Experiencing the Psalms
Detailed Table of Contents

Preface

5

Table of Contents

7

References and Abbreviations

16

 

 

Reprint Guidelines

19

 

 

Online Bible Study Forum

20

Table of Psalms Referenced

21

Introduction to the Psalms

22

 

 

What Is a Psalm?

22

 

 

Hebrew Poetry

23

 

 

1. Thought Parallelism

23

 

 

2. Imagery

24

 

 

Categories of Psalms

25

 

 

Authorship

26

 

 

Date of the Psalms

27

 

 

Structure of the Psalter

29

 

 

Canonicity of the Psalms

29

 

 

Chapter and Verse Confusions

30

 

 

Technical Terms

30

 

 

A Phantom New Year Festival

32

 

 

Authority of the Psalms

32

1. Marveling at God´s Majesty in Creation (Psalms 8, 19, 139)

34

 

Psalm 8 How Majestic Is Your Name in All the Earth

34

 

 

How Majestic Is Your Name (8:1-2)

35

 

 

Contrasting the Infinite Universe with Finite Man (8:3-8)

36

 

 

A Christological Application

37

 

Psalm 19 The Heavens Proclaim the Glory of God

38

 

 

God´s Glory Proclaimed by the Heavens (19:1)

38

 

 

The Heavens Express God´s Word Wordlessly (19:2-4a)

39

 

 

The Glory of the Sun (19:4b-6)

39

 

 

The Perfection of God´s Written Word (19:7-9)

40

 

 

The Value and Sweetness of God´s Word (19:10)

40

 

 

The Word Exposes and Protects Against Sin (19:11-13)

41

 

 

A Prayer for a Pure Heart (19:14)

42

 

 

Yahweh our Rock and Kinsman-Redeemer (19:14b)

42

 

Psalm 139 The Creator and Searcher of My Inmost Being

43

2. Thirsting for God (Psalms 27, 42-43, 63)

47

 

Psalm 27 Your face, Lord, I Will Seek

47

 

 

Confident in Yahweh I Do Not Fear Trouble (27:1-3)

47

 

 

Safe in the House of the Lord (27:4-6)

48

 

 

Your Face, Lord, I Will Seek (27:7-12)

49

 

 

I Will See the Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living (27:13-14)

51

 

Psalm 42-43 Combating Depression with Faith

52

 

 

A Thirst of a Parched Soul for God (42:1-2)

53

 

 

Doubt and Longing for Past Joy (42:3-4)

54

 

 

Combating Depression with Self-Talk, Remembrance, and Praise (42:5-8)

55

 

 

Deep Calls to Deep (42:7)

55

 

 

Continuing to Combat Depression with Hope (42:9-11)

56

 

 

Send Forth Your Light and Guide Me (Psalm 43:1-5)

56

 

Psalm 63 Earnestly I Seek You

57

 

 

I Will Lift Up My Hands in Your Name (63:2-8)

58

 

 

God Will Deliver David from His Enemies (63:9-11)

59

3. Choosing the Right Path (Psalms 1, 15, and 133)

62

 

Psalm 1 The Two Ways, Righteous and Unrighteous-ness

62

 

 

Blessed is ... (1:1a)

62

 

 

Separating from Sin, Delighting in God (1:1-2)

63

 

 

The Lord´s Watch-Care over the Believer (1:6)

64

 

 

Poetic Structure

65

 

 

A Fruit-Bearing Tree Planted by the Water (1:3)

65

 

 

Chaff that the Wind Blows Away (1:4)

66

 

Psalm 15 Characteristics of a Righteous Person

67

 

 

Dwelling with God (15:1)

67

 

 

Poetic Structure

68

 

 

Moral Integrity (15:2)

69

 

 

Fairness to Neighbors (15:3)

70

 

 

Clear Allegiance (15:4a)

70

 

 

Keeping One´s Word (15:4b)

71

 

 

Living without Greed (15:5)

71

 

Psalm 133 The Beauty of Unity

72

 

 

Brothers Living Together in Unity (133:1)

73

 

 

Good and Pleasant (133:1)

73

 

 

Unity Is Like Perfumed Oil Generously Poured Out (133:2)

74

 

 

Unity Is Like Heavy Dew (133:3)

75

4. Offering High Praises to God (Psalms 150, 95, 98)

77

 

Psalm 150 Let Everything that Has Breath Praise the Lord!

