human emotions are expressed in the book of Psalms. A psalm is essentially
a poem that is sung - another way of saying that a psalm is a song!
There are many authors of the psalms most of whom are acknowledged,
although there are some that remain anonymous.
The authors went through many different experiences. Many psalms
were the result of the writers' feeling of elation in the service
of God. Other psalms were written by men who were in the depths
of despair. Some relate to the history of Israel, and many are prophetic
both of Jesus - the saviour, and Christ - the anointed, and of God's
future kingdom. We might just draw attention to some of the psalms
in some of these categories.
King David composed 73 psalms, and others were written by Asaph
(12 - 73 to 83), the sons of Korah (11 - 44 to 49) Solomon, Heman,
Ethan and Moses - the last three contributing just one each.
There are 150 psalms in the collection and they comprise five sections:
Book 1: 1 - 41; Book 2: 42 - 72; Book 3: 73 - 89; Book 4: 90 - 106;
Book 5: 107 - 150.
Each section ends with words of praise such as: "Praise be
to his glorious name for ever; may the whole earth be filled with
his glory. Amen and Amen." (72:19). The only 'exception' to
this is Psalm 150 which is, anyway, a psalm entirely of praise.
The ultimate message.
Apart from the glorious messages covering a wide variety of circumstances,
the real value to individuals is the way in which individually we
can identify with many of the ideas and emotions expressed, and
in the most beautiful language.
of The Psalms
These are generally given this title because they refer specifically
to the work of Jesus and the Messiah. For example, Psalm 2 questions
why the nations rise up against the Lord and his anointed. Psalm
22 commences with "My God, my God why have you forsaken me"
- words quoted by Jesus on the cross. What better authority is there
about the Messianic nature of this psalm that the authority of Jesus!
Psalm 72 is another. Written by Solomon, this one is refers to the
coming kingdom that will last forever.
There were 24 psalms that begin or end with "Praise the Lord."
These are often called the 'Hallel' psalms because of this - 'Hallel'
being a shortened form of 'Hallelujah'. It is interesting that all
of these psalms were anonymous which perhaps suggests that they
had been written for Temple worship and were in common usage. Some
of these psalms are 104 - 106, 111 - 120.
Songs of Degrees.
This was a special set (Psalms 120 - 134) that were sung while the
Jews were ascending Mt Zion to celebrate the Temple feasts. They
are a remarkable set in that they are a cameo of many aspects of
life in themselves.
Psalms in Distress.
David was one who was frequently distressed. There is a number of
psalms that indicate the different forms this distress took. He
was distressed, for example, that he was persecuted by his enemies
and he sought God's assistance (Psalm 4). He was distressed over
his own sinfulness (Psalms 13 and 32), and he was distressed that
there was so much wickedness around him (Psalm 55). The most important
feature of these psalms is David's recognition of the need to rely
on God for help.
Psalms of Hope.
The Bible contains many examples of God's judgements on the wicked.
At the same time, it contains many examples of the hope that the
righteous have providing they place their trust and confidence in
God. Some of the Psalms that suggest this hope are: 42, 80, 84 and
the very beautiful but meaningful poem 137. Of course, the most
well-known psalm of hope is 23.