The Tulip Driven Life Podcast

Friday, October 19, 2012

Class Notes on the Psalms

The Psalms are songs that we sing but also prayers to God.


  1. The Psalms show you how to respond to God when you are happy, sad, angry, facing tragedy, etc.
  2. The Psalms are special because they are God's Word given to us to respond to Him. 
  3. Most of the Psalms are laments to God.
    1. God gives us the Psalm Book full of laments to show us this world is a world of suffering. This world is sick with sin. 
    2. Our hymnals and praise songs tend to paint a far rosier, optimistic picture.
    3. There is a hypocrisy in church where every one pretends everything is okay, that no one has marriage problems, etc. 
    4. We should not get rid of lament songs from our worship. 
    5. Yet, the whole book of Psalms is called "praise songs." This is because they always end with David and others trusting God in their trials and tribulations. The laments are to God, indicating that the authors of Psalms know that only God can alleviate their trials and sufferings. 
***When we hurt, we can cry out to God***

  1. Unbelievers will not call out to God. 
  2. We need to have a heart and attitude like Job in Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him. 
  3. God opens His doors so that we can cry out to Him for what we need. Sometimes we need to acknowledge that we don't know God's will/plan entirely but will trust Him anyways. 
  4. The Book of Psalms are broken up into five sub-books (divisions given later). 
    1. In Book I, 59% of Psalms are laments, but by book 5 that number is only 23%. This is the theme of the Bible, "suffering leading to great glory and praising God." 
    2. There is a time for weeping, but not as those who have no hope (I Thess. 4:13-14). 

***Exclusive Psalmody: Some only sing Psalms in worship because they are inspired by God. ***

  1. The Psalms give us pure theology because they are inspired by God. 
  2. The Regulative Principle of Worship keeps out whackiness and blasphemy from the church worship service.
  3. Our redemption calls for making new songs about God. But we need to make sure our songs are biblical and true. 
  4. Moses sang Psalm 90. At least since the Exodus people have been singing Psalms. 

***Date and Authorship***

  1. Dating of Psalms is widest ranging book in Bible (15th century B.C.- 5th century B.C.)
  2. Asaph, David, Moses, Sons of Korah, and Solomon all wrote Psalms.
    1. David wrote 73 Psalms
    2. 2 Samuel 23:1
      1. Near end of David's life- he is the king and sweet Psalmist of Israel. He calms Saul's nerves by playing music.
    3. David assigns singers in Chronicles and Nehemiah. 
    4. David is the worship leader, which means the king is also the worship leader.
      1. This connects with the book of Hebrews. Hebrews 2:11-12 quoting Psalm 102. 
      2. Christ becomes new worship leader (Heb. 8:1-2)
    5. The Pastor represents Christ leading His people in worship. 

***Psalms are little collections of hymn books***
  1. Sons of Korah (Ps. 42-49, 84-85, 87-88)
  2. Davidic Collection (51-65, others)
  3. Hallelujah collection (111-117)
  4. Songs of Ascent (120-134)
  5. Asaph collection (73-83)

***We should read these collections in their own contexts, not individually or crossing over into other collections.***

2 Samuel 22 is Psalm 18. This is recorded twice in Scripture, showing its importance to the whole of Scripture. 


***The Five Books/Divisions of Psalms***

  1. It is possible that Ezra the Scribe broke the Psalms into 5 Books under the inspiration of God. 
  2. The 5 Books parallel the history of the Pentateuch, which is the first five books of the Bible. 
    1. This 5 fold arrangement of Psalms shows a logical structure to the Book of Psalms.
    2. We should ask ourselves how each Psalm connects to the other Psalms following and proceeding it, and how each book of the Psalms flow and relate to one another.
***Books 1-5 present to us the flow of the history of Israel***

Book I (Ps. 1-42)
Book II (43-72)
Book III (73-89)
Book IV (90-106)
Book V (107-150)

These divisions are found within the inspired texts themselves and were not added by editors later. 

  • Psalm 41:12-13 preliminary conclusion. 
  • Psalm 72:17-20 prelim. conclusion
  • Psalm 89:51-52 prelim. conclusion
  • Psalm 106:47-48 prelim. conclusion
  • Psalm 145:21 prelim. conclusion
***Each of the five books end with praise, the last 5 Psalms end with praise (146-150), thus closing all 5 books. This is called telescoping***

  1. Book II says prayers of David are ended.
  2. Book I is considered trials of David under Saul (excluding prologue of Psalms 1-2).
  3. Book II is about height of Davidic Kingdom, Golden Age including King Solomon in all his splendor. Solomon wrote Psalm 72. 
  4. Book III is the darkest of all the Books in the Psalter. 
    1. Deals with kingdom of Israel divided.
    2. Promises "failing" because promises are contingent on Israel's obedience. 
    3. Ends with destruction of Jerusalem, temple, leads to exile. 
    4. Psalm 88 is utterly dark, the only Psalm that does not end with affirmation of faith and trust in God. 
    5. But Book III does not end with Psalm 88, but 89, which begins, "I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever."
    6. Psalm 89:49, "Lord, where are your former lovingkindnesses?"
  5. Book IV- Life in exile
    1. Opens with Psalm by Moses. Moses is in the time before kingship, when God was king. Moses still speaks to the Israelites in exile, reminding that God is still king.
    2. Book IV contains enthronement hymns of God, speaking of God as reigning King over all. 
    3. Ps. 106:47- the exodus. 
  6. Book V begins with Psalm 107, is about deliverance, the gathering of God's people again. 
    1. Book V is restoration of Israel and hope of Davidic King
    2. Ps. 110: David re-appears
    3. There is a looking forward to the Messiah. 

***Conclusion: So if there is a lament in Book I or exile in Book III, remember the hope in the end of book V. The whole of the book of Psalms is written within the scope of redemptive history.***

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