78

 

 

Instruments of Praise

79

 

 

Everyone that Has Breath (150:6a)

80

 

Psalm 95 Come, Let Us Worship and Bow Down

81

 

 

Structure of Psalm 95

81

 

 

Names and Titles of God

81

 

 

Expressions of Worship

81

 

 

God our Shepherd (95:7)

82

 

 

Obedience Must Follow Worship (95:7d-11)

83

 

Psalm 98 Sing to the Lord a New Song

84

 

 

Sing a New Song (98:1-3)

85

 

 

Yahweh´s Salvation for Israel (98:1b-3)

85

 

 

Instrumental Worship (98:4-6)

86

 

 

All Nature Praises Yahweh (98:7-9a)

86

 

 

The Reason for Praise: The Judge Is Coming with Righteousness (98:9b-d)

87

5. Crying Out for Rescue (Psalms 69, 40, 80)

90

 

Psalm 69 Deep Waters and Miry Depths

90

 

 

Going Down for the Third Time (69:1-4)

91

 

 

You Know My Own Guilt (69:5-12)

92

 

 

David´s Appeal to God´s Mercy (69:13-18)

93

 

 

Calls for Salvation and Rescue

94

 

 

Back to David´s Enemies (69:19-28)

95

 

 

A Final Plea (69:29)

96

 

 

An Outpouring of Praise (69:30-33)

96

 

 

A Prophecy for the Restoration of Israel´s Homeland (69:33-36)

96

 

 

A Psalm for the Brokenhearted

97

 

Psalm 40 O My God, Do Not Delay

98

 

 

He Put a New Song in My Mouth (40:1-3)

98

 

 

Blessed Is the Person Who Trusts in This Caring God (40:4-5)

99

 

 

In the Scroll of the Book It Is Written of Me (40:6-8)

100

 

 

David´s Public Testimony (40:9-10)

101

 

 

Troubles without Number Surround Me (40:11-12)

101

 

 

A Returning Confidence that Expects God´s Salvation (40:13-16)

102

 

 

O My God, Do Not Delay (40:17)

102

 

Psalm 80 Restore Us, O God

103

 

 

Revive Us Again (80:18-19)

104

 

 

Make Your Face Shine upon Us (80:3, 17, 19)

105

6. Trusting in God´s Protection (Psalms 61, 91, 121)

108

 

Psalm 61 Lead Me to the Rock that Is Higher than I

108

 

 

Hear My Faint Cry, O God (61:1-2b)

108

 

 

The Rock that is Higher than I (61:2c)

109

 

 

My Refuge and Strong Tower Against the Foe (61:3)

109

 

 

The Shelter of Your Wings (61:4)

110

 

Psalm 91 Dwelling in the Shelter of the Most High

111

 

 

The Mighty Names of God (91:1-2)

111

 

 

Metaphors of Protection

111

 

 

The Fowler´s Snare (91:3)

113

 

 

The Terror of Night (91:5-6)

114

 

 

It Will Not Come Near You (91:7-8)

114

 

 

Dwelling with the Most High (91:9-10)

114

 

 

Angels Protecting Us (91:11-12)

115

 

 

Power Over Evil Forces (91:13)

115

 

 

Because He Loves Me I Will Rescue Him (91:14-16)

116

 

Psalms 56 and 57

118

 

Psalm 121 I Will Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills

118

 

 

I Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills (121:1-2)

118

 

 

The Lord Who Watches Over You (121:3-8)

119

 

 

Will God Really Protect Us?

121

7. Resting in God´s Care (Psalms 131, 23, 16, 3, 31, 46)

125

 

Psalm 131 I Have Stilled and Quieted My Soul

125

 

 

Humility and Trust (131:1)

125

 

 

I Have Stilled and Quieted My Soul (131:2)

126

 

 

Hoping, Trusting in the Lord (131:3)

126

 

Psalm 23 The Lord Is My Shepherd

127

 

 

The Lord our Shepherd (23:1)

128

 

 

The Shepherd Provides Food (23:2)

128

 

 

The Shepherd Provides Restoration and Refreshing (23:3a)

128

 

 

The Shepherd Guides in Righteous Ways (23:3b)

129

 

 

Protection and Assurance in Fear (23:4)

129

 

 

The Gracious Host (23:5)

130

 

 

Eternal Life (23:6)

130

 

Psalm 16 You Will Not Abandon Me to the Grave

131

 

Psalm 3 I Lie Down and Sleep

132

 

Psalm 31 Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit

133

 

Psalm 46 Our Ever-Present Help in Trouble

134

8. Exulting in God (Psalms 57, 96, 126, and 24)

139

 

Psalm 57 I Will Awake the Dawn!

