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11. Psalm 18: Resurrection

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Outline of Series

I. Introduction

Psalms 18 is God’s answer to the petition of Psalm 17. It is also the sequel to Psalm 88, the dark psalm, the wondrous psalm about the crucifixion of Christ. The psalms do this: they speak to one another and connect in ways not according to their numerical sequence. That is, they are not as a whole arranged in an order that reflects chronologically the life of Christ. The reader therefore needs to be flexible in joining psalms together that tell Christ’s whole story and in listening for echoes that call back and forth among them.

Psalm 18 is an exciting narrative. It is almost as though the psalmist were saying, “Wow! Was I ever in trouble! I called out to God for help, and let me tell you what he did for me!” This psalm is personal testimony–the psalmist as narrator relates his great adventure story to convey to his readers the enormity of God’s saving actions on the day the psalmist lay trapped in the grave and God rescued and resurrected him.

Luke 24:46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

Acts 10:39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear,

Romans 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

1 Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 

1 Corinthians 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
    O death, where is your sting?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 

For those who may be interested in current academic consensus for Christ’s resurrection, see Technical article by Gary Habermas, Accessed on June 27, 2017

II. What Makes Psalm 18 Messianic?

A. The writer to the book of Hebrews quotes vs 2 as having come directly from the mouth of Christ.

Hebrews 2:11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” 13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

B. Paul quotes vs 49 in connection with Christ’s having welcomed the Gentiles.

Romans 15:7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”

C. As Andrew Bonar (Bonar, 60-61) points out, these verses form as it were bookends for the entire psalm. If the beginning and end of the psalm is considered messianic by New Testament writers, why wouldn’t the entire psalm?

D. The content and language of the psalm fit more aptly the life of Christ than the life of David.

1. David could not honestly speak words like these:

Psalm 18:20 The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me. 21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. 22 For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me. 23 I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt. 24 So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

2. The description of God’s rescuing the narrator is one of the most dramatic in all of scripture. While God did indeed rescue David from many situations over time, God rescued Christ from the grave pointedly in one night, upsetting the entire natural order of life’s always ending in death.  And, the historical details of Christ’s death and resurrection were highly dramatic themselves:

Matthew 28:2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 

Mark 16:19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Luke 24:4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen…

John 20:12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” 

E. Peter tells us in Acts that David was a prophet who had conscious knowledge of the coming of the future Messiah and knowingly wrote about him.

Acts 2:23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

III. The Structure of Psalm 18

A. Psalm 18 can be classified as a prophetic, narrative poem in which the psalmist/narrator describes 1) an event that happened to him, 2) the reason for the event, and 3) the consequences of the event. He praises God throughout his narration in third person with occasional insertions of second person that speak directly to God.

B. Introduction: Verses 1-3

Psalm 18:1 I love you, O LORD, my strength. 2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

C. Statement of the psalm’s theme, verse 6: the psalmist’s cry for help and the Lord’s response

Psalm 18:6 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.

D. Sections

1. Narrative relating what happened: resurrection, vss 4-19a

2. Reasons God resurrected the psalmist/narrator: vss 19b-24

3. Explanation of God’s character and motivations: vss 25-27

4. Consequences for the psalmist/narrator: past, present, and future

a. past: vss 28-30

b. past: the enemies, vss 37-42, include death (1 Corinthians 15:34-36) and “the devil…the rulers…the authorities…the cosmic powers over this present darkness…the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:11-12).

c. future: the enemies will also be revealed in the judgment at Christ’s second coming.

Psalm 18:37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed. 38 I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise; they fell under my feet. 39 For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me. 40 You made my enemies turn their backs to me, and those who hated me I destroyed. 41 They cried for help, but there was none to save; they cried to the LORD, but he did not answer them. 42 I beat them fine as dust before the wind; I cast them out like the mire of the streets.

d. present: Christ is currently the head of nations and worldwide conqueror of souls in the church/missionary age.

Psalm 18:43 You delivered me from strife with the people; you made me the head of the nations; people whom I had not known served me. 44 As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me; foreigners came cringing to me. 45 Foreigners lost heart and came trembling out of their fortresses.

5. Praise

Psalm 18:30 This God–his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 31 For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?–

46 The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation–

49 For this I will praise you, O LORD, among the nations, and sing to your name. 50 Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.  

IV. Encouragement for Today’s Readers

The set of verses in the introduction to this article (see above) encourage us today with the sure knowledge that as believers, after death comes resurrection. Who does not experience from time to time seasons and events that seem like death and dying itself? The promise of God’s word is that we will pass through these multiple deaths unscathed, just as Daniel emerged from the fiery furnace and the lion’s den. God always brings us through our personal experiences of death and dying not only unharmed but stronger in spirit, joy, love and faith for God, better equipped for giving our testimony to others, just as the psalmist in Psalm 18, and more willing and able to offer support to those who are also suffering.

This is the End of the current series. My prayer is that you will be greatly blessed in your own journey of discovering Christ in the Psalms.

Previous in Psalms

 

10. Psalms 22, 38, and 88: Which Are Messianic?

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Outline of Series

Argument:

I. Psalm 22 is nearly always considered messianic.

II. Psalms 38 and 88 are seldom, if ever, included in academic lists of messianic psalms. 

III. Psalms 22:1-21a, 38, and 88 have strong similarities among themselves and with New Testament citations and allusions.

IV. The texts of Psalms 22:1-21a, 38, and 88 are highly similar in tone and content.

V. Given that a few academic writers, for example, Augustine and Richard Belcher, and many devotional writers, such as Andrew Bonar, claim to hear the voice of Christ in his passion prophetically spoken through the words of Psalms 38 and 88, this writer concludes that these psalms and many such psalms may reasonably be considered as prophetically pronouncing the prayers of Christ, even though not directly cited as messianic by New Testament writers.

 

I. Psalm 22, which is directly messianic, is one of the most frequently cited psalms in the New Testament. In addition to quotations, there are multiple allusions to it. Portions of the psalm refer to events that never occurred in King David’s life, nor in the life of any other Israelite king. Psalm 22 was always and originally intended to refer to King Jesus, as the inscription on the cross above his head testified, ” …’This is the King of the Jews.'” (Luke 23:38)

 

 

New Testament Citations of Psalm 22

 

Psalm 22:1 To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

 

 

Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

 

Psalm 22:18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

 

 

John 19:24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did these things,

Matthew 27:35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.

