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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."