THE BOOK OF THE
The Psalms. The Psalms are a composition of 150 individual songs of thanksgiving, praise and prayer. Generally, the Psalms are the expressions of the sentiments of the heart in difficulty and deliverance. The Psalms were written over a vast period of time, but were eventually collected and arranged as led by the Spirit of God. The Psalms historically were composed over a great span of time; about 1000 years! For instance, we have a Psalm written by Moses (Ps. 90), and also one written after the Judean captivity in Babylon (Ps. 137). We do not know when the Psalms were collected, or who was involved, but many scholars suggest that it was Ezra’s work. There is a difference between the book (or books) of Psalms and “the Psalms” as mentioned in Luke 24. There it refers to all the poetic books; Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. But when we get “the book of Psalms, as in Acts 1:20, it refers specifically to the collection of 150 psalms. The collection of Psalms are inspired by the Spirit of God:
- The name of the book is owned of the Lord (Acts 1:20)
- The numbering of the book is owned of the Lord (Acts 13:33)
- Event the titles of the Psalms are inspired too!
So, the book of Psalms is Divinely named, titled and ordered!
Who are the Psalms for? Are the Psalms about Christians? No, the Psalms do not properly give us Christian position, experience and blessings. The Church is a heavenly entity, with heavenly blessings and heavenly hopes. All in the Word of God is for us; that does not mean it is always about us! Who, then, is featured in the book of Psalms? The Remnant, which is a reference to two groups: a remnant of Jews (2 tribes) and a remnant of Israel (10 tribes) – these are an earthly people, with earthly blessings and earthly hopes. The Psalms give us the Spirit of Christ identifying with His earthly people expressed in the sentiments of heart and feelings of the Lord’s earthly people; “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). “The Spirit of Christ” is in connection with the experiences and feelings that were fully and perfectly reproduced in the Lord Jesus while here as a Man on earth. Through the Psalms we are given deep insight into the Remnant’s experiences, trials, sorrows, tribulations, but also their relief, joy and deliverance. The book provides another “key” to unfold the prophetic scriptures in a deeper way and from a unique perspective. The Psalms are not giving outlines of prophetic events per se; but rather the feelings and expressions of heart and soul of a remnant of God’s people during the time when prophecy will be fulfilled.
Three Ways to Read and Understand the Psalms. There are at least three ways the Psalms generally considered. It is interesting that there are multiple aspects to the Psalms, as with all of scripture. It is fitting that the following would be found in the Psalms; “Thy commandment is exceeding broad” (Psalm 119:96b).
- Historically (Past), as the original circumstances and feelings of the writer (David, Moses, Asaph).
- Devotionally (Present), as present comfort and practical encouragement in our lives as Christians.
- Prophetically (Future), as the future experiences of the Jews in the coming Tribulation. The Spirit has arranged these Psalms in alignment with coming prophetic events. This is the primary interpretation of the Psalms. In this prophetic aspect of things, there are three main focus points.
- The Messiah, as the experiences of Christ in His humiliation and sufferings (first coming) and His future exaltation and Kingdom glory (second coming).
- The Remnant, as the feelings and expressions of the remnant as they pass through trials and suffering, as well as consequent deliverance and exaltation.
- The Kingdom, speaking about the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom, the consequent blessing to the nation of Israel, the Gentiles and the whole creation, although introduced by judgment.
Who wrote the Psalms? Many of the Psalms identify an author, usually in the title or near the end of the Psalm. We read of seven whose authorship is revealed:
- David (chiefly) – the sweet psalmist of Israel (2 Sam. 23:1)
- Children of Korah – evidence that God remembered mercy in that awful scene of judgment recorded in Numbers 16 (vss 30-33; 26:11), for to them were committed the choral services of worshipping Israel – W. Scott
- Heman the Ezrahite
- Ethan the Ezrahite
- Solomon (?) – Ps. 72 is a Psalm “about” Solomon – see vs.20; NT note – “of” or “concerning”; Ps. 127 – the inscription mentions Solomon. Some think it is used and added on account of the word “Jedidiah” (Beloved) found in the 2nd vs – this was a name given to him by Nathan (2 Sam. 12:25). The Septuagint version does not give Solomon’s name
In addition to this, there are various Psalms with unknown authors.
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