 

Psalm 22:22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

 

 

Hebrews 2:12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

 

 

New Testament Allusions to Psalm 22

 

 Psalm 22:1 To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

 

Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Psalm 22:5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

 Romans 9:33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Psalm 22:7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

 

Luke 23:35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine.

See also Mat 27:39-43; Mar 15:29-32

Psalm 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

Matthew 3:17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Mark 1:11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Luke 3:22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Psalm 22:15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

 

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”

Psalm 22:16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet–

 

Mark 15:24 And they crucified him…

Luke 24:40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

John 19:37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

John 20:25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

See also Mat 27:35;  Luk 23:33; Joh 19:23

Psalm 22:17 I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me;

 

Luke 23:35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

Psalm 22:18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

 

Matthew 27:35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.

See also Luke 23:34

Psalm 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!

 

Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

See also Phi 3:2

Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, and he has not hidden his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him.

 

Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

 Psalm 22:26 The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; those who seek him shall praise the LORD! May your hearts live forever!

 

John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

 

Psalm 22:27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.

 

Matthew 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

 Psalm 22:28 For kingship belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations.

 

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

 Psalm 22:29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.

 

Philippians 2:10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

 

II. Following is a list of commonly accepted messianic psalms. Neither Psalm 38 nor Psalm 88 is on this list. Generally, only those psalms which are cited in the New Testament are considered messianic. Academicians debate whether psalms not cited by New Testament authors as messianic can be considered so by other academicians and lay readers.

Messianic Psalms Quoted in the New Testament

Excerpted from  http://www.simplybible.com/f01p-psalms-about-christ.htm

 

III. Following is a chart showing similarities between Psalm 22, which is broadly accepted as directly messianic, and Psalms 38 and 88 respectively, which are generally not included in lists of messianic psalms.

 

Verse Comparisons of Psalms 22, 38, and 88

 


Psalm 22

NT Citations NT Allusions Psalm 38

Psalm 88

         

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

Mt 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

See also Mk15:34

Heb 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

21 Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me!

14 O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me? 4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit…5 like one set loose among the dead… whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand.

         

18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

Mt 27:35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots.

See also Jn 19:24

     
         

22 I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:

Heb 2:12 saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”

     
         

7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

 

Lk 23:35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”

 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine

 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!”

 

 
         

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.

 

Mt 26:56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.

11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.

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;

         

12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet–

   

19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully.

 
         

15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

   

13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth.

 14 I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,

         

17 I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me;

       
         

20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!  21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

   

20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!  21 Save me from the mouth of the lion!

9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you… 13 But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

         

 

Psalms 38 and 88 add the element of God’s wrath to the crucifixion. Additionally, Psalm 22:1-2 speak of God’s having forsaken Christ, but Psalm 22 does not speak of God’s will and purpose having placed Christ on the cross. Psalms 33 and 88 do make this clear in addition to making clear that the cross was an expression of God’s wrath.

Psalm 38:2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me.

 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.

Psalm 88:6 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

 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;

Psalm 88: 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.

None of the three psalms considered here make clear that Christ’s death on the cross was substitutionary—a sacrificial atonement for sin–the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous. The New Testament epistles do teach this, however.

NET  2 Corinthians 5:21 God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

ESV  Romans 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

Hebrews 9:26 … he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

In 1 Peter 2:24 just above, Peter quotes from Isaiah 53:5.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.

The New Testament’s Acts and epistles use forms of the word “suffer” when referring to Christ’s sacrificial ordeal upon the cross.

Acts 1:3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

Acts 17:3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”

Hebrews 9: 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,  26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.  27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,  28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Hebrews 13:12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

 

IV. Further insight into similarities among Psalms 22, 38, and 88 can be had by reading the three psalms side by side or in parallel fashion.

 

 

Psalms 22, 38, and 88 Side by Side

 

Psalm 22:1 To the choirmaster: according to The Doe of the Dawn. A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?

Psalm 38:1 A Psalm of David, for the memorial offering. O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath!

Psalm 88:1 A Song. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. To the choirmaster: according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite. O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.

Psalm 22:2 O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Psalm 38:2 For your arrows have sunk into me, and your hand has come down on me.

Psalm 88:2 Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry!

Psalm 22:3 Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Psalm 38:3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin.

Psalm 88:3 For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol.

Psalm 22:4 In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them.

 

Psalm 38:4 For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.

Psalm 88:4 I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength,

 

Psalm 22:5 To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

 

Psalm 38:5 My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness,

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.

 

Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people.

 

Psalm 38:6 I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning.

Psalm 88:6 You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep.

 

Psalm 22:7 All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;

 

Psalm 38:7 For my sides are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh.

Psalm 88:7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah

 

Psalm 22:8 “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

 

Psalm 38:8 I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart.

Psalm 88:8 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;

 

Psalm 22:9 Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.

 

Psalm 38:9 O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.

Psalm 88:9 my eye grows dim through sorrow. Every day I call upon you, O LORD; I spread out my hands to you.

 

Psalm 22:10 On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

 

Psalm 38:10 My heart throbs; my strength fails me, and the light of my eyes–it also has gone from me.

Psalm 88:10 Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed rise up to praise you? Selah

 

Psalm 22:11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 1

 

Psalm 38:11 My friends and companions stand aloof from my plague, and my nearest kin stand far off.

Psalm 88:11 Is your steadfast love declared in the grave, or your faithfulness in Abaddon?

 

Psalm 22:12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;

 

Psalm 38:12 Those who seek my life lay their snares; those who seek my hurt speak of ruin and meditate treachery all day long.

Psalm 88:12 Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

 

Psalm 22:13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

 

Psalm 38:13 But I am like a deaf man; I do not hear, like a mute man who does not open his mouth.

Psalm 88:13 But I, O LORD, cry to you; in the morning my prayer comes before you.

 

Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast;

 

Psalm 38:14 I have become like a man who does not hear, and in whose mouth are no rebukes.

Psalm 88:14 O LORD, why do you cast my soul away? Why do you hide your face from me?

 

Psalm 22:15 my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.

 

Psalm 38:15 But for you, O LORD, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.

Psalm 88:15 Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer your terrors; I am helpless.

 

Psalm 22:16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet–

 

Psalm 38:16 For I said, “Only let them not rejoice over me, who boast against me when my foot slips!”

Psalm 88:16 Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me.

 

Psalm 22:17 I can count all my bones– they stare and gloat over me;

 

Psalm 38:17 For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me.

Psalm 88:17 They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.

