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Psalms – Christ Our Worship

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The Psalms are preeminently focused upon our Triune God. His character is more clearly and dramatically proclaimed here than in any other book of the Bible. Divine Names are prominently in use: Adonai “Lord,” occurs 63 times, El and Elohim “God” occur 427 times, and the name Yahweh is found no less than 742 times. 

The words of our Lord Jesus and His Apostles were filled with the Psalms. 
To prepare for Gethsemane He sang Psalms at the Last Supper with His disciples. Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26 = 5214 humneo AV – sing an hymn 2, sing praise 2; 4 singing of paschal hymns these were Psalms 113 – 118 and 136, which the Jews called the “great Hallel”

  • To endure the horrors of Golgotha He had the words of the Psalms flowing from His lips on the Cross. Matthew 27:46 and Luke 23:46 quote Psalms 22:1 and 31:5
  • After His resurrection Christ reminded the sorrowful in Luke 24:44 that the Psalms often speak of Him. 
  • At Pentecost Peter has to draw from the wealth of the Psalms [16:8-11] to express the good news of the Gospel to his people. 
  • In the book of Romans the Apostle Paul needed the Psalms [51:4 for v. 4; 14:1-3 and 53:1-3 for v. 10; 5:9 and 140:3 for v. 13; 10:7 for v. 14; 36:1 for v. 18] to frame the depths of human depravity in chapter 3. How deeply and widely they figure into all our human experience.

Another powerful concept in the Psalms is the word “Hallelujah.” This word is actually a plural command, meaning something we must do together, in public. This reminds us that Praise is not the same as thanks. The meaning of halal is to proclaim or declare, to speak about God rather than to thank Him for something. The object of praise is the jah part of this compound word, which is an abbreviated form of the name Yahweh. In short, praise is joyfully proclaiming, in public, the attributes of God and the acts of God . No wonder “Hallelu-Yah” is the most often repeated command in the Bible!

The book of Psalms is thus the key to understanding God’s desire for true spiritual worship. No book of the Bible is more often used by God’s people than the Psalms. There are two themes present in these 150 Psalms or songs: Worship and Praise . Psalm 100 beautifully joins these two themes. Some Psalms come as acrostics that follow the letters of the Hebrew alphabet [9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, 145]. Others make up the 15 Psalms of Degrees [120-134] sung by pilgrims journeying up to Jerusalem to attend the feasts.

The Book of Psalms has 5 distinct subdivisions or books. Each of these books end with a glorious doxology [41:13; 72:18-19; 89:52; 106:48; 150:1-6]. It has been also noted that each section mirrors one of the first five books of the Bible.

  • Psalms 1-41 [Genesis];
  • Psalms 42-72 [Exodus]; 
  • Psalms 73-89 [Leviticus]; 
  • Psalms 90-106 start with a Psalm of Moses and end with a recounting of Israel’s rebellion [Numbers]; 
  • Psalms 107-150 are linked to Deuteronomy because of the prevailing theme of God’s Word. The 119th Psalm most exemplifies this theme.

The Psalms flow from the lives of several Old Testament writers under the inspiration of God’s Spirit. David writes about 92 [73 are directly ascribed to him, the New Testament ascribes 2 more, the LXX 15 more and 2 are arrived at by comparison with I Chronicles 16]; Solomon writes Psalms 72 and 127; Moses Psalm 90; Heman, Ethan, Asaph and the sons of Korah write others.

The Psalms are books within a book.

  • As a Book of Nature – God’s handiwork in Creation and the Realm of Nature is portrayed in breathtaking grandeur. 
  • As a Book of Rescue – there are words for those who hurt. Nearly every emotion and feeling known to humans is mirrored and ministered to within the Psalms. 
  • As a Book of Redemption – hope is presented for sinners, extolling the mercy and goodness of our God as He forgives sinners. 
  • Finally as a Book of God’s Word – the beauty, perfections and power of the Scriptures are plainly seen by those who seek Him with their whole heart.

Jesus Christ is everywhere evident in the Psalms. The Psalms see Him coming both as the Baby and the King. They foretell the events of His birth, His earthly life, His holy character and the Pain of His passion. His death, burial and resurrection are powerfully portrayed. There are 14 specific Messianic psalms [2,8,16,22,34, 35, 40-41, 45, 68-69, 109-110, 118]. In the Psalms Christ is revealed frequently as:

  • The Good Shepherd [23, 77, 78, 80, 95, 100, 119], 
  • The Rock of Ages [27, 28, 31, 71, 42, 61, 72, 78, 89, 94-95]; 
  • The Light [27, 118, 43]; 
  • And the Redeemer [19, 69, 72, 77, 78, 103, 106, 107, 119].

