  15. FEAR OF THE LORD / MAJESTY / WORSHIP — Psalms 25; 29; 34; 66; 68; 76; 104; 111; 112; 114; 128
  16. PRAISE / JOY — Psalms 30; 33; 92; 96; 98; 145; 148; 149; 150

 

Why Study This Book?

  • Enhancing our Prayer Life (or Life of Prayer) cf. disciples: “Lord, teach me to pray”
  • Enhancing our Praise and Worship – “Lord, teach me to worship”
  • Encouraging us to be Authentic and Transparent before God and Others
  • Learning More About the Character and Person of God: His Goodness, His Sovereignty, His Holiness, His Wrath, His Lovingkindness, His Mercy, His Power, His Majesty, His Transcendence and yet Imminence balanced.
  • Learning more about our Lord Jesus Christ as we see the Messiah in the Psalms

 

Notable Quotes:

Spurgeon: “More and more is the conviction forced upon my heart that every man must traverse the territory of the Psalms himself if he would know what a goodly land they are. They flow with milk and honey, but not to strangers; they are only fertile to lovers of their hills and vales. None but the Holy Spirit can give a man the key to the Treasury of David; and even he gives it rather to experience than to study. Happy he who for himself knows the secret of the Psalms.”

Baxter: “This Book of Psalms is a limpid lake which reflects every mood of man’s changeful sky. It is a river of consolation which, though swollen with many tears, never fails to gladden the fainting. It is a garden of flowers which never lose their fragrance, though some of the roses have sharp thorns. It is a stringed instrument which registers every note of praise and prayer, of triumph and trouble, of gladness and sadness, of hope and fear, and unites them all in the full multi-chord of human experience.”

Calvin: “This book I am wont to style an anatomy of all parts of the soul; for no one will discover in himself a single feeling whereof the image is not reflected in this mirror. Nay, all griefs, sorrows, fears, doubts, hopes, cares, anxieties – in short, all those tumultuous agitations wherewith the minds of men are wont to be tossed – the Holy Ghost hath here represented to the life.”

Ambrose of Milan: “Although all Scripture breatheth the grace of God, yet sweet beyond all others is the Book of Psalms. History instructs, the Law teaches, Prophecy announces, rebukes, chastens, Morality persuades; but in the Book of Psalms we have the fruit of all these, and a kind of medicine for the salvation of men.”

 

References: