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Psalms 18 and 118: Up from the Grave He Arose!

Resurrection Glory

 

After the dark Tenebrae chords of Psalm 88 and after the discordant realities of Messiah’s abased life while on earth as recorded in Psalm 89, Psalms 18 and 118 both ring out like joyful peals of Easter bells. Christ is alive! He did not die. Just as we heard from Messiah the God-man in his human form expressing in lament his petitions to his Father, in these psalms we also hear the voice of a man singing his carols of victory, salvation, and release from the grave. Below are a few highlights from each of these psalms. I encourage the reader to read both of these psalms with the vision provided by the apostolic kerygma, the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We rejoice as believers, because he rejoices as one of us. His triumph was a triumph of humanity over sin and the grave.

Psalm 18

After the dark pleadings of Psalm 88–

5 like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah (Psa 88:5-7 ESV)

God replies. He was silent and absent in Psalm 88, but in Psalm 18, his response is nothing short of tremendous. And, just as Jesus pleaded his lament with great emotional overtones, God his Father replies with great emotional drama as well. Hear what the psalmist says.

4 The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me;
5 the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.
8 Smoke went up from his nostrils, and devouring fire from his mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9 He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him, thick clouds dark with water.
12 Out of the brightness before him hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows and scattered them; he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16 He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.
17 He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me (cf 22:8). (Psa 18:4-19 ESV)

Psalm 118

In Psalm 118, the psalmist/resurrected Messiah sings with pure joy and loud celebration his victorious release from the grave and salvation to life. God heard and answered his prayers, and he is no longer confined alone and friendless in the dank darkness of the pit of death, as recorded in Psalm 88.

1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!
… … … …
5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.
6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.
… … … …
10 All nations surrounded me; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
11 They surrounded me, surrounded me on every side; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
12 They surrounded me like bees; they went out like a fire among thorns; in the name of the LORD I cut them off!
13 I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
15 Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous: “The right hand of the LORD does valiantly,
16 the right hand of the LORD exalts, the right hand of the LORD does valiantly!”
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
18 The LORD has disciplined me severely, but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
23 This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we pray, O LORD! O LORD, we pray, give us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We bless you from the house of the LORD.
27 The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar!
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.
29 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (Psa 118:1-29 ESV)

Christians celebrate Easter, which they often call Resurrection Sunday, because in Christ, his victory over sin and death is their victory over sin and death. Because Christ is resurrected, by faith in him, they are resurrected. Because he lives forever, they live forever.

The Bible’s promises are so majestic and broad in scope that words fail. There are no qualifications for anyone to receive all the benefits of God’s covenant of life made with Jesus Christ and through him to all believers. The one and only requirement is a lifelong TRUST in the life, death, and resurrection of the ascended Jesus Christ of Nazareth, as both Savior and Lord. The duration of the lifelong commitment might be no more than one minute, for those who choose to believe on their deathbeds, or an entire span of multiple decades in a hard labor camp. Eternal life is so great that no one merits it and not one more than another (Matthew 20:1-16).

If you have not already done so, won’t you give Christ your allegiance (1) today?

 

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1 For an interesting approach to the word “allegiance” as it relates to “faith,” see Matthew W. Bates, Salvation by Allegiance AloneBaker Academic: Grand Rapids, 2017.

 

 

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Psalm 88: A Tenebrae Psalm

 

 

A Tenebrae service in its current evangelical format is a dark service commonly observed on the evening of Good Friday and one in which the events of Christ’s Passion are acknowledged and honored. Scripture is read, music is sung, and lights or candles gradually dim or are extinguished, until the service room is very dark. Worshipers often exit in silence. Psalm 88 is highly suitable for a Tenebrae service. This psalm dramatically prophesies Christ’s final suffering and death in his own first person voice. The psalm foretells in this man’s own words what it felt like for him to die. Notice that the psalm has two characters–1) the speaker, and 2) the silent character, God. What a treasure this is for us to find in God’s Word.

…………………………………….

Psalm 88 (ESV)

O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.
2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!
3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.
4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,
5 like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.
6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.

In verses 1-3, we sense the events of Holy Week–our Lord’s deep, deep, constant prayers, his foreknowledge of his betrayal, his suffering in the Garden, his arrest and trial, his close friend’s three denials, and finally, his crucifixion. By verse 4, Jesus the man is dead, or nearly so. Verse 6 works very well as a description of a tomb.

7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah
8 You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape;

Verses 7 and 8 might be a repetition of the period Christ spent on the cross, resulting in his being placed in a small, dark cave, a tomb, from which he could not escape.

9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you.
10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah
11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?
12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
13 But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.
14 O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?
15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.
16 Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me.
17 They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.
18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.

The last ten verses (9-18) are best read as a whole. They seem to repeat in different words the first eight verses with a greater development of the prayers of pleading the psalmist prayed. We hear notes of what Christ may have spoken to his Father when he cried out to him those three times in the Garden, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.” (Luke 22:42; Matthew 26:36-44)

Jesus loved his friends; it grieved him that they shunned him as a horror (verses 8 and 18).

The words dark or darkness are mentioned three times in this prayer-poem: once in verse 6, once in verse 12, and once in verse 18.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Psalm 116: Christ Loves the Father

 

 

Psalm 116 is a song of worship, praise, and thanksgiving for the author of love, God the Father. In it, Christ recounts a brief history of the cross, and his relation to the Father throughout its enactment in history. Christ loves the Father and believes. Therefore, he sings this song.

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Psalms are love songs between Father and Son. As the Father loves the Son (Psalm 2:7-8; Psalm 18), so the Son loves the Father. “I love the Lord!” (Psalm 116:1). “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord,” (verse 13). The cup of salvation is the Eucharist (cup of communion) for the early church and in today’s Orthodox tradition (Reardon, 232 and The Orthodox Study Bible, 760). It represents the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Psalm 116 states reasons for the Son’s love for his Father: God heard his prayer and delivered him from death.

  1. He heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. (v 1)
  2. He bent his ear toward me and responded to my prayer. (v 2)
  3. I was about to die, and in fact I did die! (v 3)
  4. I cried out to the Lord and he saved me marvelously. (vv 4-8)
  5. Now I am alive and I walk freely with the Lord in the land of the living. (v 9)

Psalm 116 describes the Son’s love for his Father.

Short Version of this Section (Scroll Down for the Longer Version)

  1. He believes, even in the middle of all his horrible experiences. (v 10; Hebrews 11:6)
  2. “The cup of salvation” (v 13) is the cup that brings eternal life. Its cost of purchase was the death of the Son.
  3. Both of the phrases in Psalm 116:11, 1) I said in my alarm, and 2) all mankind are liars, conceivably make reference to the cross. (Read the longer version below to find out how.) This interpretation lines up perfectly with the context and received church tradition of Psalm 116 in its entirety. Verse 11 describes the Son’s agony as he sacrificed himself to the Father in love.
  4. “I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” (vv 14, 18) What vows? Quite out in the open and publicly, Christ paid his eternal vows to his Father, sacrificing his body and life on the cross. His obedience demonstrates his love for his Father.
  5. Verse 16 speaks of resurrection. The bonds of servitude are distinguished here from the bonds of death. Christ in verses 17-19 offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving, praise, and continued intercession in prayer (Romans 8:34), thereby displaying his love for his Father God.