139

 

 

David´s Lament (57:1-6)

140

 

 

Be Exalted, O God (57:5, 11)

140

 

 

They Have Been Caught in Their Own Trap (57:6)

141

 

 

David´s Exultation (57:7-11)

141

 

Psalm 96 Ascribe to the Lord the Glory Due His Name

143

 

 

Blessing Yahweh (96:2)

143

 

 

Declaring His Glory to the Nations (96:3-6)

143

 

 

Great Is the Lord and Greatly to Be Praised (96:4a)

144

 

 

Ascribe to the Lord the Glory Due His Name (96:7-8)

144

 

 

Worship Yahweh in the Splendor of His Holiness (96:9)

145

 

 

The Lord Reigns! (96:10a)

145

 

 

Let Heavens, Earth, Sea, Fields, and Trees Worship Yahweh (96:10-13)

146

 

Psalm 126 He Who Goes Out Weeping Will Return with Songs of Joy

147

 

 

When the Lord Brought Back the Captives (126:1a)

147

 

 

Our Mouths Were Filled with Laughter (126:1-3)

148

 

 

Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord (126:4)

148

 

 

Weeping Comes before Reaping (126:5-6)

149

 

Psalm 24 The King of Glory

151

 

 

The King is the Creator (24:1-2)

151

 

 

The King´s Requirement of Complete Loyalty (24:3-6)

151

 

 

The King of Glory Shall Come In (24:7-10)

152

 

 

The King of Glory and Our Heart´s Home

153

9. Rejoicing in God´s Character (Psalms 103, 145, 117)

157

 

Psalm 103 Bless the Lord, O My Soul

157

 

 

Bless the Lord (103:1)

157

 

 

Forget Not All His Benefits (103:2-5)

158

 

 

The God of Righteousness and Justice (103:6)

159

 

 

The God Who Revealed Himself to Israel in the Exodus (103:7)

160

 

 

The Gracious and Merciful God (103:8-9)

160

 

 

The God Who Forgives Us Completely (103:10-13)

161

 

 

The Lord Has Compassion on Us as Children (103:13-14)

161

 

 

The Transitory and the Eternal (103:15-18)

162

 

 

The Lord Is King over All (103:19)

162

 

 

Let Angels, Creation, and My Own Soul Bless the Lord (103:20-22)

162

 

Psalm 145 I Exalt You, My God the King

163

 

 

An Acrostic Psalm

163

 

 

I Extol You, My King (145:1-2)

164

 

 

Your Greatness Is Beyond Reckoning (145:3-7)

164

 

 

The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate (145:8-9)

165

 

 

All He Has Made Yahweh the Creator (145:9b, 13b, 17b)

165

 

 

The Glory of Yahweh´s Kingdom (145:10-13a)

166

 

 

The Faithful Character of Our God (145:13b-16)

166

 

 

The Lord Is Near (145:18-20)

167

 

 

My Mouth Will Speak in Praise of the Lord (145:21)

168

 

Psalm 117 The Faithfulness of the Lord Endures Forever

169

10. Looking Forward to the Messiah (Psalms 2, 110, 22)

173

 

 

Messianic Psalms and the Nature of Prophecy

173

 

Psalm 2 You Are My Son, Today I Have Begotten You

174

 

 

The Nations Conspire Against Yahweh and His Messiah (2:1-6)

174

 

 

You Are My Son (2:7-8)

175

 

 

Today I Have Begotten You (2:7)

177

 

 

Kiss the Son (2:10-12)

178

 

Psalm 110 The Messiah as Priest and King

178

 

 

The Messiah Is Greater than David (110:1)

179

 

 

A Universal Messianic Rule (110:2-3)

179

 

 

The Eternal Priest from Melchizedek´s Order (110:4)

180

 

