Summary: The first of the 150-psalm collection contained in the Old Testament book of Psalms, intended to follow "Introduction to Psalms" which is a sermon separate from the various psalms examined in the series.
For Sermon Central researchers: I have posted a series of 15 sermons on the Psalms. In recent personal studies I have found the psalms to be richer and more thought-provoking than I had fully appreciated. I had too often swept swiftly through psalms without slowing down to inquire as thoroughly as I might have into the depths of meaning and feeling that are expressed by the psalmists. Upon deeper examination and reflection, I find the psalms to be highly relevant to Christians in every age. My most recent foray into the psalms led me to present a series of studies of selected psalms in a class environment.
In my classes I did not examine every psalm, or every verse of the ones I did. Rather, I presented selected psalms that I believe to be representative of the collection in the book of Psalms. The studies were held in a class environment suitable for pauses for questions and discussion, and to pose “thought questions” where the meanings are not readily apparent, as is often the case in poetry. My notes include suggested points for such pauses, and I have not removed them in Sermon Central posts.
I developed the material with the view in mind that the series may be well used as sermons. There is an introductory sermon that describes what psalms are (whether they are in the 150-chapter book or elsewhere) and explains my approach to the series. The psalms I selected were presented in no particular order in the classes; however, I suggest that anyone using this material as a series begin with the introductory sermon and follow it with Psalms 1 and 2 in that order, as the first two psalms function as a pair. Beyond that, the selected psalms may be presented in any order.
To get as much enjoyment as we could from our study, I did some of the reading from the KJV, which I believe is the most beautiful of the English bible translations. For clarity we also used other versions, mainly ESV, which I have used for several years and the one I have come to prefer.
In the Introduction to Psalms last week we closed by talking about some words and expressions that occur over and over in the psalms, like themes.
Enemy, enemies, enmity, foe foes appears 109 times.
Wicked & forms 97 times
Evil - 75 times
Iniquity iniquities sin sins transgressions 74 times
Afflict, afflicted, or affliction appears 35 times.
Cry, cried, or crying appears 49 times
Deliver or one of its forms - 78 times
“Deliver me” or “Deliver my soul” - 24 of those 78 times
We discussed the significance of this – whether the man after God’s heart was a miserable, brooding, wretchedly unhappy person - consumed by his failures and misfortunes - someone who in today’s parlance we might call a “whiner?”
We concluded that he was not a complainer.
What it shows is that when he was down, he talked to God about it.
God loves that!
Clearly, David was a man of great faith and consuming love for God, who exulted in thoughts of God.
The psalms of David are a window to his mind.
They reveal David as a man who struggled…
…he struggled because of
…his conflict with Saul, not of his making
…his love for Jonathan, and the dilemmas it created
…his family problems
…most of all, he hated his sins
David does not write just for himself; he writes for others.
Many of the things that afflicted David afflict us.
He and other psalmists wrote for all of us, and we may take their prayers and praises as our own.
As a counterweight to the many references to crying, pleading, fretting about enemies, wickedness - David’s own wrongdoing and that of adversaries who brought evil upon him…in Psalm after Psalm, David turns those morbid thoughts into prayers, trust, thanksgiving and praise.
Save or Saved 43
The Lord is 56
Blessed is … and blessed are and Blessed be … 53
Glory 50 times
Refuge 47 times
Joy 41 times
Rejoice rejoicing rejoiced 40
Your face 21
Teach me 17
Redeem, redeemed, redemption 17
David had a consuming love for God that seems to have gone ahead of everything else he valued in life.
When he turned to God, God invariably delivered.
Is that a lesson for us? I suggest that David was a man who could see both sides of life vividly, he ended up loving and praising God.
The first thing to notice is the “firstness” of this psalm.
Its position in the arrangement of the collection of psalms is (I believe) no accident.
Along with the second psalm, the two psalms go ahead of all other psalms, and set the context or furnish the stage for all that follows.