Longer Version of this Section

1. He believes, even in the middle of all his horrible experiences. (v 10; Hebrews 11:6)

2. “The cup of salvation” (v 13) is the cup that brings eternal life. Its cost of purchase was the death of the Son. In the early days of the church, many Christians were eager and happy to give up their lives in martyrdom as an expression of their love for Christ (Acts 7:54-60). Christians are martyred today for believing in the Lord. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (Joh 15:13 ESV)

3. Psalm 116:11 is a difficult verse. “I said in my alarm, All mankind are liars. Jesus Christ’s love for his Father surpasses the unworthiness of the people for whom Christ died. (Romans 3:23; Psalm 14:1-3; John 2:24-25) When Jesus was tried, convicted, and hung on a cross, none came forward to speak on his behalf (Pilate’s wife did mention to her husband the nightmare she had experienced concerning him). There was no one to comfort him (Handel’s Messiah quoting Psalm 69:20). Because the human race, as represented by all who were gathered and by those who chose to stay away and avoid trouble, allowed and encouraged the great Creator’s crucifixion, they all in essence, denied his deity. To not receive Christ, to not acknowledge God’s love in Christ, is to lie. (Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom 1:18 ESV) In this sense, in the crucifixion of Christ, the crucifixion of deity, all humankind was deceived and lied about the true relationship between themselves and their Creator/Savior.

The word “alarm” in Hebrew can mean “haste, hurry, to hurry in alarm.” In the Greek Septuagint, the word is “ecstasy,” which refers to a strong emotional state that is not normal, in the sense of not usual. We say that “So-and-so is beside herself.” It can be produced by great terror, bewilderment, astonishment, (as in response to a powerful miracle that overrides physical laws of nature (Mark 5:42, where Jesus resurrected a dead girl; Luke 5:26, where Jesus healed the paralyzed man; Mark 16:8, where the women were beside themselves in astonishment upon meeting the angel in Christ’s tomb, who told them that he had arisen from the dead). A second meaning for “ecstasy” is a trance (Acts 22:17, Peter’s vision of the blanket filled with unclean foods). This second meaning does not seem applicable here.

Continuing with the first meaning of strong emotion, often brought on by great fear, the Greek word “ecstasy” appears in the superscription of Psalm 31, which is Psalm 30 in the Septuagint. The English translation of the Septuagint reads, “For the end, a Psalm of David, an utterance of extreme fear,” or, εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ ἐκστάσεως in Greek. Jesus speaks Psalm 31:5 from the cross, “Into your hand I commit my spirit,” (Luke 23:46) and the whole psalm speaks of death and resurrection. It should not be difficult to perceive Christ the man experiencing great trepidation both before and while he was being crucified. Witness his sweating of blood in the Garden as he prayed concerning the trial and crucifixion that lay just ahead.

Therefore, both of the phrases in Psalm 116:11– 1) I said in my alarm, and 2) all mankind are liars, conceivably make reference to the cross. This interpretation lines up perfectly with the context and received church tradition of Psalm 116 in its entirety. Verse 11 describes the Son’s agony as he sacrificed himself to the Father in love.

4. “I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” (vv 14, 18) What vows? The prior verse (v 13) speaks of “the cup of salvation.” This cup (Luke 22:42) included the cross. The triune God determined the plans for the salvation of humanity in eternity past (Ephesians 1:11; 1 Peter 1:20; Titus 1:2). God made certain promises to his Son, and Christ the Son made promises to his Father. (See an excellent article expanding this topic by R. C. Sproul: Link, accessed 3/30/2018.) Another word for promises is “vows.” Christ in his life and death was constantly surrounded by crowds of people. Quite out in the open and publicly, Christ paid his vows to his Father through his obedience unto death, thereby demonstrating his love. The greatest vow was the sacrifice of his body and life on the cross. His obedience demonstrates his love for his Father.

5. Verse 16 speaks of resurrection. The bonds of servitude are distinguished here from the bonds of death. Christ in verses 17-19 offers the sacrifice of thanksgiving, praise, and continued intercession in prayer (Romans 8:34), thereby displaying his love for his Father God.

Summary and Conclusion

Psalm 116 is a song of worship, praise, and thanksgiving for the author of love, God the Father. In it, Christ recounts a brief history of the cross, and his relation to the Father throughout its enactment in history. Christ loves the Father and believes. Therefore, he sings this song.

It is amazing to me how many facets of approach every bit of the Psalter carries for its many readers. My approach today may not be my approach tomorrow. What I discover and emphasize today may not be the discovery and emphasis of another writer. God speaks one language with as many strings as there are hearts of those who seek him. This is wonderful in my eyes. I just want to encourage you to take time and prayer to allow the Lord to open his Word to your heart. You may not see what I see, but what you see directly from the Lord will be just wonderful for you.

 

 

 

 

 

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Psalm 116:1-9–Simple and Beautiful; Beautifully Simple

Photo by Christina Wilson

Devotional

Psalm 116:1-9 (114 LXX) is simple and beautiful, a beautifully simple psalm.

I love the Lord because He has heard the voice of my supplication.

Because He inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call on Him as long as I live.

The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;

I suffered distress and anguish; then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, deliver my soul!”

Gracious and righteous is the Lord, and our God is merciful.

The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, He saved me.

Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For He has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;

therefore, I desire to please the Lord in the land of the living. (The Ancient Faith Psalter, 256)

“I love the Lord!” exclaims the psalmist. Psalm 116 is the only psalm that opens with this exclamation. How many Christians spontaneously cry out this way when the Lord blesses in a big way? Whenever something outstanding pleases them, people often say things like, “I love this food!” “I love my car!” “I love my house!” “Oh, I love this dress!” This psalmist loves the Lord, and for good reason, which he explains in verse 8:

“He has delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.”

Where were you when the Lord Jesus found you? This line exactly sums up my salvation experience. Immediately, also, in the very opening lines of the psalm, I hear the voice of Jesus Christ looking back on his experience with the cross and death. And so, Christ and I are intertwined in the words of this psalm. Verse three–the snares of death were in fact encompassing me when I first cried out to the Lord for his help, I felt the pangs of hell, and I was indeed suffering distress and anguish–all this metaphorically. Christ, on the other hand, experienced and suffered all these things concretely, intensely, in his body and soul as he hung nailed upon the cross and witnessed himself descending into Sheol, or hell*. “…then I called upon the name of the Lord: “O Lord, deliver my soul!” (vs 4). *(See Apostle’s Creed, available at https://www.ccel.org/creeds/apostles.creed.html)

4 Gracious and righteous is the Lord, and our God is merciful.

Unlike idols humans make for themselves, our God is a God who hears (Psalm 115:3-8). He is both gracious and righteous.

God’s righteousness is found in his judgment and condemnation of sin. We all know what condemnation feels like. We all see and experience it in our own court system. God’s judgment first expressed itself when he threw (cast) Adam and Eve out of their garden home.  How many parents have ever thrown their own children out of their homes when they feel their behavior merits such stern discipline? God is holy, and he demands holiness in those who are near him, even his own created beings.

God’s graciousness appears when God takes the form of human beings and takes upon himself the judgment and condemnation of the sin he detests. Our creator took the punishment of his creation’s sin in his own flesh and blood. God did not abandon, he made a way where there was no way. In Christ, God opened the door of return to his home and to his own side.

Jesus, however, sings this psalm not in his role as Creator God but as human being, as one of us, a brother in distress.

The Lord preserves the simple; when I was brought low, He saved me.

All Christians can sing this line as their personal testimony, “… when I was brought low, He saved me.

Psalm 116:1-9 (114 LXX) is truly a resurrection song, an Easter Sunday rejoicing.

