Introduction to the Psalms

Jeremy Segstro Thoughts for the Week

In this day and age, the Book of Psalms is generally forgotten in the larger church communities.  Of course Psalm 23 is known and read, maybe at funerals or in hard times, but as for the other 149 Psalms…what should we do with them?  Thinking about the Psalms tends to go a little like this:

The Book of Psalms doesn’t have a clear purpose to it, or tell us a cohesive story…

The Book of Psalms doesn’t tell us about Jesus…

The Book of Psalms just shows us how people used to worship God…

Well, you may be interested to know that each of those three points are completely wrong.

While the Book of Psalms is not a history book, it is very clearly grounded in the history of God’s people.  From A prayer of Moses, the man of God (Psalm 90), through the life of King David, during his time as a shepherd, a man on the run, and a king ruling over God’s people, to King Solomon (the wisest and most foolish man), to the people singing By the rivers of Babylon (Psalm 137).

And the book of Psalms itself shows us a general theme: The LORD our God reigns.  We see God enthroned over the flood (Psalm 29:10), we see God sitting on His throne (Psalm 47), we see Him robed in majesty (Psalm 93), and many other truths.

Even though the Book of Psalms was written many years before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, we can find Him throughout its pages:

Psalm 2 – The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.  Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage

Psalm 22 – My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (quoted by Jesus Christ on the cross)

Psalm 89 – You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

And there are many more that could be named.

The Book of Psalms is still applicable today for God’s people to worship because God has not changed.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And human beings have not changed either. We still struggle with sin.  We still long to serve God in holiness and need His Holy Spirit to awaken our hearts to who He is.

Readers, the Book of Psalms is a book of the Bible like no other, and we should treasure it as unique.

More than any other book, we see the mighty salvation work of God in the lives of believers, as time and again, the psalmist is delivered from trouble

More than any other book, we see the powerful providence of God in His creation

More than any other book, we learn how we are to praise God

The Book of Psalms is a collection of songs and poems written to express the highest joys and the deepest sadnesses of the human heart.  It is a book that teaches us how to worship, and a book that teaches us how to pray, for these songs aren’t written for us first and foremost.  We are not the original audience; the original audience is God Himself.

It is said that each and every human emotion is contained within these 150 songs, leading one pastor to refer to it as The Anatomy of All the Parts of the Soul. 

So whatever we feel, we know that we can express it to God.  And we learn how with this book.

Over the next few months, or even years, there will be some short and simple reflections on the Psalms posted right here.  Please join me as we dive into this book like no other.