 

Psalm 22:18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.

 

Psalm 38:18 I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.

Psalm 88:18 You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness. [Psalm 88 ends]

 

Psalm 22:19 But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

 

Psalm 38:19 But my foes are vigorous, they are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully.

 

Psalm 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog!

 

Psalm 38:20 Those who render me evil for good accuse me because I follow after good.

 

Psalm 22:21 Save me from the mouth of the lion! … [Psalm 22 continues with abrupt change to praise]

Psalm 38:21 Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! [Psalm 38 ends]

V. This writer sees the situation and events of Jesus’ life as recorded in the gospels significantly represented in the words of the Psalmic prophet in Psalms 38 and 88. The strong correlations between Psalm 22, openly acknowledged as messianic, and Psalms 38 and 88 support this conclusion.

Among modern academicians, Richard Belcher Jr. also sees Christ in Psalm 88 (Belcher,  75-76).

Concerning Psalm 38, The Orthodox Study Bible states, “Ps 37 [38 Hebrew] reveals the great love of Christ for mankind in His sufferings and death on the cross…” and “And although He was ‘separate from sinners’ (Heb 7:26) and ‘knew no sin’ (2Co 5:21), yet out of His great compassion for sinners, He prays this prayer in a relative sense as though He were one of them. Thus, He takes the place of sinners as one of them, and intercedes to the father for their salvation in the midst of His sufferings and death on the cross” (The Orthodox Study Bible, 707).

Concerning Psalm 38, Augustine, as cited by Andrew Bonar, writes, “It would be hard not to apply to Christ a Psalm that as graphically describes his passion as if we were reading it out of the gospels” (Bonar, 128-29).

Bonar’s consideration of Psalm 88 also focuses on Christ as the speaker in that psalm (Bonar, 263-65).

In short, those who approach the reading of these and similar psalms devotionally have little trouble seeing them as prayers of Christ during his passion.

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9. Engaging Spiritual Battle: Psalms’ Prophetic Prayers and Praises

Bibliography

Outline of Series

I. Introduction

As a young Christian I kept a handmade journal which I titled, “A Prayer Warrior’s Songbook.” In it I copied Scripture, because these were what sustained me in those years of direct and vigorous spiritual battle against the dark forces of fear, evil, and imprisonment that rose against my young life of faith in Christ. Similarly, the entire Psalter could be titled, “The Prayer Warrior’s Songbook.”

Sometimes in our reading, we bump into an author who thinks as a soul sister or brother would. In the first pages of Patrick Henry Reardon’s book, “Christ in the Psalms,” I find such a brother. He writes:

To pray the psalms correctly, then, it is very important that we properly identify the enemies…The enemies here are…those hostile forces spoken of in the very first verse of the Book of Psalms–‘the counsel of the ungodly.’ ‘For we do not wrestle,’ after all, ‘against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Eph. 6:12) To relinquish any one of the psalms on the excuse that its sentiments are too violent for a Christian is a clear sign that a person has also given up the very battle that a Christian is summoned from his bed to fight. [Psalm 3:5] The psalms are prayers for those engaged in an ongoing spiritual conflict. No one else need bother even opening the book.[emphasis added] (Reardon, Christ in the Psalms, 6)

Did we get that? “The psalms are prayers for those engaged in an ongoing spiritual conflict.”

Psalms form a horizontal cross-section that bears witness to the spiritual battle that led to and included the crucifixion of Christ. Spread across centuries of preparation for the cross, there are a series of petitions and intercessions, interspersed with worship, by the battling psalmist himself  and by a chorus of prayer team members, who celebrate his final victory.

II. The Suffering Christ of the Gospels

Luke 24: 25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Luke 24: 44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

A. The Gospels Chronicle a Suffering Christ

  • Matthew 8:20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
  • NAU Matthew 9:3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.”
  • Matthew 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
  • Matthew 9:34 But the Pharisees said, “He casts out demons by the prince of demons.”
  • Matthew 27:29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”

 

  • Mark 3:5 …”Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. 6 The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.
  • Mark 6:2 And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
  • Mark 11:18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.

 

  • Luke 4:2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry.
  • Luke 4:28 When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.
  • Luke 22:21 But behold, the hand of him who betrays me is with me on the table.
  • Luke 22:52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
  • Luke 23: 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!”

 

  • John 8:59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.
  • John 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.
  • John 11:8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?”
  • John 19:18

B. The Gospels Chronicle a Christ Who Stood Alone

 

  • John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
  • John 2: 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
  • Mark 1:35 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
  • Matthew 14:23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
  • John 6:15 Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.
  • Matthew 26:56 “But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
  • Luke 22:61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”

III. David the Forerunner and Type of Christ

A. God Selected David and Bestowed Great Promises on Him and His Seed

1 Samuel 16:1 The LORD said to Samuel…”I have provided for myself a king…”

1 Samuel 16: 12 …And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward…

2 Samuel 7:4 But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan… 5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:…12 “When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, 15 but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” 17 In accordance with all these words, and in accordance with all this vision, Nathan spoke to David.

Psalm 78:70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds;

Ezekiel 34:23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Ezekiel 34:24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.

Ezekiel 37:24 “My servant David shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall walk in my rules and be careful to obey my statutes.

Isaiah 22:22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Revelation 3:7 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

B. David and the New Testament

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew 9:27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”

Matthew 12:23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?”

Matthew 21:15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that He had done, and the children who were shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became indignant.

Mark 12:35 And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 “David himself said in the Holy Spirit, ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET.”‘ 37 “David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him.

Luke 1:32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

John 7:42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

Acts:2 30 [Peter speaking] “And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. 32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, 35 UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.”‘ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ– this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Acts 13: 22 [Paul speaking] “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.’ 23 “From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,

Romans 1:1 … the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 

Revelation 5:5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Revelation 22:16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

B. David and the Psalms

Most agree that these are the psalms written by David:

  • Psalms 3 through 41, except Psalms 10 and 33
  • Psalms 51 through 70, except Psalms 66 and 67
  • Psalms 86, 101, 108-110, 122, 124, 131, 133, 138-145

Many would agree with the following statement:

The humanism of the Psalter is a humanism rooted in the Incarnation. The Psalter is not human merely because it speaks for an in general, but because it speaks for Christ. The underlying voice of the Psalms is not simply “man,” but the Man. To enter into the prayer of this book is not merely to share the sentiments of King David, or Asaph, or ne of the other inspired poets. Indeed, in a theological sense the voices of these men are secondary hardly more important than our own. The foundational voice of the Psalms, the underlying bass line of its harmony is, rather, the voice of Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man (Reardon, 13).