 

 

 

 

 

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Psalm 132: Concrete-Literal and Spiritual-Literal

 

Addendum

Before leaving Psalm 132, I want to comment on one of the most amazing differences between Old Testament faith and New Testament faith–the experiencing of the Holy Spirit.

Saints of the Old Testament received the saving grace of God through faith, just as New Testament believers do. It is and always has been God’s grace through faith.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (ESV)

There is a great difference in salvation experience between the Testaments, however. When Paul came to Ephesus in Acts 19:1-7, why did he ask the believers there, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? (Act 19:2)?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” (vs 2) They had been baptized with John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance. Paul then baptized them in the name of “the Lord Jesus.” “And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.” (vs 6) Right in these verses is the difference between salvation in the Old Testament and the New Testament: the location of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit played a significant role in the Old Testament.

  1. All Israel knew the presence of the Lord in the wilderness, since he manifested as a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22).
  2. The Ark was revered because it contained the presence of the Lord.
  3. When Moses entered the Tent of Meeting in the wilderness to speak with God before the Ark, he would place a veil over his face when he left, to hide the fading glow he received in his encounter with the Lord there (Exodus 33:7-11; 34:33-35).
  4. God’s Holy Spirit inhabited the First Temple of Solomon as a cloud, “10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.” (1 Kings 8:10-11)
  5. In Ezekiel 10, the prophet describes his vision of the Glory of the Lord leaving this same temple.

The common denominator in all the prior biblical scenes is that the presence of the Lord, his Holy Spirit, was external. He manifested in a visible, concrete-literal way. By literal I mean real. These events really happened; they are true. Concrete means apparent to the physical senses. Spiritual means of the Spirit of God, who is himself invisible. The Holy Spirit accompanied the congregation of Israel in the Old Testament, and his presence was concrete-literal. This is why, I believe, prophecy played such an important role in the Old Testament. David needed a prophet like Nathan to walk up to him and tell him what the Lord was saying, because David did not have the Holy Spirit within him to speak to him directly in his heart.

It is impossible to overstate the change from the Old Testament to the New in the shift from external to internal of God’s Holy Spirit. This is a change from a concrete-literal manifestation of the Holy Spirit among the people to a spiritual-literal. John the Apostle previews this change in Jesus’ discourse with Nicodemus in John 3 and with the woman at the well in John 4. To understand the prominent position Scripture gives this change we can recall Jesus’ last directions to his disciples before he ascended.

Luke 24:49 And look, I am sending you what my Father promised. But stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high,” and “… you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Act 1:8)

Acts chronicles the multiple occasions when believers received the Holy Spirit, and Paul in his letters again and again proclaims the Spirit’s presence in a new way within the church corporately and within believers singly.

For example, see:

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. (ESV)

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

Galatians 4:6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Ephesians 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. 

New Testament believers currently experience the fulfillment of God’s statement in Psalm 132:13-14.

13 For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his dwelling place:

14 “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews sums up the effect of the difference between the concrete-literal experiencing of God’s Holy Presence in the Old Testament and what New Testament believers experience now:

Hebrews 12:20 For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”  21 Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,  23 and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

As New Testament believers in Jesus Christ join with Old Testament believers in the hope of Messiah by singing the prayer of Psalm 132, may we feel fortunate (blessed) and joyful to know that we are part of the psalm’s fulfillment in grace. Praise God for having restored and even increased the close, intimate fellowship of humans with their Creator.

 

 

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Psalm 132: Intercession and Divine Speech

Introduction

This week I begin a new section: Specific Psalms.

Why begin with Psalm 132?

  • I’ve been reading through the Psalter, and this is where I was when I needed to choose the first psalm to write about: plain and simple.
  • As I was reading, the Lord sparked my interest in this psalm. Is it a coincidence that the last post of my previous series on the Psalter ended with Psalms 132? Perhaps the Lord is saying that he wasn’t finished yet.
  • This is a Lenten psalm, according to The Orthodox Study Bible (Bibliography), and we are currently in the season of Lent.
  • This psalms brings together in one place several aspects, or threads of interest, in the Psalter generally. It combines in one psalm: Messiah, reported direct divine speech, a view of the relationship between Father and Son, enemies, intercessors, the Ark, and specific prophecy. This post will not cover all these topics.
  • Psalm 132 displays similarity with The Lord’s Prayer.

General Description

With eighteen verses, Psalm 132 is of medium length. It was not written by David. It is not an intimate psalm. Other than the reported speech of God himself, no use is made of singular first person, meaning that this is a group, or corporate, psalm.

1 Remember, O Lord, in David’s favor,
    all the hardships he endured,
how he swore to the Lord
    and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
“I will not enter my house
    or get into my bed,
I will not give sleep to my eyes
    or slumber to my eyelids,
until I find a place for the Lord,
    a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”

Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
    we found it in the fields of Jaar.
“Let us go to his dwelling place;
    let us worship at his footstool!”

Arise, O Lord, and go to your resting place,
    you and the ark of your might.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness,
    and let your saints shout for joy.
10 For the sake of your servant David,
    do not turn away the face of your anointed one.

11 The Lord swore to David a sure oath
    from which he will not turn back:
“One of the sons of your body
    I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant
    and my testimonies that I shall teach them,
their sons also forever
    shall sit on your throne.”

13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
    he has desired it for his dwelling place:
14 “This is my resting place forever;
    here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provisions;
    I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 Her priests I will clothe with salvation,
    and her saints will shout for joy.
17 There I will make a horn to sprout for David;
    I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.
18 His enemies I will clothe with shame,
    but on him his crown will shine.” 

(English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.)

Vocabulary

Three proper names need explanation:

1. Ephrathah (Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;) refers to a place name, whose exact location is not agreed upon by scholars. Some say a small town outside of Bethlehem or even Bethlehem itself (Ruth 4:11; Micah 5:2; Genesis 35:19); some say Bethel; and others say a district of Ephraim, location of Shiloh, where the Ark first rested (Bonar, 402).

2. Jaar is also a place name. (6 …  we found it in the fields of Jaar). A reasonable explanation is that this term meaning field or wood, stands in for Kiriath-jearim (1 Samuel 7:1)where the Ark rested in the house of Abinadab for twenty years after the Philistines released it and David rescued it. The reader can easily imagine Abinadab’s allotment containing both fields and woods, or forests. 

 3. Zion. Zion is a very large and meaningful word in the Psalter. It can signify a particular mountain on which Jerusalem is built (Psalm 78:68; 135:21; 68:16), the early City of David, the temple mount, the city of Jerusalem, God’s chosen Israel (Easton, Psalm 51:18; 87:5), and in Christian times, the Church (Easton, Hebrews 12:22), the Heavenly City of Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1), and Christ himself (John 2:19-22). Verses 13-16 of this psalm, referencing Zion, have been set to music and are currently sung in worship settings (YouTube lyrics and music).

4. The Ark was a “holy box” (International Children’s Bible) located in a fabulous tent the Israelites had constructed during their exodus from Egypt through the wilderness. God would meet with Moses inside the tent above the Ark, which was also called “the mercy seat,” because this is where God revealed his mercy and compassion for his people (Exodus 40:20; Hebrews 9:3-5). During the period of judges, the Ark had been lost in a battle with the Philistines (1 Samuel 4). The Philistines could not keep it very long, because God was cursing them for having it in their possession (1 Samuel 5-6:1). They mounted the Ark on a cart and sent it back to Israel (1 Samuel 6), where it remained with Abinadab (see number 2 above), who lived in the fields or the woods, perhaps both. After twenty years (2 Samuel 7:2), David, who had  become king, reclaimed the Ark (2 Samuel 6) and eventually made all the preparations for a glorious temple to house it. Solomon, his son, built the temple using all the resources of talent and substance his father had collected (1 Kings 6:1-8:66).