There are 13 Psalms around events in David’s Life:
Psalm 59 describes I Samuel 19:11; Psalm 56 describes I Samuel 21:11; Psalm 34 describes I Samuel 21:13; Psalm 142 describes I Samuel 22:1; Psalm 52 describes I Samuel 22:9; Psalm 54 describes I Samuel 23:19; Psalm 57 describes I Samuel 24:3; Psalm 60 describes II Samuel 8:13; Psalm 51 describes II Samuel 12:13; Psalm 3 describes II Samuel 15:16; Psalm 63 describes II Samuel 15:23; Psalm 7 describes II Samuel 16:5; and Psalm 18 describes II Samuel 22:2-51.

But most of all the book of Psalms is seen through the 23rd Psalm. The first Psalm we learn as children becomes the last word we lean on in that dark valley called death. This Psalm yields the three choice secrets of a believers life: the secret of happiness in life, peacefulness in death and security in eternity.


In A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller(2) tells how difficult it is to get a sheep to lie down. Sheep do not easily lie down, he says. In fact, “It is almost impossible for them to be made to lie down unless four requirements are met. Owing to their timidity they refuse to lie down unless they are free from all fear. Because of the social behavior within a flock, sheep will not lie down unless they are free from friction with others of their kind. If tormented by flies or parasites, sheep will not lie down…. Lastly, sheep will not lie down as long as they feel in need of finding food. They must be free from hunger.”‘ To rest, a sheep must be free from fear, tension, aggravation, and hunger. So the psalm begins with a picture of a sheep who has found its shepherd to be a good shepherd, able to meet its physical needs and provide release from anxiety.

  • THE PERSPECTIVE:
  • In Psalm 22 We meet the Good Shepherd who gives His life for His sheep. This mirrors Christ in John 10:11. This is the PAST aspect of His ministry. My Savior. Past Grace
  • In Psalm 23 is the Great Shepherd living to Equip His sheep. This explains Heb 13:20-21. This is His PRESENT ministry. My Shepherd. Present Guidance.
  • In Psalm 24 we meet the Chief Shepherd Returning to Reward His sheep. This explains I Peter 5:4. This is the FUTURE aspect of His ministry. My King. Future Glory+
  • THE PSALM (a dozen blessings to go!):
  • Psalm 23:1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (CONTENTMENT)
  • Psalm 23:2a He maketh me to lie down in green pastures (REST):
  • Psalm 23:2b he leadeth me beside the still waters. (REFRESHMENT)
  • Psalm 23:3a He restoreth my soul: (RENEWAL)
  • Psalm 23:3b he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.(RIGHTEOUSNESS)
  • Psalm 23:4a Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, (COMPANIONSHIP)
  • Psalm 23:4b I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (COMFORT)
  • Psalm 23:5a Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: (SECURITY)
  • Psalm 23:5b thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (POWER)
  • Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: (HOPE
  • And I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (DESTINY)

    PSALM 22 -24
Psalm 22 Psalm 23 Psalm 24
The Good Shepherd The Great Shepherd The Chief Shepherd
in Death in Resurrection in Glory
John 10:11 Hebrews 13:20 I Peter 5;4
My Savior My Shepherd My King
The Cross The Crook The Crown
Past Grace Present Guidance Future Glory


Psalm 22 is Calvary and His Suffering don’t FEAR 1997!

One of the biggest challenges in this New Year is dealing with our fears.

  • Fears of the new job or the old problems with our present situation. 
  • Fears about declining health and physical limitations. 
  • Fears about financial pressures, bills and upcoming obligations for school, family and medical needs.
  • Fears in any area . . .you name it. But our Almighty God said FEAR NOT!

Ever been afraid? My heart was in my throat one Friday morning. It was a crystal clear morning, cool and crisp. I was sliding down hill in death Valley. What made matters worse was that I was in a car with the brakes to the floor board. And in spite of all I could do the incline was so steep that gravity pushed me down faster and faster.

Why did I ever take the challenge to drive up to the top of Mahogany Flats? four wheel drives only read the warning signs. And it wasn’t even my car! What a way to be found dead, in a borrowed car, on the wrong road, having broken the rules. At 7 AM that summer morning, God got my attention again. He helped my slide and we made the turns and the car and driver lived to tell about it. But what about it. When fear is inhabiting your car, room, home, family or life . . . where should you turn? Try Psalm 27. Look at what David wrote as God’s servant who overcame fear. Whether as a lion killing shepherd or as a giant-killing youth, he lived the “fear thou not” life. The giant of fear can be defeated!

Can you experience this victory? Yes, note seven points this pro on defeating fear shares:

  • Talk to him earnestly Psalm 27:4 One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek:
  • Worship him totally Psalm 27:4 That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life,
  • Read of him in his word longingly Psalm 27:4 . . . To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.
  • Believe his promises securely Psalm 27:5 For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. (NKJV)
  • Rejoice in him only Psalm 27:6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD. (NKJV)
  • Trust in him exclusively Psalm 27:13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.
  • Hope your way through it Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD! (NKJV)

Psalm 1:1-6 

1 Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 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 [06388 peleg {peh’-leg} from 06385; TWOT – 1769a; n m AV – river 9, stream 1; 10 1) channel, canal] of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (NIV)
Chooses God’s Way
Firm
Fruitful
Fade Proof
Prosperous

The best way to see this Psalm is in its context as it sits between two other Christ revealing Psalms. 