IV. How Structure and Content Coincide in Psalms

A. First person singular (“I”) petitions for deliverance from trouble and suffering are most often psalms of David. Exceptions are Psalms 42, 43, and the great Psalm 88, all superscribed with the name “Sons of Korah.”

Psalm 31:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 2 Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! 3 For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; 4 you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.

B. First person plural (“we”) petitions: Likewise, David most often stands alone making intercession for himself. Psalms does not record many national or communal prayers on behalf of the suffering king. Communal laments and petitions for God’s help mostly reflect the suffering of the people or of the nation.

Psalm 74:1 A Maskil of Asaph. O God, why do you cast us off forever? Why does your anger smoke against the sheep of your pasture? 2 Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt. 3 Direct your steps to the perpetual ruins; the enemy has destroyed everything in the sanctuary!

EXCEPTION: Psalm 132 stands almost alone as an exception in which a spokesperson of the people/nation acknowledges before God, “David your servant,” in connection with David’s suffering, while at the same time pleading for David’s posterity, Zion, the people.

Psalm 132:1 A Song of Ascents. Remember, O LORD, in David’s favor, all the hardships he endured,

1. These facts (A and B above) reflect in the New Testament, for in the New Testament, time and again, we see Christ alone interceding for himself and his disciples, rather than vice versa.

Rather than praying to God for their Teacher, the disciples mostly argued among themselves about which of them would be greatest in God’s kingdom. Judas betrayed Christ. The three disciples chosen by Jesus to accompany him into the Garden of Gethsemane, when asked by Jesus to watch and pray with him, fell asleep. All of them ran away during Christ’s hour of greatest need, and Peter denied him three times. None of them expected or prayed for the resurrection, and many of them had difficulty believing in the resurrection when it did occur.

2. These facts (A and B above) underscore that the church as community was not birthed until after Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and his sending of the Holy Spirit.

3. The Psalms reflect the reality that Jesus stood alone.

D. The majority of David’s prayers–not all–are petitions for God’s help in his great troubles. He was the suffering shepherd/king.

Psalm 22:19 But you, O LORD, do not be far off! O you my help, come quickly to my aid!

E. The remainder of David’s prayers are praise celebrations of God’s goodness and the victories he grants David.

Psalm 34:1 Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

F. Israel’s communal psalms (first person plural) about the king mostly reflect the king’s glories and victories. They thank and praise God for the king in his splendor and might. They mostly do not mention the king’s sufferings.

Psalm 45:1 To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song. My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever. 3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride out victoriously for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds! 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; 7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;

1. Israel’s community psalms about the glories and victories of their king reflect the fact that the church was birthed after Jesus’ resurrection (victory over sin and death) and ascension into glory. The church per se only knows Christ post-resurrection.

2. Unlike the community of Israel as represented in the prayers of the psalms (see B above), the church remembers Christ’s suffering in the memorial ordinance of communion, in its liturgies, and in other group and individual prayers that praise and thank God for Christ’s suffering and sacrifice on her behalf.

V. Praying the Psalms Today

A. Praying for Ourselves as Individuals

B. Praying for Ourselves as Christ’s Body, His Church

C. Praying the Psalms as a Means of Entering Into, Acknowledging, and Appreciating the Sufferings of Christ the Incarnated Man

 

 

 

 

 

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8. Psalm 2: A Royal Psalm, Psalmic Prophecy, and Speech

Bibliography

Outline of Series

ESV Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,

3 “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.

5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,

6 “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

 

I. Content

A. Psalm 1 gives a portrait of Christ the righteous Man; Psalm 2 presents Christ as divine–God’s “begotten” Son (Reardon, 4).

7 I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.

Translations which say “today I have become your Father” (NIV, NET, NLT) are emphasizing the Old Testament context in which kings became ceremonially adopted into sonship by God.

Translations which say “today I have begotten you”(ESV, NAU, RSV, NKJ) follow a literal approach that points to the Anointed Messiah’s actual begetting by God the Father. The Hebrew language itself favors “begotten.”

The choice of one over the other indicates the editorial bias of the translators:

1. “Today I have become your Father,” favors emphasis on the original setting and audience in which New Testament statements of the verse are quotations, or “applications.”

2. “Today I have begotten you,” is preferable when the original OT statement is considered as prophetic, pointing directly at a later fulfillment in Christ the Messiah.

Christ’s Baptism: ESV Matthew 3:16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Transfiguration: ESV Matthew 17:5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

3. Question: Does it seem more likely that very God himself would be quoting the Old Testament, or that the Old Testament prophetically would be quoting God?

Remember that according to testimony in the New Testament, including that of Jesus himself (Mark 12:36), a) David was a prophet, and b) all Scripture is “breathed out” by God (2Timothy 2:16).

ESV Hebrews 1:5 For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you” [Psalm 2:7]?Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”?

ESV Hebrews 5:5 So also Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; [The author of Hebrews states that God in Psalm 2 spoke directly to Christ his Son. This implies that the author perceives Psalm 2 in its original intent and context as referring to Christ. This means that the author of Hebrews views Psalm 2 as prophecy.]

B. Psalm 1 shows what obedience to God’s law looks like at an individual level and demonstrates that the one who seeks God by following the roadmap of his law will be rewarded.

Psalm 2 shows that God’s Anointed (God’s Christ) is King and has received final victory for the righteous and final defeat for the rebellious (vss 4-10).

C. Psalm 2 demonstrates the opposition of rebellious nations to God and to his Son (vss 1-3, 10-11).

1. Psalm 2: Opposition by the nations (nations, kings of the earth, peoples, rulers)

2. Psalm 3: Opposition from the king’s own people (psalm title, vss 1-2)

3. Psalms 4-7: Opposition from unspecified wicked men

D. God’s response to the rebellious nations.

1. God laughs at them in scorn as though they are so many small, ridiculous things (vs 4).

2. God then speaks in wrath (great, active anger) and terrifies in fury (vs 5).

3. God thinks nothing of the power of the nations, because he has installed his own King, his own begotten Son, on Zion, his holy hill (vs 6).

4. The Son receives and proclaims the decree of the Lord God and recounts the powers of judgment and retribution placed in his hand (7-9).