Setting

Psalm 132 is located and labeled in the Psalter with other songs of ascent. Jerusalem was built on hills, the southeastern bearing the name Mount Zion. Pilgrims from all over the kingdom would travel yearly to the temple in Jerusalem to worship there. Because the first person plural “we” is not identified, the reader can assume the pilgrims are speaking. This is one of the psalms they most likely sang as the temple in all its splendor came into view (Mark 13:1 And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” ESV).

Plot Line

The excitement of the pilgrims for their journey expresses itself as intercessory prayer for Messiah (in Hebrew), who is God’s “anointed,” (Christos in Greek) (vss. 10, 11, 17-18).

The Prayer

1) The prayer begins with the pilgrims asking God to “remember” (vs 1). Remember, Lord, your servant David who pleased you so much because of the zeal and humility he expressed in his desire to build you a house, a permanent dwelling place for the Ark of your presence (see 4 above, The Ark). Verses 2-5 give details of David’s humility and zeal in placing the Lord above himself.

2) David’s zeal was contagious. It spread to all the people. They recount their excitement to worship God at the location of the Ark (verses 6-9).

3) God’s anointed, the Messiah, the descendant of David, becomes the new subject of intercession in verse 10, which repeats the intercession of verse 1, with that difference now in view. The pilgrims rehearse God’s promise in regard to Messiah in verses 11-12. Verse 13 gives the reason why God made the promise: he desires Zion to be his habitation forever. The thought is implied that if God is going to inhabit Zion, there must be a King there who is faithful to him. God’s relationship to his King is described in verses 17-18. God has many great blessings planned for his King.

Psalm 132 A Model for Prayer

1. This intercessory psalm teaches us to pray Scripture. Our requests should be based upon the clearly expressed will of God. The pilgrims’ understanding of God’s will is stated throughout their prayer. They recount God’s will by quoting his past statements. God speaks his will in first person in verses 11-12 and 14-18, and his statements in these verses concur with other portions of Scripture. When we pray God’s will as revealed through Scripture, as the pilgrims did in Psalm 132, we can be certain that we perceive his will correctly. The following two verses reinforce the importance of praying God’s will: 

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.

2. This psalm teaches us to pray out from our personal history with God. These pilgrims knew their history, and they knew how that history agreed with the will of God. They remind God of this history and his promises to them in the first portion of the psalm. Then, in the second portion of the psalm, God replies that his will towards them has not changed.

3. So, as the pilgrims walk up the hill in the long ascent to Jerusalem, their place of worshipping God, they prepare their hearts by means of song and prayer to meet him there.

Similarities with the Lord’s Prayer

Jesus taught his disciples to pray by means of giving them a model prayer commonly known as the Lord’s prayer. In it, he taught them to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done…” (Matthew 6:10). This is exactly what Psalm 132 demonstrates. In Psalm 132, the pilgrims pray for God’s kingdom to come and for his will to be done.

Psalm 132 as Poetic Literature

Psalm 132 is a remarkable piece of poetic literature:

1. Speech

Psalm 132 makes liberal use of quotation. Thirteen of its eighteen verses contain direct or reported speech. The psalm’s speech panels give a dramatic immediacy to the poem. There is reported speech by David (verses 3-5), reported speech by God (verses 11-12), recollected first person plural speech (the worshipers in verses 7-9), and a second block of reported or direct speech by God (verses 14-18).

Adding to the sense of dramatic immediacy is the first person recollection of the people’s excited response to  historical events (verses 6-7).

2. Remarkable Compactness and Brevity

In eighteen verses, this psalm sums up nearly the entire history of the Old Testament, moving from the inception of God’s dwelling with his people to its eschatological, or end times, conclusion. The centerpiece of Old Testament history is the temple of God, his dwelling place among his chosen ones, Israel. The centerpiece of the New Testament is the temple of God, which is Christ and his church, God’s eternal dwelling place among his chosen of all humankind.

3. Poetic Devices Reinforce Spiritual Content

The image of the pilgrims ascending the mountain corresponds poetically with the Bible’s progression through history, a metaphorical rising of thought and purpose from the strictly concrete-literal of the Old Testament to the spiritual-literal of the New. The poem itself is like a pilgrim’s journey. Temporally, the poem is set mid-way in the stream of God’s realities. The speakers in the poem look back upon God’s promises at the beginning of the Ark’s history, while at the same time praying forward to their fulfillment. We as readers look back upon the beginning of the fulfillment, which took place with Christ’s incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension. And even while we look back upon Christ’s first coming, we, like the pilgrims in the psalm, look forward and pray for the final fulfillment of God’s promise (the often repeated already/not yet of prophecy and faith). The prayer of Psalm 132 will ultimately be fulfilled with Christ’s second coming. We who pray this psalm today are united with those pilgrims of Israel’s past who prayed it yesterday. The unity is centered in the person of Messiah, God’s anointed, Jesus Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Link to Psalm 132 in a former series

Link to next post in this series

Link to prior post in this series

Link to Contents for this series

 

Next Post in Psalms–Second Series

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Link to Christ in the Psalms: Contents

