THE BOOK OF PSALMS
The book of Psalms is in reality a set of five books, each ending with a doxology. They were the inspired prayer-and-praise books of Israel. The truth contained therein is not abstract, but stated in terms of human experience. The truth revealed is the outcome of the circumstances and sufferings of the people of God, which in some instances was so constituted as to present a like experience through which Christ in His incarnation should pass. For this reason, some of the Psalms are prophetic of Christ and are known as Messianic Psalms. Examples of these are Psalm 22 which is a detailed fore-view of the crucifixion, and Psalm 2 which is a prediction of Jehovah’s anointed as rejected and crucified, but afterwards, set as King in Zion.
Some of the themes of the Psalms are Christ, Jehovah, the Law, Creation, God’s purpose for Israel, and the exercises of the believer’s heart in suffering, in joy....and in perplexity. While the promises may be regarded as primarily Jewish, spiritually they are also true in Christian experience in that they disclose the mind of God toward those who are perplexed, afflicted and cast down.
The Psalms which demand revenge upon enemies are appropriate and right in the earthly people of God, and are based upon the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 15:15, 18, but for the church, are suitable only in the same sense that in our warfare with the powers of dankness we may call for Divine vengeance upon them.
The division of the Psalms into five books is as follows:
1. Psalm 1 to 41.
2. Psalm 22 to 72.
3. Psalm 73 to 89.
4. Psalm 90 to 106.
5. Psalms 105 to 150.
To give a full treatment to the book of Psalms would be a very lengthy study. The greatest proof of their inspiration is the reference made to them by Christ himself in Luke 24:44 when He said, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning Me.” Thus again we are reminded that the Bible is the story of redemption and that God has interwoven that great theme into the praises of His people.