5. Warning and opportunity for repentance are extended to all rebellious rulers and all people generally (10-12).

E. Psalm 2 opens the possibility of the Lord’s salvation and blessing to all nations (vs 12).

The overarching theme of Psalm 2 is that all human history lies solidly within God’s dominance and control and that final, victorious rule has been given to his Son.

Because this Psalm was never fulfilled in Israel’s history, it came to be considered as eschatological in post-exilic times, having to do with the future and end times. Even today, final fulfillment of its statements awaits the Second Coming of Christ. 

Through the themes of divine royalty, opposition from the wicked, and the King’s victory, Psalm 2 stands as an introduction to Books 1 through 3 of Psalms (Psalms 2-89) (Bullock, 59). As a single unit, Psalms 1 and 2 stands as an introduction to the entire Psalter (more on this below).

 

II. Psalms 1 and 2 as a Unit

A. Why is it important to see Psalms 1 and 2 as a unit?

1. Psalms 1 and 2 taken together flesh out and expand the portrait of Christ as incarnated deity. We see him fulfill God’s nature and will both in the humiliated flesh of his humanity (Psalm 1) and in the power of his sovereign deity as God’s Son (Psalm 2).

2. Neither Psalm 1 nor 2 has a superscription, or title. Most agree that these psalms were written at different times in Israel’s long history and placed side by side at the head of the Psalter by an editor. Seeing them as a unit, as a whole piece of literature, supports the continuity of Scripture and demonstrates that God himself is their ultimate author.

3. Continuity and divine authorship in turn support Jesus’ and his early followers’ claims to his being the long-awaited Messiah.

4. Continuity and divine authorship support the New Testament writers’ practice of interpreting various Old Testament psalms as direct prophecies of Christ.

5. Continuity and divine authorship support justification for today’s readers to make application of the psalms as prophecies of Christ in ways not previously cited by New Testament authors. That is, by means of the same Holy Spirit present in the writers of the New Testament, we as modern readers can make scriptural connections between Old and New Testaments similar to those the NT authors made. If as John 21:25 states, Jesus performed many actions and miracles that could not be recorded in that gospel, then it seems plausible that there are many scriptural connections to be made between the Testaments, and especially between Psalms and the New Testament’s life of Christ, that could not be recorded in the letters and gospels of the New Testament, simply because of space considerations.

B. Internal Evidence that Psalms 1 and 2 Form a Unit (Waltke and Houston, The Psalms as Christian Worship, 160-161)

1. Neither Psalm 1 nor 2 has a superscription, while Psalms 3 through 41 all superscribe David as author, except for Psalm 33, which is anonymous.

2. Psalm 1 opens with, “Blessed is the man who…” and Psalm 2 closes with, “Blessed are all who…” In literature, this structure is called an inclusio.

3. Parallel Words and Phrases

a. The righteous meditates on God’s Word (1:2), while the wicked take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed…(2:1).

b. The last verses of both psalms speak of the wicked perishing in the way (1:6; 2:12).

c. In Psalm 1, the wicked scoff, or mock, the Lord and his way (1:1), while in Psalm 2, the Lord mocks (laughs at and holds in derision), the rebellious wicked (2:4).

4. Uniform Message: Both psalms proclaim the message that the righteous will prevail.

a. Psalm 1–the righteous prevail by faithfully following God’s way, his law.

    Psalm 2–the righteous prevail through the King.

b. Psalm 1–the righteous trust God to uphold his law.

     Psalm 2–the righteous trust God to uphold his King.

5. Psalms 1 and 2 taken as a whole, as a complete unit at the very front of the collection, encourage readers to view all the petitions, praises, and laments of the entire Psalter as having reference to both:

a. themselves as individuals within God’s kingdom

b. God’s King, his Son, his Anointed

In consequence of point 5 above, the psalms are highly prophetic. In other words, if the reader receives Psalms 1 and 2 together as a unit introducing the entire Psalter, then the reader can feel justified and free to see all the psalms as applying both to the individual, i.e., the reader herself (Psalm 1) and Christ (Psalm 2), since Psalm 2 plainly and boldly spells out that Christ is the referent. Again, if Psalm 2, along with Psalm 1, introduces the entire Psalter, then the entire Psalter is about Christ, viewed both as incarnate human (Psalm 1) and divine Son and King (Psalm 2).–cw

 

III. Structure

A. Hebrew Poetry

1. Psalm 2 marks itself off into four identifiable blocks of three couplets each: vss 1-3, 4-6, 7-9, and 10-12. The transition signals will be discussed below.

2. Hebrew poetic couplets in which the second line repeats the first with slight variation to expand, illustrate, explain, or reinforce by repetition the meaning of the first:

 

a. Verse 1

    Why do the nations rage

     and the peoples plot in vain?

b. Verse 3

    “Let us burst their bonds apart

    and cast away their cords from us.”

c. Verse 8

    “I will make the nations your heritage,

    and the ends of the earth your possession.”

 

B. Speech

1. The writer of this blog discovered 3 separate sections within this poem and 4 distinct speakers, as though the poem were intended to be a choral reading.

a. Narrator–verses 1-6 and 2 speakers whom the narrator quotes: Speaker 1 (the rebellious nations, vs 3) and Speaker 2 (God, vs 6)

b. The Son–verses 7-9. The Son, Speaker 3, immediately breaks in with the narrator’s quote of God’s statement in vs 6 functioning as transition and as his introduction. The Son speaks directly from his own experience (vs 7) and further quotes the speech of God to him (vss 7-9).

c. Narrator of Section 1 or, alternatively, a Chorus (Speaker 4)–verses 10-12. The last section differs from the first in that the narrator of the first section speaks omnisciently, not as a character within the psalm, whereas the narrator, or chorus, of the last section addresses the kings and rulers with direct speech (vss 10-12), with the last sentence delivered not as speech towards the rulers, but as a general statement to all readers and all humankind. It functions as a summary of the whole.

2. Waltke and Houston have discovered a “four-act play” in Psalm 2 (Waltke and Houston, Psalms as Worship, 161). The four acts correspond to the sequence of speakers discoverable in the psalm and follow the blocks that this writer describes in the section just above. Whereas this writer combines verses 1-6 into a single section, Waltke divides that block into two “acts.” His four acts and corresponding speakers follow:

a. Act 1: verses 1-3, the hostile kings

b. Act 2: verses 4-6, I AM

c. Act 3: verses 7-9, the King

d. Act 4: verses 10-12, the psalmist

 

C. Why Is Direct and Quoted Speech in Psalms Important?

1. In an Old Testament setting in which the Israelites believed in one God (Deuteronomy 6:4), two distinct divine voices indicate a first and second person of the Trinity.