Christ in the Psalms: Bibliography

  • 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise: Daily Readings from the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, New International Version. Arranged by R. Dean Jones. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990, by International Bible Society.
  • Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, Elk Grove, California. The Orthodox Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.
  • Aland, Barbara, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce Metzger, Editors. The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition with Greek Text of Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014.
  • Allen, Leslie C. Word Biblical Themes: Psalms. Waco: Word Books, 1987.
  • The Ancient Faith Psalter. Translated by © 2016 Ancient Faith Publishing. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2016.
  • Anderson, Bernhard W. with Steven Bishop. Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today, 3rd Edition, Revised and Expanded. Louisville: Westminster John Know Press, 2000.
  • Archer, Gleason L. and Gregory Chirichigno. Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 1983.
  • Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich, Editors. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd Edition. Revised and Augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker from Walter Bauer’s Fifth Edition, 1958. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979.
  • Augustine, St. Aurelius. Expositions on the Psalms. Digital Psalms version 2007 (public domain), compiled by Ted Hildebrandt. Available at https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/19-psalms/text/books/augustine-psalms/augustine-psalms.pdf. Accessed April 11, 2019.
  • Barclay, John. The Psalms of David, and the Paraphrases and Hymns: With a Dissertation on the Book of Psalms, and Explanatory Introductions to Each. Edinburgh: James Gall, 1826. Reprinted Digitally by Forgotten Books, registered trademark of FB &c Ltd., London, 2017. Available at http://www.ForgottenBooks.com, 2017. A better quality copy is available at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433068259260;view=1up;seq=205;size=75. Accessed April 11, 2019.
  • Bates, Matthew W. The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament & Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament. Oxford University Press: Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015 and Paperback Edition 2016.
  • Bates, Matthew W. The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation: The Center of Paul’s Method of Scriptural Interpretation.  Baylor University Press: Wayco, Texas, 2012.
  • Bates, Matthew W. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2017.
  • Belcher, Richard P. Jr. The Messiah and the Psalms: Preaching Christ from All the Psalms. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2006.
  • BibleWorks. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.
  • Bonar, Andrew A. Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms: 150 Inspirational Studies. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978.
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1974 in paperback.
  • Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L. The Septuagint Version: Greek and English. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.
  • Broyles, Craig C. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984.
  • Bullock, C. Hassell. Encountering the Book of Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.
  • Cameron, Michael. Christ Meets Me Everywhere: Augustine’s Early Figurative Exegesis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Childs, Brevard S. Biblical Theology in Crisis. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970.
  • Clowney, Edmund P. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
  • Costley, Clare L. 2004. “David, Bathsheba, and the Penitential Psalms*.” Renaissance Quarterly 57, no. 4: 1235-1277
  • Crossway. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001,2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. This publication contains The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. It includes the January 2008 Update. See also English Standard Version Bible Online: http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/ .
  • Darby, John, John Darby’s Synopsis, Whole Bible, Psalm 102, Available at Christianity.com, “Psalm 102 Bible Commentary: John Darby’s Synopsis,” https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=drby&b=19&c=102#%5B1%5D, Accessed on November 17, 2017.
  • Dines, Jennifer M. The Septuagint. London and New York: T&T Clark, 2004.
  • ESV. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. (ESV)
  • Feinberg, John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, Editors. Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981.
  • Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Baker’s Greek New Testament Library. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. BibleWorks, v.9.
  • Futato, Mark D. Edited by Howard, David M. Jr. Interpreting the Psalms: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2007.
  • Gingrich, F. Wilbur and Frederick William Danker, Editors. Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 2nd Edition. Copyright © 1965 by The University of Chicago Press.
  • Hawker, Robert S. The Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: The Book of Psalms, public domain. Available at http://grace-ebooks.com/library/Robert%20Hawker/RH_Poor%20Man%27s%20Old%20Testament%20Commentary%20Vol%204.pdf, published by Grace Baptist Church of Danville, Kentucky. Accessed May 3, 2018.
  • Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989.
  • The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. See also (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/. See also http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/.
  • Horne, George, Lord Bishop of Norwich. A Commentary on the Book of Psalms: In Which Their Literal and Historical Sense, as They Relate to King David and the People of Israel, Is Illustrated; and Their Application to Messiah, to the Church, and to Individuals as Members Thereof, Is Pointed Out; With a view to render the Use of the Psalter pleasing and profitable to all orders and degrees of Christians. Philadelphia: Alexander Towar, 1822.
  • Horsley, Samuel Lord Bishop. The Book of Psalms; Translated from the Hebrew: With Notes, Explanatory and Critical. London: 1815.
  • Jobes, Karen H. and Moises Silva. Invitation to the Septuagint. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2000.
  • Jones, R. Dean, Arranger. 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise. International Bible Society. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.
  • King’OO, Clare Costley. Miserere Mei: The Penitential Psalms in Late Medieval and Early Modern England. Notre Dame, IA: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012.
  • Law, Timothy Michael. When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Lewis, C. S. Reflections on the Psalms: The Celebrated Musings on One of the Most Intriguing Books of the Bible. Boston and New York: Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1958, 1986 and 2012.
  • Lynch, David K. “The San Andreus Fault.” Geology.com: Geoscience News and Information. https://geology.com/articles/san-andreas-fault.shtml. Accessed 4/7/2018.
  • Marcos, Natalio Fernandez Marcos. The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson. Netherlands: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000.
  • Nestle-Aland, Editors. Novum Testamentum Graece, 26th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979, 1987.
  • NIV. The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/
  • Pietersma, Albert, ed. A New English Translation of the Septuagint: The Psalms. Translated by Albert Pietersma. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Available online at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/24-ps-nets.pdf. Accessed April 27, 2018.
  • Pink, Arthur. An Exposition of Hebrews. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, 1954.
  • Rahlfs, Alfred, Editor. LXT – LXX Septuaginta (LXT) (Old Greek Jewish Scriptures), Copyright © 1935 by the Württembergische Bibelanstalt / Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society), Stuttgart.
  • Rahlfs-Hanhart. Septuaginta: Editio altera. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006.
  • Reardon, Patrick Henry. Christ in the Psalms, 2nd edition. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2011.
  • Saphir, Adolph. The Divine Unity of Scripture. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896. Public Domain.
  • Saphir, Adolph and Cortesi, Lawrence. “Chapter 4. Christ Above the Angels (Hebrews 1:5-2:4)” in The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Exposition. Public Domain. Available at http://juchre.org/saphir/heb2.htm Accessed 7/30/2017.
  • Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David: Containing an Original Exposition of the Book of Psalms; A Collection of Illustrative Extracts from the Whole Range of Literature; A Series of Homiletical Hints upon Almost Every Verse; And Lists of Writers upon Each Psalm in Three Volumes. Peabody: Henrickson Publishers, No Date.
  • Thayer, Joseph. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Abridged and Revised Thayer Lexicon). Ontario, Canada: Online Bible Foundation, 1997. BibleWorks, v.9. 
  • Tigay, Jeffrey H. “Psalm 7:5 and Ancient Near Eastern Treaties.” Journal of Biblical Literature 89, no. 2 (1970): 178-86. doi: 10.2307/3263047.
  • Tournay, Raymond Jacques. Seeing and Hearing God with the Psalms: The Prophetic Liturgy of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Translated by J. Edward Crowley. Sheffield, England: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (JSOT) Supplement Series 118, 1991.
  • Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston with Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Lament: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.
  • Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston with Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.

 

Link to Contents Page

Link to Annotated Bibliography   

Christ in the Psalms: An Annotated Bibliography

While my approach to Psalms is independently my own, in the sense that I first recognized Christ’s voice in Psalms before I consulted other sources, over roughly the past eight years, I have looked for confirmation from other writers. My viewpoint is that the Psalms are about Christ, and even further, predominantly his own words, spoken prophetically through human authors by means of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is difficult to find, both within Christian devotional and academic literature. Fortunately, as the Lord has guided my search, I have had some small success.

Because I will quote various authors in future posts, I want to introduce and briefly describe in advance the few books and authors I value.

Topic

My authorial intent in writing the series of articles in this blog is to encourage readers to seek the Lord’s own voice within the Psalter. For devotional purposes, hearing the Son’s voice through psalmic prophets carries great reward. With this intention in mind, the following few books have confirmed my own discoveries.

There are not many devotional books nor scholarly books available to the average reader who seeks either guidance or confirmation in hearing and identifying the Lord Christ’s voice in Psalms. I believe that the New Testament authors of the gospels, Acts, and letters did hear the Christ’s voice in Psalms and other books of the Old Testament. Christ himself, as recorded in several gospel locations (Matthew 22:44 and parallels; Luke 24:25-27; 44-47) perceived the Old Testament to have been written about himself. After his resurrection, he gave his disciples his own key to this understanding and helped them unlock the Scriptures for themselves (Acts 2:25-36). The author of Hebrews also wrote extensively about the Old Testament with the Christological viewpoint in mind.

The following annotated list includes authors favorable to the view that the Psalter and other biblical books contain a record of prayers and speech occurrences performed by Christ during all ages of his eternal existence and especially during his incarnation. These have been handed down prophetically through Old Testament authors by means of the Holy Spirit. In some of these speech occurrences, dialogue between Father and Son is displayed.

Discerning and dividing God’s Word in a manner that includes recognition of divine speech and dialogue in Psalms (and elsewhere in Scripture) is a rich and sorely overlooked field of study today. I hope this small list proves useful to those few who may be interested.

Bibles

New International Version Bible (NIV)

The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. See also (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/. See also http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/.

I recommend the versions published before the 2011 revision. I do not recommend that version because the gender neutral language erased some of the direct references to Christ “the man.”

