The Psalms Singing to Us
By Kevin Park
Something about the human condition is uniquely connected to hearing from others. Just think of how often we fill moments of silence in our lives with hearing from someone else – from music, to our phones, to the radio, to our computers, to our TVs each and every one of these devices can be used in order to fill up our worlds with noise. However for those of us with a biblical worldview we know that our appreciation for hearing from another should begin at our beginning with God. Our God, whom had the power of creation, spoke into what was formless and void and in the power of His word created something that moments before did not exist. It is in this truth, the power of His word, which begins to develop a deep regard for all of Scripture. Because it’s in the Scripture, we hear from God today. We hear His voice calling out to us, and it breathes life into us.
Yet even when considering Scripture, one book stands apart from the others as uniquely distinct, and that book is the Psalms. It’s the one book of Scripture that is written truly by a collection of divinely inspired authors spanning several eras. All other books of Scripture are written in a specific time and place, most often by only one writer – but the Psalms cut against that scriptural norm. It is likely dozens upon dozens of authors ultimately penned a psalm, by the time of its completion.
Yet, while we don’t know the exact number of authors, what we do know is that the first man God used to write down His word, Moses also wrote the first Psalm, Psalm 90, and from that point on, the Psalms travel the length of the Old Testament narrative. From era to era, from highs to lows, from mountaintops to deep valleys – God had set aside individuals during this period of redemptive history to pen their passions in song, and because God took such great care in its construction, we aren’t just reading a song book, from one solitary perspective, but we read from an array of situational realities.
- We can look to the Psalms and find wisdom in the midst of confusion.
(Examples of Wisdom Psalms: 1, 19, 37, 49, 50, 73, 78, 112, 119…)
- We can find confidence in the midst of doubt.
(Examples of Trust Psalms: 11, 16, 23, 62, 63…)
- We can be reminded of reasons to praise God.
(Examples of Praise Psalms: 8, 29, 46-48, 65, 76, 81, 97, 104, 115, 135, 149, 150…)
- We can learn we have His listening ear in sorrow and lament.
(Examples of Lament Psalms: 3, 4, 9, 17, 22, 39, 41, 55, 60, 74, 83, 94, 102, 139, 141…)
- We can glory in that fact that we have received a praiseworthy King.
(Examples of Royal Psalms: 2, 18, 20, 21, 72, 89, 101, 110, 144)
- We can recognize His giving hand and give thanks for it.
(Examples of Thanksgiving Psalms: 30, 32, 34, 40, 75, 107, 116, 118)
- And we can just find glorious hymns of praise.
(Examples of Hymn Psalms: 15, 24, 120-134)
But even more important is what we learn about Jesus in the Psalms. We learn that He would come in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:26). That He would come to do God’s will (40:7-8). That God would declare Him to be His Son (2:3). That He, the Son, would have a zeal for God’s house (69:9). That He would be the chief cornerstone (118:22). That He would be a priest like Melchizedek (110:4). That He would be hated without reason (35:19). That He would be accused falsely (35:11). That the One to come, would be scorned and mocked (22:7-8). That God would forsake Him in His hour of need (22:1). That He would be betrayed by a friend (41:9). That His hands and feet would be pierced (22:16). That others would gamble over His clothing (22:18). That He would be given vinegar and gall to drink (69:21). That He would pray for His enemies (109:4). Yet not one of His bones would be broken (34:20). Then we learn that God would resurrect Him from the dead (16:10). Putting all things under His feet (8:6). His betrayer’s office would be filled by another (109:8). He then would ascend to God’s right hand (68:18). His enemies will be subject to Him (110:1). Placing all things under His feet (8:6). And His Throne will be forever (45:6).
So while we long to hear from others in a wide variety of ways. Let us not forget the unique beauty the Psalms have in the midst of this life and to listen to their words. Just because God’s word might not be able to answer you explicitly about a situation in the workplace, or in the home, or with a friend or a family member – that does not mean He has failed to provide encouragement in His word for where you find yourself. We can hear God addressing our thoughts and feelings through His collection of 150 psalms. The Psalms were designed to bless us in this manner – to aid us in becoming more alive to who we now are in Him. So in reading them, we can have a better understanding of the image we bear. The Psalms conform our ear to how God speaks to us in the midst of life’s valleys, mountaintops, and the roads in-between. So let us remember, in the midst of life’s noise, to set aside moments in order to allow Him to lovingly speak into our lives through His Word and in His songs. Because in this practice, we better hear our glorious God.