 

Messiah Will Subdue and Judge the Nations (110:5-7)

180

 

Psalm 22 My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

181

 

 

Why Have You Forsaken Me? (22:1-2)

182

 

 

God Is Enthroned on Our Praises (22:3)

182

 

 

Comparisons to the Crucifixion (22:6-18)

183

 

 

The Conclusion of Praise (22:19-31)

185

11. Finding Forgiveness and Restoration (Psalms 32 and 51)

188

 

Psalm 32 Blessed Is the One Whose Sin Is Forgiven

188

 

 

Structure

188

 

 

Blessed Is the Forgiven Person (32:1-2)

189

 

 

The Agony of Guilt (32:3-4)

190

 

 

The Freedom of Confession (32:5)

190

 

 

You Are My Hiding Place (32:6-7)

191

 

 

A Call to Teachability rather than Stubbornness (32:8-11)

192

 

Psalm 51 Create in Me a Clean Heart, O Lord

193

 

 

Setting the Scene (2 Samuel 11-12)

193

 

 

Structure

194

 

 

Pleading for God´s Mercy (51:1-2)

194

 

 

Confessing and Acknowledging Sin (51:3-5)

196

 

 

Hungering for Fellowship Once More (51:6-12)

197

 

 

The Longing for a Pure Heart (51:10, 12)

199

 

 

Do Not Take Your Holy Spirit from Me (51:11)

200

 

 

Resolving to Declare God´s Grace (51:13-15)

201

 

 

Offering the Sacrifice of a Contrite Heart (51:16-17)

201

 

 

Praying for Jerusalem´s Prosperity (51:18-19)

202

12. Giving Thanks to Our Faithful God (Psalms 100, 107, 118, 34)

205

 

Psalm 100 Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving

205

 

 

Giving Thanks with Joy (100:1-2)

206

 

 

We Are the Sheep of His Pasture (100:3)

207

 

 

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving (100:4-5)

207

 

Psalm 107 Give Thanks to the Lord for His Unfailing Love

208

 

Psalm 118 His Love Endures Forever

209

 

 

The Stone that the Builders Rejected (118:22-23)

210

 

 

This Is the Day which the Lord Has Made (118:24)

211

 

 

Hosanna! (118:25-27)

211

 

 

I Will Give You Thanks (118:28-29)

212

 

Psalm 34 Taste and See that the Lord Is Good

213

 

 

I Will Bless the Lord at All Times (34:1-2)

213

 

 

Magnifying and Exalting (34:3)

214

 

 

I Sought the Lord and He Delivered Me (34:4-7)

215

 

 

Taste and See that the Lord is Good (34:8-10)

216

 

 

I Will Teach You the Fear of Yahweh (34:11-14)

217

 

 

His Ears Are Attentive to the Cry of the Righteous (34:15-16)

218

 

 

Many Are the Afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord Delivers (34:17-20)

218

 

 

The Lord Redeems His Servants, Does Not Condemn Them (34:21-22)

219

Epilogue (Psalms 47 and 119)

223

 

Psalm 47 Clap Your Hands All Nations

223

 

Psalm 119 Delight in the Law of the Lord

224

Appendix 1: Exercises to Help You Experience the Psalms

226

Appendix 2. Psalms in Worship throughout the Centuries

229

 

 

Beginning with David

229

 

 

Psalms in Temple Worship

229

 

 

Psalms in the Synagogue

231

 

 

From Synagogue to House Church

232

 

 

The Post-Apostolic Church

232

 

 

The Liturgy of the Hours

233

 

 

Singing the Psalter

234

 

 

Late Twentieth Century Psalm Singing

235

Appendix 3. How Should We Understand the Imprecatory Psalms in which Enemies Are Cursed?

236

 

 

Imprecations and Curses

236

 

 

A Story of Persecution and Hatred

237

 

 

A Longing for Justice and Judgment

238

 

 

The Fine Line between Justice and Revenge

238

 

 

Christ Our Exemplar and Judge

238

 

 

Progressive Revelation

239

 

 

How to Respond to the Psalmists´Terrible Curses

239

Appendix 4. New Testament Quotations from the Psalms

241

Appendix 5. Example of a Readers Theater Approach to the Psalms

246

Appendix 6. Class or Group Handouts

250

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