2. Introduction of a distinct Son of God led directly to the eschatological hope of Messiah.

3. The presence of speech blocks with clearly defined transitions and multiple, identified speakers within a single psalm, such as those found in Psalm 2, establish a usage and pattern that can help interpret psalms whose change of speakers and speech blocks are not as clearly and directly marked. Psalm 102 is an example of such a psalm.

4. Speech highlights and emphasizes the prophetic nature of psalms.

5. Because Psalm 2, taken as a unit with Psalm 1, sets a precedence for the rest of the Psalter, and because the Son speaks prophetically in Psalm 2, there is good reason to suppose that many of the first person statements and prayers in the rest of the Psalter are also prophetic prayers and speech of Christ.

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7. Psalms and the Message of the Bible: A Word about Themes

Bibliography

Outline of Series

ESV 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;

2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

I. Two Themes of Psalm 1

Psalm 1 stands at the head of the entire Psalter and introduces the whole. This occurred by design of God through the human editor (Bullock, 58-59).

A. The “blessed man” of Psalm 1 introduces the theme of Jesus Christ, God’s anointed, his Messiah.

B. The “law” (vs 2) stands as one of the most important factors about God, who gave it, and his people, who receive it.

II. A Word about Law

To the postmodern ear, the concept of “law” for the most part has extremely negative connotations. If someone were to ask, “How can I best relate to God?” and the given reply is, “By seeking to follow his law,” all kinds of negative thoughts, negative cultural memories, and images of cold harshness and stern, pleasureless persons would pursue.

Yet in the Old Testament, especially in Psalms, the law is benign; it’s a blessing; it’s a means of knowing God’s will and obtaining his favor.

ESV Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; 8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; 9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. 11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

NIV Psalm 119:9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. 10 I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.

In the gospels of the New Testament, Jesus himself held the law of God in highest regard (remember, he is the blessed man of Psalm 1 who perfectly keeps the law.)

ESV Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

ESV Matthew 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

Why the Law?

Why law? Why is law so central to all of the Bible?

ESV Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created…

ESV Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God, as creator, created man in his own image for his own pleasure.

KJG Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure [by your will] they are and were created.

 

 

According to the Bible, God’s desire is to bless humankind.

ESV Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply…”

God blesses people with himself, since as God, he himself is the greatest possible blessing. To know God and to be in a good relationship with him is the greatest possible blessing a human being can ever have. God’s law, according to the scriptures quoted above and many like them, is the means to the greatest possible blessing of having a good relationship with God.

 

 

III. Tragedy Strikes

A. The Old Testament is the historical record of how humankind in general and one special, called people in particular, failed to follow God’s law and thereby failed to receive God’s blessing of an ongoing, fruitful relationship with himself.

B. In the Old Testament human will and raw obedience were the only means at people’s disposal for following God’s law. In spite of God’s gracious provision of a sacrificial system to make amends for people’s failures to follow the blueprint he gave them in order to build a blessed relationship with himself, they still failed.

The Old Testament can be summarized as: The Law and Humankind’s Failure to Follow It

IV. A New Way

The New Testament can be summarized as: The Law and Humankind’s Success in Following It

A. God didn’t quit: he gave people a new way to obey his principles and to come into a blessed relationship with himself.

B. He sent the perfect man who did follow his law, the blessed man of Psalm 1.

C. Jesus Christ fully obeyed God’s law and became the human sacrifice that opened the door to mankind’s restored relationship with God.

ESV 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

D. God provided that simply by believing in Christ–by saying yes to Christ–that Christ’s obedience to the Law would apply to everyone who accepts Christ as the solution to their lives.

E. God also gave his Holy Spirit to live on the inside of those who receive the solution of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps people to follow God’s law the way Christ did, which means pleasing God and being blessed in relationship with him.

ESV John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

ESV John 15:26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

NLT Romans 8:1 So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. 2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. 3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. 4 He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.

Psalms is where the life of Christ–his obedience to the Law, his prayers of praise and supplication for help, his sacrificial death, his resurrection and final victory–is played out in Hebrew poetic prophecy.

 

 

 

 

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6 What Do Authors Say About Christ in Psalms?

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Are the Psalms about Jesus Christ?

 

Some say yes, to a great extent, while others limit their yes to specific “Messianic” verses quoted in the New Testament and labeled as such.

Among those who limit their “yes” are those who say that the original verses most likely referred specifically to some king in Israel’s past and down through a line of succession became applied to Christ. They might say that Christ “quoted” a psalm, such as Psalm 22:1 while hanging on the cross. By saying “quoted,” they mean that Christ appropriated the psalm and made it apply to himself. In other words, Christ did not originate the psalmic words at the moment he spoke them. By whatever means they may have entered his mind at the moment, he repeated  what had already been written about someone else on a different occasion and then applied those words to himself and his own situation. This is quite different than saying that the original psalm meant Christ all along, even from the beginning.

Among those authors who say “yes!” unreservedly are those who may feel that the original words as first written were always prophetic utterances by the psalmists, which from the beginning point forward to the life and prayers of the Son of God during his incarnation. I fall into this category.

Most of the authors who write academic books and have good academic reputations, no matter what their opinions on the matter, build good biblical cases to support their views. Therefore, this author–myself, has come to the conclusion that whether or not any given reader perceives Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Son of God, in the psalms as written is a personal, subjective matter representative of the faith of that reader and the activity of the Holy Spirit in that reader’s heart. In other words, one’s belief occurs first, and the academic rationale follows. This means that for the most part, academic arguments will convince very few to change their minds.

For example, reading many academic arguments against my own point of view on this topic has never changed my mind that Christ in his incarnation is why God willed the psalms to be written. Does this indicate that I am close minded? No, it simply means that I continue to believe that I correctly heard God speak into my heart through the Holy Spirit via certain psalms that these words are the voice of Christ prophetically spoken through the psalmist. Yet because I do have an academic awareness, I simply kept searching until I found some academic arguments that match my own presuppositions, or in my case, experiences. (I am not saying that those who think differently than I do not believe in God or do not have faith in Christ.)