Although the NIV uses a dynamic equivalence method, the older editions adhere to the literal intention of the text and are not influenced by a heavily biased set of presuppositions regarding hermeneutic principles.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. (NIV, 1983 Print Edition)

31 Days of Wisdom and Praise: Daily Readings from the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, New International Version. Arranged by R. Dean Jones. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990, by International Bible Society.

A small, pocket-sized NIV paperback arranged with five psalms per day, not in sequence. On a typical day, such as Day 25, for example, the reader would discover Psalms 25, 55, 85, 115, and 145. This edition provides a palatable way to read across the psalms and to finish the entire book in one month. Because of the unique arrangement, the reader is exposed to thematic connections within the psalms that otherwise might not be noticed in a strictly chronological reading. This is a very comfortable book in which to read and make small notations as in a daily devotional. There are few notes and no commentary.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. (ESV)

The ESV is a solid, clear, reliable, trustworthy, and consistent biblical translation based on literal hermeneutic principles. References include citations at the beginning of notes for a given passage, multiple citations are given, and the reader is not overly burdened by excessive notes.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; (ESV)

For those who may have access to digital or printed Bibles in the original languages, I recommend the following (which is also available in print):

Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L. The Septuagint Version: Greek and English. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.

Although the number of translations of the Septuagint (LXX) into English (LXE) have increased recently, for biblical research I recommend Brenton’s as one which adheres fairly closely to the Greek text and has not been redacted, or edited, to match the Masoretic (Hebrew) tradition. Because New Testament authors used the Septuagint as their personal Bibles and most often quoted a Septuagint version in their writing, it is a useful and important version to have for textual comparisons. Further, the Septuagint, although written a few centuries before Christ appeared, seems to make his prophetically proclaimed presence in the Old Testament clearer than many English translations based upon the Masoretic text and influenced by a biblical hermeneutic that discourages what translators sometimes term reading backward into a text. The Septuagint translators cannot be accused of interpreting the Old Testament in view of light from the New, since events of the New Testament were still future when the Septuagint translations were written.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of evil men. (LXE)

Note: For the purpose of hearing the voice of Christ in Psalms, most study Bibles will not help readers, and many may hinder. A good reference Bible that includes both forward and backward citations, word use references, and allusions between the Old and New Testaments is very useful. I do recommend the Bibles described above.

Other Resources

Archer, Gleason L. and Gregory Chirichigno. Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 1983.

As the title suggests, this book is a “must have” for locating Old Testament quotations that appear in the New Testament.

Barclay, John. The Psalms of David, and the Paraphrases and Hymns: With a Dissertation on the Book of Psalms, and Explanatory Introductions to Each. Edinburgh: James Gall, 1826. Reprinted Digitally by Forgotten Books, registered trademark of FB &c Ltd., London, 2017. Available at http://www.ForgottenBooks.com, 2017.

John Barclay, a Berean preacher of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, determined quite against the established church to preach what he uncovered in Scripture alone, no matter where that Scripture might lead. Accordingly, he ranks among those who recognize the figure of Christ the Messiah present throughout the Psalter, including Psalm 1. Just as he hears the Son’s prayers, he also hears the Father’s reply. He is one of very few who delineates a two-part dialogue in Psalm 102, as cited in Hebrews 1. He labels Psalm 102 with the superscription, “A pray’r of God’s afflicted Son…”

Even though Barclay’s Psalter is paraphrased verse, its rendering is remarkably literal. He reserves his comments and the detailed defense of his view for the initial preface to Psalm 1, raising and answering many objections to the understanding that Christ prays all the Psalms, and to the shorter prefaces before each of the other psalms.

Bates, Matthew W. The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament & Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament. Oxford University Press: Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015 and Paperback Edition 2016.

Matthew W. Bates, Ph.D., The University of Notre Dame is Assistant Professor of Theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.

To paraphrase E. B. White’s Wilbur the Pig, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true Christian and a good scholar. Matthew Bates is both.” In The Birth of the Trinity, Bates has gifted his readers a treasure chest. This is a magnificent book replete with highly detailed bibliographic and substantive footnotes, end references, and beautiful biblical, topical, and primary, secondary, ancient, and modern bibliographic indices.

Everything Bates writes is thoroughly focused and impressively complete on the topic of divine dialogue between Father and Son, as evidenced in the ancient Jewish Scripture, i.e., the Old Testament. As he demonstrates the early concept of Trinity, Bates closely examines and dissects biblical passages from the Old Testament that evidence speaker shifts, or dialogue, between the Divine Persons.  Then, just as thoroughly, he reviews the literary reception history of these passages that is found in the pages of the New Testament (by Jesus, Peter, Paul, Luke, the author of Hebrews, and others) and in extra-biblical, coeval literature by authors such as Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen. By these methods, he demonstrates that the Trinitarian God has “an unremitting personal concern for one another” (204) and that “the Christology of our earliest Christian sources is as high as that of our later sources.” (ibid.)

As concerns the topic of divine dialogue within Scripture, Bates performs the inestimably valuable service of structuring a framework of analysis, introducing a vocabulary (prosopological exegesis), and proposing a methodology for any reader to recognize and critically test such biblical speech. This book is a scholar’s prayer come true on the topic of divine dialogue in Scripture.

Bates, Matthew W. The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation: The Center of Paul’s Method of Scriptural Interpretation.  Baylor University Press: Wayco, Texas, 2012.

Matthew W. Bates, Ph.D., The University of Notre Dame is Assistant Professor of Theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.

While this book is about Paul’s use of kerygmatic proclamation, Matthew Bates’ central argument in exegeting Paul’s hermeneutic is Paul’s use of the reading technique Bates calls “prosopological exegesis.” He gives this topic three entire chapters, pages 183-355.

The book is excellent both for understanding this overlooked literary technique employed by the Holy Spirit through the prophets of the Old Testament and as a resource for further study of other authors writing on the same topic.

Belcher, Richard P. Jr. The Messiah and the Psalms: Preaching Christ from All the Psalms. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2006.

From the back cover of the book: Dr. Richard Belcher is Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina. He received an MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary and a PhD from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is also an active pastor.

Richard Belcher’s book tends more towards scholarship than devotion; however, his Christian beliefs shine forth in this work. The book discusses the psalms topically, according to received categories, such as Royal Psalms, direct and indirect Messianic Psalms, Psalms of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation, among others. Only thirty of the one hundred and fifty psalms are covered in particular analysis.

Belcher does not overtly recognize “speech” as such in this book. For example, he labels as oracles what Bates (above) terms “reported speech” in Psalm 110. Belcher appears to take a “middle of the road” approach regarding Christ in the Psalms. While he freely proposes the Psalms to be about Christ and demonstrates how many might be applicable to him, he does not seem to go beyond what current, traditional scholarship might accept. Belcher includes an excellent set of notes and bibliography. While there is a biblical index, there is no topical index.

BibleWorks. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.

BibleWorks is currently in its 10th edition. While not inexpensive, it is far less expensive than Logos, and its quality and user friendliness is supreme. Nearly all language translations are available, including photos of the original Dead Sea Scrolls. Users can design their own parallel columns with as many versions as they choose. BibleWorks contains all the digital and original language features any scholar or lay person might want. It does not contain commentaries. I highly recommend BibleWorks as being well worth its cost.

Bonar, Andrew A. Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms: 150 Inspirational Studies. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978.

Andrew Bonar, a nineteenth century (1810-1892) minister in the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Finieston Free Church, was a contemporary of Charles H. Spurgeon.

