Summary: just a brief intro to Israel's hymnbook as we begin a look at selected passages
#1 INTRO TO THE PSALMS
1. Sometimes when I pray I can't think of the words, I can't utter what is in my heart
2. For some reason I think I might offend God if I'm honest, or angry or guilty
3. The Psalms corrects me in this and anchors me in my soul
4. I want to begin a brief look at the songbook of God's people of old and be uplifted, challenged, encouraged, and more.
I. WORSHIP UNDER THE MOSAIC COVENANT
A. Ex. 19:3-9 God’s intentions for Israel
To be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation
B. Moses later reminds them:
1. Deut. 7:7-9---it was because the Lord loved them and was
keeping his oath he swore to their forefathers.
2. Deut. 9:4-6---it was not on account of their righteousness that
God was giving them the land, but the wickedness of the
nations and his faithfulness to his oath; they in fact were a
C. This covenant was between God and Israel only, they promised
not to serve & worship other gods
D. Ex. 20:22-23:19 seems to be the “book of the covenant” which
is ratified in Ex. 24:7, everything else comes later to Moses
1. God instructs them in more detail what he had given them in
the 10 commandments.
2. no other god’s, idols or altars
3. respectful treatment of servants and one another---ch. 21
4. protection of property ch. 22
5. moral and social instructions 22:16ff
6. slander and deceit 23:1-9
8. feasts/festivals 23:14-19
E. After the covenant is confirmed, God instructs Moses as the
details of the tabernacle and its contents--God’s sanctuary, and
F. Two basic ideas are seen in God’s instructions:
1. separateness---God protected his holiness---on the mountain,
you can’t come close…only Moses can approach even though
70 elders are there; even the priesthood signifies
separateness—only certain ones can approach and they spend
much time preparing to do so.
2. Nearness—the idea of the tabernacle is God dwelling among
them---Ex. 25:8 “then have them make a sanctuary for me,
and I will dwell among them.”
G. the worship/liturgy that God commanded involved the whole
being of man as well as everyday throughout the year
1. It involved the heart, soul, mind, body of the Israelite, i.e.
sacrifice, song, festivals, Sabbath, etc.
2. it involved every day, every season to remind Israel of their
relationship with God and their dependence on him, i.e. feast
of ingathering/harvest, of Passover, Sabbath, etc.
H. But all worship to God was based on the holiness of the life of
1. an unholy and sinful man could not approach a holy God,
reminded by the priesthood.
2. An Israelite had to be de-sinned: a sacrifice of blood had to be
Made---Day of Atonement, (Day of sin covering)
I. As we know, Israel actually never kept their promise to God and
served the god’s of the Canaanites.
J. But four hundred years later, a man came upon the scene that
forever changed God’s worship
1. an unknown shepherd boy who had the heart of God
2. who was chosen to be king and under his reign, the nation of
Israel reached their zenith
II. THE PSALMS
A. Psalms are actually a collection of writings that span over 1000
B. It should not affect our faith to know that they had multiple
authors at different times, for different reasons, finally collected
and edited by scribes in the post Babylonian exile era.
1. 73 ascribed to David
2. 12 to Asaph
3. 11 to sons of Korah
4. 1 to Heman the Ezrahite
5. 1 to Ethan the Ezrahite
6. 1 to Moses
C. Psalms is divided into 5 books, and is this way in the Hebrew text
D. 116 psalms have subtitles or superscripts, 34 do not and
although most scholars don’t place a lot of credibility in them,
they do portray some information:
1. author, melody, use of the Psalm—Sabbath, etc.
2. in actuality, nothing can be known about their original context
and reason for being written.
a. Some however do have more of a concrete context: Ps. 51
b. one author stated: “each psalm is a little island of
E. Some types of Psalms:
1. The hymn—a worship Psalm; Ps. 113 a call to worship,
reasons for worship & a call to worship
2. The Lament—calling upon God in a trying situation Ps. 42
3. Thanksgiving---a response to an answered lament followed by
an account of salvation Ps. 30:1
4. Remembrance—a history lesson of God’s presence Ps. 18
5. Confidence---an expression of trust Ps. 11,16, 23
6. Wisdom—a teaching Psalm, how God wants the believer to live
7. Royal Psalm—devotional about kings, whether earthly (Ps. 20),
God as King (Ps. 47:7), or the Messiah (Ps. 2)