Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” Luke 24:44-47 NASB
Jesus speaks of the Psalms that contain words of Him, words that were written down hundreds of years prior, telling of prophecies that would, in fact, be His very life’s story. Christ died with Psalm 22:1 on his lips: “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?”
David, God’s man after His own heart, God’s anointed, God’s earthly king, His “sweet psalmist” speaks in verse 2 of 2 Samuel 23 of the psalms he wrote, that the words he wrote were directed by the Holy Spirit, and were the Word of God…for me, they ARE the very Word of God.
Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel, “The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, And His word was on my tongue.” 2 Samuel 23:1-2
The Psalms, the Psalter, is a collection of divinely inspired prayers, praises, poems, originally sung to a harp or lyre or lute. The word “psalms” in the Greek denotes “plucking or twanging of strings”, associating them with singing. The Book of Psalms have several names from the Hebrew, the Greek, the various translations: Praises, The Book of Praises, Psalms, The Book of Psalms, a hymn book, the Israelites God-breathed hymn book.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, Matthew Henry, and others, saw the Psalms as so much more than we can see with just the eye. It takes the heart and soul to look deeply into these beautiful words. Mr. Bonhoeffer, in his book, “Psalms,The Prayer Book of the Bible,” says, “The richness of the Word of God ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart. Thus if the Bible also contains a prayer book, we learn from this that not only that Word which He has to say to us belongs to the Word of God, but also that Word which He wants to hear from us, because it is the Word of his beloved Son. This is pure grace, that God tells us how we can speak with Him and have fellowship with Him. We can do it by praying in the name of Jesus Christ. The Psalms are given to us to this end, that we may learn to pray them in the name of Jesus Christ.”
Matthew Henry wrote about the Psalms: “The Hebrew calls it Tehillim, which properly signifies Psalms of praise, because many of them are such; but Psalms is a more general word, meaning all metrical compositions fitted to be sung, which may as well be historical, doctrinal, or supplicatory, as laudatory. Though singing be properly the voice of joy, yet the intention of songs is of a much greater latitude, to assist the memory, and both to express and to excite all the other affections as well as this of joy. The priests had a mournful muse as well as joyful ones; and the divine institution of singing psalms is thus largely intended; for we are directed not only to praise God, but to teach and admonish ourselves and one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs…. It is called the Book of Psalms.”
LORD, as I ponder Your prayer book, please teach me Your ways for this life I live on this earthly plane. I want to sing with joy or with lamentation… singing to You the ways that You desire for me. I thank You for giving us this book of prayers. I want to be guided to Your ear that You will hear me praying Your will and Your will alone. I don’t want my will to be the center of my prayer life. Open my mind to understand the Scriptures. Teach me, Abba Father. Teach me, I pray, in the power of Your Son’s Name. Amen.
Photo of Bible on leg: http://renew-cc.org/
Graphic of Colossians 3:16: http://www.heartlight.org