Psalms (Ps)

Book 19 of the OT. It is a collection of 150 Psalms, grouped into 5 smaller books, written during the period from 1440 to 586 BC. David wrote 73 of them, 51 are anonymous and the remainder by various other people. The Book of Psalms is called a ‘wisdom book’ as these writings express confession, praise and worship to God; that is, they all relate life to Him. Time to read: 4 hrs 40 mins.

Outline. Psalms are poetry, songs and prayers honestly expressing the feelings and desires of humanity, rather than being a narrative of historical events, although they do arise out of various happenings.  The writers expressed to God their fears, confessed sin and asked for help, guidance and protection.  They praised Him for His power and forgiveness, and trusted His mercy.

The Psalms are the most widely read and favourite portion of the Bible, especially for those seeking comfort in times of struggle and distress. We can relate to the cry of the author’s heart – what they are feeling and experiencing – and so identify with them in their real life hassles. Some of the more widely known are: Psalm 1 which contrasts the path of those who follow God with those who don’t, Psalm 23 the shepherd’s Psalm, Psalm 37 on guidance, Psalm 139 on man’s worth and Psalm 146 declaring God is in control. What is my favourite Psalm?

Main lesson.  God wants us to be honest with Him, having an intimate relationship based on truth and His unchangeableness.

Key verses and thoughts: * Blessed is the person who walks in God’s ways... who knows Him as their shepherd (Ps 1:1,2, 23:1). This is the starting point – acknowledging Him as Saviour and then consciously, and with perseverance, obeying, and with His help living a life that is in total contrast to those that don’t have this relationship with Jesus.

* The Psalms consistently reveal people communicating in an honest frank manner with God. Several were written by David when he was fleeing for his life from Saul’s manhunts (Ps 34, 56, 142). Who wouldn’t get serious and real with God in such circumstances! 

* “I will praise you, my God for ever... and every day” (Ps 145:1,2). Praise is another major theme of the Psalms – even though life was far from easy and peaceful in those days. This rejoicing was not something reserved to be done in the future when life would be less troublesome but was an integral part of daily life, regardless of the pressures.  What is my response in times of trouble and testing?

See also: communication, David, honesty, praise, thankfulness/thanksgiving.