PSALM 22 PSALM 23 PSALM 24
THE GOOD SHEPHERD THE GREAT SHEPHERD THE CHIEF SHEPHERD
IN DEATH IN LIFE IN GLORY
JOHN 10:11 HEBREWS 13:20 I PETER 5:4
MY SAVIOR MY SHEPHERD MY KING
THE CROSS THE CROOK THE CROWN
THE PAST THE PRESENT THE FUTURE
GRACE GUIDANCE GLORY


The 23rd Psalm may be summarized as, “If the Lord is My Shepherd that is all I need!” He is my source of:

REST, REFRESHMENT, SECURITY, GUIDANCE, PEACE, COMPANIONSHIP, COMFORT, SUSTENANCE, POWER, SUPPLY, MERCY, ETERNITY. . .

The Amazing Titles of our Great God in the Psalms

There are almost 70 different passages that present unique designations of God. Some of the most precious of these are:

  • Son : Ps. 2:7,12My King :
  • Ps. 5:2; Zech. 9:9
  • Highest : Ps. 18:13
  • My Strength : Ps. 19:14; 22:18
  • My Shepherd : Ps. 23:1
  • King of Glory : Ps. 24:7,8
  • Fortress , Deliverer, Strength, Buckler, Horn of Salvation , High Tower… Ps 18:2
  • Strong and Mighty : Ps. 24:8
  • Good and Upright : Ps. 25:8
  • Light, Salvation and Strength of Life : Ps. 27:1
  • God of Glory : Ps. 29:3
  • Lord, God of Truth : Ps. 31:5; Is. 65:16
  • Lord Our Help : Ps. 33:20
  • Lord is Good : Ps. 34:8
  • Lord of My Salvation : Ps. 38:22
  • God of My Life : Ps. 42:8
  • God of My Strength : Ps. 43:2; 81:1
  • God of My Exceeding Joy : Ps. 43:4
  • The Health of My Countenance : Ps. 43:5
  • O Most Mighty : Ps. 45:3
  • Refuge : Ps. 46:1
  • Great King : Ps. 47:2; Mal. 1:14
  • King of all the Earth : Ps. 47:7; Zech. 14:9
  • Guide : Ps. 48:14
  • God is Judge : Ps. 50:6 
  • God My Helper : Ps. 54:4
  • Most High : Ps. 56:2
  • Defense : Ps. 59:9,17
  • God My Glory : Ps. 62:7
  • Rock of My Strength : Ps. 62:7; Is. 17:10
  • Jah : Ps. 68:4
  • Father of Fatherless & Judge of the Widows : Ps. 68:5; 146:9
  • Strong Habitation : Ps. 70:3; 91:9
  • My Hope : Ps. 71:5
  • My Trust From My Youth : Ps. 71:5 
  • My Strong Refuge : Ps. 71:5
  • High God : Ps. 78:35; Dan. 4:2
  • Shepherd of Israel : Ps. 80:1
  • God of Hosts : Ps. 80:7; Amos 3:13
  • Most High Over All The Earth : Ps. 83:18
  • Sun : Ps. 84:11
  • Lord God Full of Compassion, Gracious Long-suffering
  • Plenteous in Mercy and Truth : Ps. 86:15; 145:8; Jonah 4:2
  • Strong Lord : Ps. 89:8
  • Father : Ps. 89:26; Jer. 3:19
  • Rock of My Salvation : Ps. 89:26; 95:1
  • Upright : Ps. 92:15
  • Rock of My Refuge : Ps. 94:22
  • Great King Above All Gods : Ps. 95:3
  • Holy : Ps. 99:3,5,9; Is. 5:16
  • Slow To Anger : Ps. 103:8; 145:8
  • God Their Savior : Ps. 106:21; Is. 43:3
  • Priest Forever After Melchizedek : Ps. 110:4
  • Reverend : Ps. 111:9
  • Righteous : Ps. 116:5; 129:4
  • Song : Ps. 118:14; Is. 12:2
  • Lord is thy Keeper and Shade : Ps. 121:5
  • Pleasant : Ps. 135:3
  • The Strength of My Salvation : Ps. 140:7
  • My Portion : Ps. 119:57; 142:5; Lam. 3:24
  • My Goodness : Ps. 144:2
  • Wisdom : Prov. 1:20
  • Creator : Ecc. 12:1; Is. 40:28
  • Mighty One of Israel : Is. 1:24; 30:29
  • Branch : Is. 4:2; Zech. 3:8
  • Beautiful & Glorious : Is. 4:2?
  • Beloved & Well Beloved : Is. 5:1?
  • Immanuel : Is. 7:14
  • Stone, Head Stone of Corner : Ps. 118:22

1. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 35.

2. Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), p. 35.

3. Scofield says that there is no revelation in this book, just accurately recorded words of Solomon.

4. Swindoll, Flying Closer, p. 37-39.

 
 
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