Insights From Psalms: Introduction
We can learn a lot to help us in our daily lives if we read the Bible, realizing that it involves people who had the same issues that we have now. They suffered hardships, were wronged, saw situations as unfair, doubted, questioned God’s presence, and more.
Therefore, let’s look at Psalms in light of the fact that it was written by people who responded to the situations they faced while at the same time acknowledging God, whether the situation was good or bad.
This study aims to discover the messages and insights revealed in Psalms that can be used in our everyday lives. This is not an academic study of Psalms but a quest to find out what the writers of Psalms have to say about God and life from a practical perspective.
My goal is not to teach you about Psalms but to show you how to gain revelation and insight from them for your everyday life. I am taking the approach of showing you how to fish instead of giving you fish to eat, so to speak. Learn to pursue God’s word for yourself.
Psalms is a book of poetry but not in the sense we think of poetry. Hebrew poetry does not have rhyming and rhythm. Instead, it incorporated parallelism, where two or more lines complete a thought. In some cases, one line echoes the previous one.
Psalms is a collection of songs, prayers, and praises by many people over a long time.
Who Wrote Psalms?
Psalms is a collection of songs, prayers, and praises by many people over a long time. Some people believed to have written some of the Psalms are.
- Sons of Korah
- Herman, son of Korah
Note that there is ambiguity in the authorship of the Psalms because of the Hebrew prepositions in the titles. Those prepositions could be translated as written by, belonging to, for, or about.
For example, Psalms 57’s title states, “A Davidic…” However, that could mean about David or for David. What we do know is that Psalms was compiled to be used in the community for worship. Therefore, the ambiguous authorship does not subtract from its message.
The Divisions of Psalms
Psalms, which means “Songs of Praise,” is divided into five books.
- Book 1: Chapters 1 – 41
- Book 2: Chapters 42 – 72
- Book 3: Chapters 73 – 89
- Book 4: Chapters 90 – 106
- Book 5: chapters 107 – 150
Psalms Show Us
- The responses of God’s people in various situations, good and bad
- How God’s people related to God in different circumstances
- How God’s people prayed to God
- What God’s people thought of God in their challenges
- The basis for their worship and praise
- God’s conditional promises to his people and those who do right and obey Him.
- And so much more
I recommend that you read all of the books in Psalms. However, read it as if someone were telling you things that happened to them, how they felt about it, and what they felt about God’s involvement in them.
We will not go through every chapter in Psalms since there are 150 of them. I will select some passages, books, or groups of books for these lessons.
Do not read Psalms for these lessons with an academic mindset.
Psalm 1 – The Blessed
Read Psalm 1. Consider the following passage.
Psalm 1:1–2 (NKJV) — Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
Consider what the blessed man (person) doe. He doesn’t follow ungodly people and pursues the word of God.
See also Prov. 4:4, Ps 26:4-5. Joshua 1:8.
The word meditate means to ponder by talking to oneself, to roll a thought over and over in one’s mind. A negative example of meditating in this context is worrying.
Planted – See Ps 92:12-14
- Are you blessed according to Psalm 1:1-3?
- How much thought do you give to God’s word?
- Do you genuinely value the word of God?
- How often are you on the same path, doing the same things, exhibiting the same behavior as the ungodly?
- Are you prosperous? How?
Consider the following passage.
Psalm 1:4–5 (NKJV) — The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Notice the contrast between verses 1 – 3 and verses 4 – 6, i.e., the blessed (godly) and the ungodly person.
Chaff – Loose hulls (outer covering) of wheat and other grains that are separated from the edible grains by threshing (crushing) and winnowing (blowing air onto). See Ps 35:5 and Is 17:13. Here is a video showing the process of threshing and winnowing: https://youtu.be/KjLCqahK2XY.
The Lord knows the way of the righteous – See Ps 37:18, Hahum 1:7, John 10:14, 2 Tim 2:19. That is important to remember when we face challenges, and it seems God isn’t around. We’ll talk more about this in lesson #2.
Psalm one presents two types of people: the godly and the ungodly. Those are contrasted by the fact that one is blessed and the other is not.
- What message did you receive from Psalm 1? Some of my takeaways are:
- There is a distinction between the godly and ungodly.
- God knows the godly, and they prosper.
- The godly delights in the word of God, and it is always on their minds.