Because faith comes by believing and by the Holy Spirit, academic arguments perhaps most often fall short of leading one to either salvation or devotion. And because my great interest in Psalms is devotional, this blog presentation will be for the most part devotional. I am not seeking to build an academic argument. I am seeking to share what I have discovered and to lead others who may be so disposed to seek God in prayer to ask him to reveal Christ to their hearts through the Old Testament, and in particular through Psalms. The Holy Spirit can open to eager heart what Jesus himself opened to his disciples shortly after his resurrection:

Luke 24:25 And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  26 Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

Luke 14: 44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,  46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  48 You are witnesses of these things.

Quotations from Authors Who Find Christ in Psalms

 According to the witness of the Bible, David is, as the anointed king of the chosen people of God, a prototype of Jesus Christ. … And he 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 [the prayers of Psalms] through his forerunner David [emphasis added]. (Bonhoeffer, Psalms, 18-19.)

The emphasized portion of the above quotation perfectly expresses my own perception of very many of the psalms, a conclusion I arrived at independently of Bonhoeffer. He goes on to explain how we as believers can pray the same prayers because and only because Christ prayed them first.

Not just those psalms that directly mention the king or aspects of his reign and kingdom are Messianic psalms. The New Testament implies that all psalms have a relationship to Jesus Christ [emphasis added]. Thus Psalm 31, which in its Old Testament context does not seem to have a Messianic emphasis, is messianic in the sense that it refers to the person or work of Jesus Christ, as is clearly shown in its use in Luke 23:46. This does not mean we are dependent on the New Testament for which psalms are Messianic because a broader principle is at work, a principle rooted in Jesus’ statements in Luke 24:44-47…this principle, which is the basis for the view that all the psalms relate to the person and/or work of Jesus Christ. (Belcher, The Messiah and the Psalms, 30.)

The psalter is the book most often quoted in the New Testament, with the same status as the prophets. David is given there the role of a prophet (Acts 2.30; 4.2). For their part, the rabbinical writings recognize the prophetic inspiration of David and the psalmists. This is clear from the Targum on the psalms: Ps. 14.1, ‘To praise, in the spirit of prophecy, through the intervention of David’; (Tournay, Seeing and Hearing God with the Psalms, 31). [Tournay cites many more examples.]

The greatest evil people can suffer is loneliness. But God has taken the initiative in overcoming this: thanks to the psalms, we can directly see and hear God (Tournay, Seeing and Hearing God with the Psalms, 32).

 

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5 Psalm 1: Introduction to the Psalter

Bibliography

Outline of Series

ESV 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;

2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

I. Observations

  • This psalm lends itself to study by phrases rather than individual words.
  • Phrases indicate two contrasting categories.
  • What are they?

II. Two Contrasting Categories

 

Psalm 1: the Righteous (Vs 6) – Positive

 

Psalm 1: the Wicked – Negative

blessed (1-2)

[synonyms:] wicked, sinners, scoffers

     action: walks not

in the counsel of the wicked

     action: stands not

in the way of sinners

     action: sits not

in the seat of scoffers

     action: delights

in the law of the Lord

     action: meditates

on the Lord’s law day and night

the righteous is like (vs 3):

wicked are not like the righteous

     a tree planted by streams of water

wicked are like: chaff

          yields its fruit in season

     the wind drives the chaff away

          leaf does not wither

[results stated negatively:]

will not stand in the judgment

[restatement:] in all that he does he prospers

will not stand in the congregation of the righteous

[conclusion:] (6) for the Lord knows the way of the righteous

[results stated positively:]

the way of the wicked will perish

Paraphrase of final outcome for righteous:

The righteous will prosper.

They will live in the company of the Lord

and in the company of the other righteous.

Life, Inclusion

Paraphrase of final outcome for the wicked:

The wicked will not prosper.

They will die.

They will be excluded from the Lord’s presence

and from the collected gathering of the righteous.

Death, Exclusion

III. Questions and Response

1. Verse 6 says, “for the Lord knows the way of the righteous.” What does it mean for the Lord to “know the way of”? What is involved here?

a. to see, be aware of, be intimately acquainted with: ESV  Psalm 31:7 I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,

b. to know something in its entirety from beginning to end; this includes the element of knowing the future: ESV  Psalm 37:18 The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;

c. to know in the sense of receiving and treating someone as a friend, to approve: ESV  Nahum 1:7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him.

d. Jesus uses the word in the sense of receiving, owning (as the shepherd a sheep), protecting, guarding, watching over carefully: ESV  John 10:14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,

e. to be able to distinguish from among many others and to acknowledge this friendship publicly: ESV  2 Timothy 2:19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (quoted from NET Numbers 16:5)

f. “the way of”: “NET Notes: ‘way of the godly’ is not their behavior, but their course of life or destiny;”

g. “The Lord knows the way of the righteous,” could be paraphrased as, “The Lord is intimately acquainted with every detail of the heart and life of the righteous person from start to finish; he approves of this person, lays claim to him or her as his own, and promises to look after her in an all powerful, protective way, even up to and including eternity.”

2. What does “perish” mean in verse 6?

perish: to be ruined, broken, carried off, lost, destroyed, exterminated2. Do the categories seem black and white to you? How do you feel about that?

3. Does God’s word change because we don’t like it? What might be a wise course for us?

4. Do you think there might be a “fudge factor” within the categories? What might be a theological word to describe God’s “fudge factor?”

5. Reread verse 6: for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. Do you think this might be a good thematic summary of the entire Psalter? Why or why not? Do you think this one verse sums up the message of the entire Bible? Defend your position one way or the other.

IV. What other questions do you have? As we read more of Psalms, we will come to a better understanding of what the words “righteous” and “wicked” mean within the context of Psalms. In brief, these terms describe a person’s attitude (what is in a person’s heart, the person’s desires and motivations) toward the Lord God and his Word, rather than a person’s actions. Action follow attitude.

V. Christ in Psalm 1

While it cannot be “proven” academically that Christ is “the man” of Psalm 1, nothing prevents the Holy Spirit from revealing Christ as such in the hearts of believers.

ESV  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  Psalm 80:17 But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!

ESV  Psalm 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

ESV  John 19:5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!”

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3 Psalms Bible Study: Introduction

Link to Bibliography

Outline of Series

 

 

Psalms are songs, prayers, meditations, prophecy, and a look into the deepest heart of Christ the Son during the period of time of his incarnation. Just as the Lord inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3), so the Holy Spirit brings to life the Psalms within the hearts of believers everywhere. This Bible study is a place intended to encourage us all to read, read, and read the Psalms so that contact with Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit will be made within their words.

