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Overview of The Bible

What Are Demons?

What is God's Spirit?

Who Wrote the Bible?

The Names of God

The Atonement

What is Heaven?

What the Bible Teaches About Faith

A Beginner's Guide to Bible Prophecy

The Tree of Life

The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 psalms and prayers written by believers throughout Israel's history. They are meant to show what a relationship with God should truly look like.


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The Psalms


The Psalms

If you were to open to the very middle of your Bible, you would find the Book of Psalms. It’s a collection of 150 songs and prayers written by various believers throughout Israel’s history. While many of the psalms were written to be sung, the collection was never meant to be just a hymn book but to show believers what their relationship with God should look like. Like any relationship, a relationship with God centres on communication. The Psalms outline some crucial things about communicating with God, like what to discuss with Him, how and when to talk to Him, and even how to know His response!

History of the Psalms

The first psalm composed was likely one written by Moses in around 1400 BC, and the last was written near the time of the exiles’ return, around 400 BC. The Book of Psalms gives us glimpses into the lives of the faithful from the time Israel wandered in the wilderness, through the time of the nation’s Golden Age, through the time when the last of the Israelites were taken captive by Babylon, through their captivity, all the way to the time when the nation finally returned to the land.

Because it spans so many years and so many eras in Israel’s history, the Book of Psalms reflects a remarkable range of experiences.

Themes of the Psalms

The 150 psalms in our Bible are full of references to the book’s two underlying themes: the value of God’s law (or His Word) and the importance of associating with the Messiah, or Jesus. These two themes are clearly introduced in Psalms 1 and 2.

Psalm one talks about the blessing or happiness that will come to those who develop a true relationship with God based on the reading of His word, and Psalm two points out another source of blessing, namely the happiness to those who come to God through and take refuge in His son, being Jesus.

These two themes run throughout the entire book of Psalms, and this isn’t by accident! Like every other word in the Bible, the words of each psalm were inspired by God! 

Following these themes, the majority of the psalms fall into two main categories: lament and praise.

Lament Psalms

Lament psalms address times of despair, crisis, anger, or failure. They show the writers looking to God for answers, begging Him to step in and save them. This is a great example for believers in any time period. Our God wants us to express our concerns, our worries, our laments! He wants us to come to Him and ask for help!

And these lament psalms often close with a recounting of how God stepped in and brought a victory to His servants! Psalm 54 closes with, “For [God] has delivered me from every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.” (v7; ESV)

But sometimes, when the victory is not an immediate one, the lament psalms will end with a reminder that God will save at the time He chooses. Often, these resolutions reference one of the main themes of the Psalms: the Word of God and the salvation offered through His son.

Some lament psalms direct their audience to read and meditate on God’s Word. For example, Psalm 12 ends with, “The words of the Yahweh are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times.” (v6; ESV) In our lives, when we encounter crisis and failure, we start asking questions like: why is this happening to me? Or why isn’t God helping me? Questions like these are answered in God’s Word!

Other times, authors close their psalms of lament with a glimpse of the Messiah. Psalm 61 closes by saying, “Prolong the life of the king; may his years endure to all generations! May he be enthroned forever before God…” (v6; ESV) Jesus’ first coming brought redemption to all God’s children and His return will bring a final end to the pain and sorrow we feel in this life. It’s far easier to endure our hardship while looking to the man who endured far greater hardship for our sake.

But not all lament psalms end in a satisfying resolution. Some end abruptly, still pleading with God to come to the writer’s aid. Psalm 88, for example, closes by saying, “You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.” (v18; ESV) To those who want to have a relationship with God, this is a reminder that our questions may not be answered! We may scour God’s Word and still not understand why He’s brought pain into our lives. We may look to the Messiah and still wonder why we’re suffering. But this is okay! God wants to hear our struggles, even when we haven’t formulated them into a tidy prayer with a hopeful conclusion. He wants to know we’re looking for answers, and He wants us to come to Him, regardless of where we are in a trial.

Praise Psalms

But many of the psalms address times of joy and celebration, too! These psalms of praise recount God’s victories. Some tell the history of Israel and the many times God came to deliver His people. Some look to the promises God made and remind their audience of the amazing hope they offer. Some talk about terrible sins committed by God’s people and how He forgave them when they came to Him.

Psalms of praise are perhaps a more important reminder to believers. Our relationship with God won’t always be hard, and when He blesses us, we need to thank and praise Him! He wants to hear our gratefulness and our thanksgiving when we see His hand working in us and through us. This is another key step to building our genuine relationship with God.

Why It Matters

The Book of Psalms was designed to outline the relationship between God and His servants. It guides its readers to look for happiness and fulfillment in God’s Word and in their relationship with His son. Reading the psalms can help us identify with the faithful thousands of years ago. Like them, we can find relief when we turn to God. The book can also remind us how truly blessed we are to be able to turn to God. Whether we seek God in a song or a prayer, He’s always there for us.

When God brings victory or even trouble into our lives, the Psalms should be a reminder to us to turn to Him and to lean on Him. While our songs and prayers will never be an inspired, poetic masterpiece, God wants to hear every word! And He’ll answer every word in His time - the same way he answered every one of the faithful who came to Him through Psalms thousands of years ago.

The Psalms
Study Notes

The Psalms

The Book of Psalms is a collection of 150 psalms and prayers written by believers throughout Israel's history. They are meant to show what a relationship with God should truly look like.

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