Bonar’s book on Psalms is a blessing to read, filled with the love, joy, and peace emanating from his devotion to Christ, as he is portrayed in Psalms and other Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. Bonar is an outstanding scholar who gives copious references to other works, which he cites in both text and footnotes, and who frequently cites both Hebrew and Greek.

Bonar is not ashamed to own Christ in the Psalms, yet he does so gently by biblical demonstration, never appearing strident or as though he has a point to prove. He recognizes divine dialogue. For example, he hears the plaintive voice of the suffering, incarnated Christ in Psalm 102, and he distinguishes the Father’s direct address to Christ as being one of reply: “From the Garden of Gethsemane…Sorrowful unto death, his soul cries, …” and, “It is here (compare Heb. i. 10-12) that the voice from the Father addresses him.” (303) Very few scholars, or even devotional writers, are able and/or willing to name Christ as the poor person in Psalm 102 and to hear the words of divine dialogue within that psalm. Bonar does.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1974 in paperback.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, best known perhaps for his being a willing martyr’s sacrifice at the hand of the Nazis, wrote his slim devotional book on Psalms in 1943.

Bonhoeffer writes, “And he [David] is not unaware of this, but ‘being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ’ (Acts 2:30 f.). David was a witness to Christ in his office, in his life, and in his words. The New Testament says even more. In the Psalms of David the promised Christ himself already speaks (Hebrews 2:12; 10:5) or, as may also be indicated, the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3:7). These same words which David spoke, therefore, the future Messiah spoke through him. The prayers of David were prayed also by Christ. Or better, Christ himself prayed them through his forerunner David” (18-19).

Cameron, Michael. Christ Meets Me Everywhere: Augustine’s Early Figurative Exegesis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Michael Cameron wrote Christ Meets Me Everywhere while an Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Portland in Oregon.

As Cameron explains in his introduction, he was careful to enter into the mind of Augustine himself in order to lead readers into an understanding of this prodigious writer in the context of his own times and mindframe. Chapter 6 is titled, “Hearing Voices: Christ at Prayer ‘In the Psalm and on the Cross.” It explores Augustine’s Exposition of the Psalms and the interpretive method of uncovering the use of prosopoligical exegesis within the psalms, a rhetorical device common in the classics and during the time period when the Psalter was written.

Cameron writes concerning Augustine and the psalms, “He read them according to the Church’s already ancient tradition, which heard them not only speaking about Christ but even as transcribing the thoughts of Christ’s inner life” (Christ Meets Me Everywhere, 9).

Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989.

Richard B. Hays is a highly respected, world-renowned scholar of New Testament theology and its writers. He was Dean of Duke Divinity School as recently as 2015.

Hays’ approach to Paul’s letters is fresh, vibrant, and alive. While the goal of the book is not to challenge one of the most dearly held tenets of modern exegesis, namely, that a biblical text can only mean what it meant to its original readers, he does just that. Scrupulously using all the tools of exegetical academics, he casts the Apostle Paul as a charismatic writer and seeks to prove by means of Paul’s own words that the biblical text is alive and interactive, even today. He also grants today’s readers permission to read Scripture as Paul did. I happened to finish reading the book on a New Year’s Eve, and truly, Hays sets off a giant bundle of fireworks in the field of biblical exegesis.

Hays writes, “Illuminated by the Spirit…Paul’s reading of Scripture are transformative: by correlating God’s word to Israel with the new circumstances of his churches and the content of his kerygma, he generates novel interpretations that nonetheless claim to be the true, eschatologically disclosed sense of the ancient texts. Even passages that might have seemed perspicuous, such as Deut. 30:11-14, turn out to have concealed a meaning manifest only in Paul’s inspired reading, a meaning that neither Moses nor Ezra could have guessed…” (Echoes, 154-155).

In answer to the question, May we as today’s readers do what Paul did, Hays replies, “Yes.” “…Paul’s readings of Scripture enact a certain imaginative vision of the relation between Scripture and God’s eschatological activity in the present time. To learn from Paul how to read Scripture is to learn to share that vision, so that we can continue to read and speak under the guidance of the Spirit, interpreting Scripture in light of the gospel and the gospel in light of Scripture… Paul exhorted his readers to become imitators of him (1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1; Phil. 3:17). Surely to imitate him faithfully we must learn from him the art of reading and proclaiming Scripture (Echoes, 183).

Law, Timothy Michael. When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible. New York: Oxford, University Press, 2013.

“Timothy Michael Law is Founding Editor of the Marginalia Review of Books, Contributing Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Lecturer in Divinity at the University of St Andrews. He has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in the Georg-August-Universität Gottingen (2012-2014), a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxfored (2009-2012), and a Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2009-2014)” (http://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/masthead/timothy-michael-law/. Accessed May 16, 2018).

Law writes, “What would modern Christian theology look like if its theologians returned the Septuagint to the place it occupied at the foundation of the church, or at least began to read it alongside the Hebrew Bible, as a witness to the story of the Bible and in acknowledgment of its role in shaping Christianity? … I have tried to do the work of the historian, and perhaps now the door is open wide enough for the theologians to walk through it” (When God Spoke Greek, 171) .

Law’s book is a “thriller” of the academic world, not too difficult for the lay reader to follow, and definitely difficult to lay aside without reading to its very last page. Of great value to the student are the 35 plus pages of bibliographic notes. Its main point, which is the tremendous role the Septuagint played in shaping both the New Testament and the theology of the early church through Origen, Augustine, and up until Jerome, is easy to follow and to grasp.

Pink, Arthur. An Exposition of Hebrews. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, 1954.

Arthur Pink (1886-1952) of the Reformed tradition, was born in Great Britain, studied at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, pastored in four states of the United States, became an itinerant preacher, returned to Scotland in 1940, and continued writing until his death. Pink is widely respected today as a biblical scholar, and his book of 1,307 pages, An Exposition of Hebrews, is now a classic.

Why include a commentary on Hebrews in a bibliography about Psalms? Psalms is quoted in Hebrews at least 16 times. Citations from the Psalter form the backbone of the writer’s basic arguments in the first and second chapters of Hebrews, as well as elsewhere in the book. Most relevant to this discussion, the Letter to the Hebrews is a large and important piece of evidence in the reception history of Psalms in the early church.

Hebrews provides tremendous evidence that the writer of the letter and the readers in that day clearly understood that Psalms includes dialogue between Father and Son. While Pink authored his book on Hebrews long before Matthew Bates (see above) most likely was born, he himself uses Bates’ prosopological exegesis (this refers to a reading technique in which the reader understands that the psalmist writer has slipped into in-character-dialogue, often between Father and Son, within the text of the psalm) in his understanding and explaining the text of Hebrews in relevant portions (of course he did not use Bates’ unique term for this reading technique). Chapter 1 of Hebrews is replete with the biblical author’s use of prosopological exegesis to make his points to his readers. Pink recognizes these instances as matters of fact and expounds these psalmic passages for his readers in a completely unselfconscious manner with the portions of dialogue clearly explained.

Reardon, Patrick Henry. Christ in the Psalms, 2d ed. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2000, 2011.

Taken from the back cover of his book, “Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago.” He has written several books, including The Jesus We Missed (2012) and Reclaiming the Atonement Volume 1: The Incarnation (2015).

