Summary: Discover the gems hidden in Psalms in this simple yet informative fly-ver of the Jews hymnbook, the Psalms.
"An Overview of Psalms"
One of the goals of this new teaching series throught he Psalms is to help us live a constant life of worship to God! I hope to prod all of us towards worship that flows from Sunday to Sunday, not just from 8:30-10:00 on Sunday morning. We should want to make our whole life a verbal and visual offering to God, showing him everyday how worthy he is!
What we are after is 24/7 authenticity, not one hour automation. And as God’s people start living a life of worship, not a ‘lie’ of worship (too many of us have taken the ‘f’ out of life and made our worship exactly that – a ‘lie’!), then everything changes … Sunday’s are different! The whole church experience becomes an overflow, not an outershow.
That’s why one of my primary goals in this short series is to bring all of us to the place where we truly understand that worship is:
• a 7-day pursuit, not a one-day program
• an on-going lifestyle, not a sporadic liturgy
• an overflow, not an outershow
• authentic, not automated!
No one understood this better than the Jews. They knew what it was to worship as a lifestyle. In fact, they have a whole book describing their worship journeys – the book of Psalms. It is the history of their life of worship! It is full of personal worship and corporate worship – it is a book about how they celebrated God in an authentic way, 24/7!
In Psalms you have, in poetic and musical form, the history of the Hebrew people. From Moses to David and beyond, much of the feeling behind the events is contained in these journalings. You see, 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, as well as 1 & 2 Chronicles contain the events; Psalms contains the emotions. And these journalings – many of which are prayers, praises, and songs – were written as a response to the everyday occurrences going on in their life and nation. Psalms is a peek into how these people lived before God 24/7, such as…
…how they responded to him in times of tragedy
(Psalm 88 and 91)
…how they praised him in times of victory
(Psalms 92 and 66)
…how they conversed with him in times of confusion and anger (Psalms 73 and 58)
…how they cared for each other in times of need
(Psalm 23 and 37 and 42)
…how they repented and confessed in times of disobedience (Psalm 32 and 51)
…how they found God in times of loneliness
(Psalms 71 and 62)
...how they felt about the law of God
IOW, it is a snapshot into the worship life of a Jew! Not only their worship services, assemblies, and congregational events, but their whole history and background as seen through the emotion of poetry and praise.
In fact, did you know Psalms chronicles the Hebrews’ life so much that it is actually structured after the first five books of the Old testament (what we know as the Pentateuch)? Let me show you what I mean.
Book 1 Psalms 1-41 (corresponds to Genesis)
Man with God
Book II Psalms 42-72 (corresponds to Exodus)
Slavery, bondage and freedom
Book III Psalms 73-89 (corresponds to Leviticus)
Book IV Psalms 90-106 (corresponds to Numbers)
Book V Psalms 107-150 (corresponds to Deuteronomy) Deliverance and victory
Furthermore, there are many different types of Psalms even within these 5 internal groupings, such as:
Pilgrim Psalms (120-134) or Psalms of Ascent
Messianic Psalms (109, 110)
Wedding Psalms (45)
Prayer Psalms (17,86, 102)
Sabbath Psalms (92)
Psalms for first day of the week (Psalm 48)
Temple Dedication Psalms (30)
Imprecatory Psalms (59)
Hallelujah Psalms (146-150)
Add to this that one of the Psalms was written by Moses (Psalm 90) and one by Solomon (Psalm 127), and you can begin to see that these songs covered a large span of Jewish history – from the time of Moses all the way to Israel’s return from Babylon (800-900 years). Truly the are a window into the spiritual journeys of the Jewish people.
While we’re engaged in this fly-over of Psalms, here’s some other ‘Did You Knows’ you might find interesting…
Did You Know…
1. Psalms is the only book quoted by Satan
2. At least 6 people wrote this collection of songs, prayers, and praises. Though David didn’t write all of them, he did write more than 50%. Other authors include Asaph (chief choir director for David), Sons of Korah (OT band/musicians), Ethan, Solomon and Moses
3. Psalms contains the longest and shortest chapters in the Bible
4. It is the longest book of the Bible
5. It contains the exact middle chapter of the Bible – Psalm 118. That’s right -- there are 594 chapters before and after Psalm 118. Now, if you add those two together (594 + 594), you get 1188. Take that number and turn it into 118:8. What does it say? “It is better to take refuge in the LORD
than to trust in man.”