Text:

I recommend the little book 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise (See Bibliography, Jones) for the reasons of its NIV translation and for the special numerical arrangement of the Psalms. While it is not necessary to buy this book, the little pocket paperback is highly attractive and convenient. The special numerical arrangement, however, can be followed from any Bible. In this arrangement, the psalms are presented according to the days of the month. On the 1st of each month, for example, the reader finds Psalms 1, 31, 61, 91, and 121. Then, continuing the example, on the 14th, the reader will find Psalms 14, 44, 74, 104, and 134. Everyone who follows this sequence will read the entire Psalter in one month.

When finished, begin reading it again, and again, and again. Sooner or later, God will sometimes and occasionally speak the words of the Psalter into your heart, as he meets you in your own particular life situation, Sitz im Leben. When he does this, you will have fellowship with God the Father and God the Son through the Holy Spirit within the words of Scripture.

Why Read the Psalms?

  • To see Christ in his humanity.
  • Of greatest value to me personally has been the realization that Jesus himself prayed most of these psalms during his sojourn of trial and suffering while a man on earth. Seeing and understanding this great Love leads me to worship Jesus the Son and God, the Father who loved the world so much that he gave his Son to suffer and to be crucified by the world.
  • In addition to having fellowship with the Father and his Son through the Holy Spirit, reading the Psalms cyclically, repeatedly, and horizontally (as described in the preceding section) develops an awareness of the unity of the Psalms as a whole, the themes they develop, and the movement of content from one form to another, for example, from lament and petition to praise and thanksgiving.
  • There is a Story contained in the Psalms as a whole.
  • You will begin to recognize that God is love, that he loves his people unceasingly and without limits, and that he loves you in particular.
  • Close familiarity with the vocabulary and language of the Psalms will also help you as you read other biblical books, especially books in the New Testament. You will begin to hear echoes of particular psalms in the speech and allusions of various New Testament writers and characters.

For example, after repeated reading of Psalm 1 from a literal translation, such as the English Standard Bible, when Pilot steps out from his private chamber, points at Christ, who has just been flogged and is about to be crucified, and says, “Behold, the man…” (John 19:5), by grace of the Holy Spirit, it becomes impossible not to hear in Pilot’s words an echo of the word “man” in the phrase “Blessed is the man…” in Psalm 1:1. Christ is “the man” who is blessed both in Psalm 1 and in the vast majority of the psalms. From Psalms, we learn about the physical and especially the internal suffering of God’s Son more than we do from any other biblical book. This awareness leads to a greater depth of worship and love for the Lord, as well as a deeper comprehension of the Bible’s proclamation, “God is love” (1 John 4: 8, 16). And we ask ourselves, how is it that flogging and crucifixion lead to a pronouncement of blessing? This is theology at a deep and fine level.

Topics of Consideration in this Bible Study of Psalms:

As the weeks progress, our study will lead us into consideration of:

  • content, meaning
  • categories of people and ideas
  • theology
  • forms, such as lament, praise, and thanksgiving
  • rhetorical style, such as the presence of blocks of dialogue
  • identification of speakers
  • New Testament quotations and use of the Psalms
  • poetical devices
  • the five books within Psalms
  • the place and importance of the Septuagint in reading and understanding the Psalms

In addition to being a written study published on this blog, there is a corresponding “live” Bible study for a small group of women who meet weekly. Clearly, we will not attempt to cover all of the topics listed above for each and every psalm we study, especially since the purpose of the study is to lead us into the presence of God, rather than into an academic understanding of an ancient Hebrew book. Rather, as various of the above topics become relevant for the psalm(s) under consideration that week, topics will be introduced as aids to appreciation.

Descriptive Summary:

My intent is to make this study a devotional study with just enough academic overtones to guide and encourage devotional use of the Psalms. May the Lord bless us all.

Ways to Increase Personal Engagement with a Devotional Reading of Psalms

  • As mentioned above, read and reread again and again and again
  • Read the Psalms out loud with only yourself present in the room
  • Journal as you read in a simple statement/”my response ” format
  • Try different translations, including a true to text paraphrase, such as the New Living Translation (NLT)

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4 Are People Writing and Singing Psalms Today?: One Popular Example

Bibliography

Outline of Series

Popular Psalms Written for Worship Today: One Example

Hillsong. Thank You Jesus. Accessed from http://www.hillchords.com/hillsong/thank-you-jesus/, Accessed 5/16/2017.

CHORUS
Thank You Jesus
You set me free
Christ my Saviour
You rescued me

BRIDGE
You’ve given me life
You’ve opened my eyes
I love You Lord
I love You Lord

You’ve entered my heart
You’ve set me apart
I love You Lord
I love You Lord

 

Thank you Jesus

 ESV  Psalm 75:1 To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song. We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds.

ESV  Psalm 118:21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.

ESV  Psalm 35:18 I will thank you in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise you.

 You set me free

 ESV  Psalm 118:5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.

 Christ my Saviour

 NIV  Psalm 38:22 Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.

NIV  Psalm 68:19 Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.

 You rescued me

 NLT  Psalm 30:1 A psalm of David. A song for the dedication of the Temple. I will exalt you, LORD, for you rescued me. You refused to let my enemies triumph over me.

NET  Psalm 54:7 Surely he rescues me from all trouble, and I triumph over my enemies.

ESV  Psalm 56:13 For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.

NLT  Psalm 56:13 For you have rescued me from death; you have kept my feet from slipping. So now I can walk in your presence, O God, in your life-giving light.

 You’ve given me life

 ESV  Psalm 21:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults!  2 You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah  3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head.  4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever.

 You’ve opened my eyes

 ESV  Psalm 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.

ESV  Psalm 146:8 the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.

 You’ve entered my heart

 ESV  Psalm 40:8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

 You’ve set me apart

            ESV  Psalm 4:3 But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.

I love you Lord

 ESV  Psalm 18:1To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who addressed the words of this song to the LORD on the day when the LORD rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said: I love you, O LORD, my strength.

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1 Psalms Bible Study: Bibliography

Outline of Series

 

  • 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.
  • 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 Literrature, 2nd Edition. Revised and Augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker from Walterr Bauer’s Fifth Edition, 1958. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979.
  • 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.
  • Clowney, Edmund P. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
  • 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/ .
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jones, R. Dean, Arranger. 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise. International Bible Society. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.
  • 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.
  • Nestle-Aland, Editors. Novum Testamentum Graece, 26th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979, 1987.
  • 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. The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Exposition. Public Domain.
  • 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.
  • 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/.
  • 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.

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