Psalms is the book most often quoted in the New Testament. According to the authors of the New Testament, writes Reardon, Christ “walks” within the Psalms. (viii) “…to pray the psalms is to pray them in Jesus’ name, because the voice in the Psalter is Christ’s own voice. Christ is the referential center of the Book of Psalms.” … “Ultimately, the words of the psalms are the mighty name of Jesus broken down into its component parts. Thus has it always been.” (viii)

Reardon’s work contradicts the recent academic premise, introduced during the Enlightenment, that the Old Testament can only mean what its human authors and the listeners of that day may have thought it meant, as reconstructed by today’s scholars. The “radical premise” (viii) of Reardon’s approach to Psalms is the theological unity of the Old and New Testaments. Further, the foundation of the biblical unity is the continuity of the church with ancient Israel. (viii)

Reardon demonstrates that the Psalter, like many other parts of Scripture, includes dialogue in multiple voices. Reardon compares the dialogue to mini-dramas. When we pray the prayers of Psalms, we enter into the voice and character of Christ the Son of God, as he and the Father engage in dialogue with one another. We also enter into the conversation between the Church and God, Father and Son, that is audible in both Testaments. Reardon claims that it is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to teach us these things, “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV) Reardon labels his viewpoint concerning the unity of Old and New Testaments “radical.” (viii) I can heartily agree, as sadly, in today’s era, we do not find this viewpoint often encouraged.

Concerning divine dialogue within the Psalms, Reardon appeals to Justin Martyr. “‘The Divine Word,’ said Justin, ‘sometimes speaks as from the person [apo prosopou] of God, the Ruler and Father of all, sometimes as from the person [apo prosopou] of Christ, sometimes from the person [apo prosopou] of the peoples answering the Lord or His s

The remainder of Reardon’s book explores each psalm individually with Christ in view throughout. His presentation is both devotional and scholarly, including multiple citations from related portions of Scripture and occasional references to other authors.

For a casual audience, Reardon is vastly more readable than Bates (above), because Reardon does not include the prolific technical detail of the latter. Sadly, Reardon does not include an index.

Saphir, Adolph. The Divine Unity of Scripture. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896. Public Domain. Available at https://archive.org/stream/divineunityofscr00saph/divineunityofscr00saph_djvu.txt. Accessed 3/08/2018.

Adolph Saphir (1831-1891) was born in Hungary of Jewish parents. The entire family converted to Christianity in response to the Jewish mission of the Church of Scotland. He became a Christian pastor and lived most of his adult life in Great Britain. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Saphir,_Adolph_(DNB00).

This book is fresh air. While it is not about Psalms in particular, it is about Scripture from the perspective of one converted to Christianity from Judaism. Adolph Saphir captures the essence of the Reformation and marries Scripture and the Holy Spirit. His view is that Scripture, by means of the Holy Spirit, is available to all, regardless of education or “expertise.” While the pastor/teacher’s role in scriptural interpretation is genuine, that role is to present the “key” that allows readers to unlock Scripture for themselves, much as Phillip presented the key to the Ethiopian eunuch, who then went on his way without Phillip, the book of Isaiah happily in his hands. The key which both Phillip and Saphir present is Christ, whom they acknowledge as the center of Scripture.

Saphir writes, “The synagogue has given me the Old Testament, and am I therefore to deny that Jesus is the Messiah? Because the synagogue has given me the Old Testament, am I bound to interpret the Old Testament with their blindness? I am thankful that it has given me the Old Testament, but it has no authority to interpret to me the Old Testament. [See note below*.] And as for the Church that has given me the New Testament, I am thankful to the Church that has given me the New Testament. But the authority of the Church in interpreting the New Testament, specially [spelling in original]  when it says exactly the opposite to what is written in the New Testament, certainly no Christian can acknowledge, for the Scripture is very simple and plain.” (143-144)

*This author’s Note: Contra the mantra, The Old Testament can only mean what the original authors and readers of that day would have understood it to mean.

Saphir, Adolph and Cortesi, Lawrence. “Chapter 4. Christ Above the Angels (Hebrews 1:5-2:4)” in The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Exposition. Public Domain. Available at http://juchre.org/saphir/heb2.htm Accessed 7/30/2017.

Adolph Saphir (1831-1891) was born in Hungary of Jewish parents. The entire family converted to Christianity in response to the Jewish mission of the Church of Scotland. He became a Christian pastor and lived most of his adult life in Great Britain. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Saphir,_Adolph_(DNB00).

In his exposition of the book of Hebrews, Adolph Saphir acknowledges the voice of Christ in all the psalms. He writes, “Christ is in all the psalms; they speak of Him.” To Saphir, not only do the psalms speak of Christ, but both Christ and the Father speak to one another from within psalms. One example is Psalm 102. Saphir writes, “Then it is that God the Father replies to Him, ‘Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands’ (Heb 1:10)… this suffering One is the Lord; He is the same, and His years fail not.” (Both of the above quotations can be found at https://juchre.org/saphir/heb2.htm.)

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The foregoing Annotated Bibliography is hardly a beginning. Hopefully, as time progresses, the list of authors who hear divine dialogue within the pages of Psalms will increase.

 

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My Take on God as He Appears in Psalms

Presuppositions

When readers approach a piece of literature in isolation, from a cold start, it is helpful to know where it fits in to the large picture of life. Who wrote it? What is it about? What are its claims for itself? Psalms has a distinct voice and point of view that are easily recognized. Psalms is about the Judeo-Christian God. Its voices speak about God, to God, and by God.

Postmodernism acknowledges few authorities in life; little is fixed, certain, or absolute. Concepts such as good and evil rarely exist and prove difficult to define. Even the premises of language itself are not to be trusted. Everything is up for grabs—there are no givens.

The point of view of Psalms is opposite from that of postmodernism. God in Psalms is the supreme and supremely authoritative being with personality. Absolutes of good and evil exist and are clearly defined. Language, including metaphor, is to be taken at face value. Male pronouns are used to refer to God. Psalms invites the reader to come to God (Psalm 34:8).

In Psalms, God is the creator of all things, and he remains highly involved and concerned about the people he created. God is good, but he has enemies, including a chief enemy. Both God’s goodness and the wickedness of his enemies are absolutes.

Psalms recounts how God called out a special people, Israel, to be his own. Israel’s history, recorded elsewhere in Scripture, is often recalled in Psalms. God is jealous over Israel, much as a husband might be jealous for his wife.

Though Psalms talks about absolutes, its language can be difficult. The various psalms often use pronouns, and these are just as often not defined. The referents of the pronouns frequently change within a single psalm. Sometimes the changes are marked by clues of identity; often they are not. The reader must keep in mind the basic premises outlined above (God is supreme authority; God is good; God loves, cares for, and is jealous over his people Israel; God has enemies) as aids for understanding who are the subjects, objects, and speaker(s). Many of the psalms, especially what are commonly called the “Psalms of David,” are in first person. Readers can be challenged to recognize the identity of the speaker in first person.

The New Testament offers a key for interpreting Psalms. Jesus Christ identifies himself as their subject (Luke 24:44). Other writers, notably Peter (Acts 1:20; 1:25-36), Paul (Luke 13:33-36), and the author of the letter to the Hebrews (nearly all of Chapter 1), read and write of Psalms with Jesus Christ in view. Further, the Rule of Faith, as preached by the Apostles (1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, ESV), and the basic facts of Jesus’ life, as presented in the four gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are great keys to unlocking and interpreting the psalms, especially as means of identifying the first person speaker. The specifics of the gospel message that the apostles preached, as outlined above, is called the kerygma of Apostolic preaching. I, as writer of this blog, will use the keys presented in this paragraph in my ongoing guide to Psalms. Not least, but finally, it is always good, helpful, and even essential to pray for God’s guidance before and while considering any portion of Scripture, including Psalms. The Bible is God’s Word, and he wants us to “get it.”

 

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