Today’s reading: Psalm 146-150.
What makes a psalm a psalm? If there is such a thing as a typical psalm, Psalm 146 may be it. It has a little bit of all the characteristics that we’ve seen in these devotional songs. Let’s use it to look back and review as we complete our study of this section of the Bible.
Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing. Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– the LORD, who remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. Psalm 146:3-7
Praising God. “Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” Psalm 145:3-5
Man’s fickleness; God’s faithfulness. “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” Psalm 51:1-4
God as creator. “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2
God as rescuer. “I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD “helped me. The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” Psalm 118:13-14
The certain doom of the wicked. “But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. In the hand of the LORD is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.” Psalm 75:7-8
God’s rule and reign. “Why do the nations say, ‘Where is their God?’ Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” Psalm 115:2-3
These are some of the main themes of the Psalms. They are always expressed emotionally and personally, especially in those songs written by David. I could also add prophecies about the Messiah and writings about wisdom to the list. What ideas in the Psalms are important to you?
Image by Eden, Janine, and Jim on Flickr, CC by 2.0