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Lesson No. 18—The Psalms have Conquered the World.

LESSON THEME:—Psalm

Psalms 95:14.

  • KEY WORD—”WORSHIP.”

  • KEY VERSEPsalm 95:6.

  • KEY PHRASEA BOOK OF HEART-FELT RELIGION.

Home Readings.

The Psalms cover at least seven subjects.

Read a Psalm on each subject each day but as many more than one as you can read.

NAME—The Hebrew title of the book is “Book of Praises,” so called because it is a manual for the nurture of the spiritual life in private as well as in public worship. “It is a marvellous record of human hearts pouring themselves out from age to age in communion with God.” It has so much of Christ and His gospel as well as of God and His Law that it might well be called a Summary of both Testaments. Bishop Ryle says: “The Book of Psalms is full of Christ—Christ in humiliation, Christ suffering, Christ dying, Christ rising again, Christ coming the second time, Christ reigning over all. Both advents are here the advent in suffering to bear the cross, the advent in power to wear the crown. Both kingdoms are here—the kingdom or grace, during which the elect are gathered; the kingdom of glory, when every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. Let us always read the Psalms with a peculiar reverence, saying to ourselves, “A greater than David is here.”

WRITERS—There are 150 Psalms.

  • 50 of them are anonymous,

  • 73 were written by David,

  • 122 by Asaph,

  • 10 by the sons of Korah,

  • 2 by Solomon,

  • 1 by Moses,

  • 1 by Ethan and

  • 1 by Heman.

TIME OF WRITING—From the time of Moses, who wrote the 90th Psalm about 520 B. C., to the time of Malachi, about 420 B. C., covering 1100 years of Israel’s history. They were collected and arranged by Ezra. There are about 70 references to the Psalms in the New Testament.

ARRANGEMENT—In the Hebrew text the Psalms are arranged into five distinct books, reminding one that the Pentateuch is divided in like manner, Book I. Psalm. 1-41; Book II, Psalm. 42-72; Book III, Psalm. 73-89 Book IV, Psalm. 90-106; Book V. Psalm. 107-150. Each of the five divisions ends with the same doxology, “Amen, Amen, Hallelujah!

PURPOSE—To provide a book of devotion for the Lord’s People.

Following Dr. A. T. Pierson we will group the Psalms in seven divisions:—

  1. Psalms of Law.

  2. Of Creation.

  3. Of Judgement.

  4. of Christ.

  5. Of Life.

  6. Of Heart. VII. Of God.

Great Fact I. Psalms of the Law or of the Scriptures,

Psalm 1; Psalm 11; Psalm 119.

These Psalms extol and praise God’s word, which is the great expression of God’s mind and will. The excellency of it is sung in a thousand tongues and it is prized “above gold, yea, the finest gold,” it is “sweeter than honey and the hone-comb.”

LESSON—If the devout Israelites saw such wonders in the Old Testament, what ought we to see who haveth both Old and New? How we ought to love and treasure the one Divine Book that blesses little children, Matthew 19:14. That makes young men strong, 1 John 2:14. That makes young women pure and chaste, 1 Timothy 5:2. That protects the widow, Exodus 22:22-23. That honours the grey hair of the aged, Leviticus 19:32. That offers eternal life freely to all who will accept it by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:36. Let us read every day and memorize much of the “Best Book of All!

Great Fact II. Psalms of Creation.

Psalm 19; Psalm 29; Psalm 104.

These Psalms are the poets’ version of Genesis. To them the whole earth is a Bible, and the voice of nature is the voice of God. The Psalmist gives God the glory for the splendour of the skies, the creation of land and sea, and all that in them is; and the provision He has made for the preservation of all His Creatures.

LESSON—This fair earth is a mighty parable, and full of the Shekinah glory. There is not a leaf, nor flower, nor dewdrop, but be as God’s image and reveal His heart. We should develop the faculty of seeing God hi all the things of nature Tennyson charmingly puts it:

“The sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the hills and plains
Are not these, O Soul, a vision of Him who reigns?

The Psalmist said, “Lord, how manifold are thy works!” He studied them all in a religious spirit. Then let us not ungratefully pass them over without consideration, but beholding the wonders of nature, and realizing their sacredness, let us then with gratitude look up and exclaim, “The Maker of all these wonders is my Friend!

Great Fact III. Psalm of Judgement.

Fifteen Like Psalm 35; Psalm 69; Psalm 109.

These Psalms contain prayers for defeat and overthrow of the wicked, and are called “Imprecatory Psalms,” or Psalms of Judgement upon enemies.

At first thought the curses pronounced upon the wicked are startling and painful, but we must remember that the enemies cursed, are not personal enemies, but the enemies of God’s cause; those who break every moral law and defy God. The Psalmist identifies himself with Jehovah, and prays with His glory in view. Psalm 139; Psalm 21; Psalm 22.

LESSON—No one should pronounce curses on his personal enemies. Read what our Lord says in Matt. 5:44. When, however, the Lord’s honour is at stake and His cause in peril, we are justified in denouncing evil and evil-doers. Like David, we must draw our swords and with burning zeal fight bootlegging, graft, gambling, Sabbath desecration, and all the vicious evils that a: e treading under foot our blood-bought religious liberties and our holy faith.

Great Fact IV. Psalms of Christ (Sixteen)

Like Psalm 2; Psalm 16; Psalm 22; Psalm 24.

They are also called Messianic because they are full of descriptions of the coming Christ or Messiah. They picture Him as coming to suffer as in Psalm 22; and as coming to reign as in Psalm 24. They picture Him as our eternal Priest, Psalm 110:4. They picture Him as King fulfilling the Davidic covenant, Psalm 89:3-4.

LESSON—It is very important that we associate the Psalms with Christ. Most of their truths can apply literally only to Him. The scarlet thread of His redeeming work, and the golden thread of His coronation are seen all through these songs of the sweet singers of Israel. “Christ shall reign where’er the sun, doth its successive journey’s run, His kingdom stretch from shore to shore. till moons shall wax and wane no more.” Then let us prepare to sit with Him on His throne, rather than to be His foot stool.

Great Fact V. Psalms of Life (Eighteen)

Like 3; Psalm 18; Psalm 44; Psalm 60; Psalm 68.

These may be divided into two sections, Psalms of personal life and those affecting national life. In the former we have prayers for deliverance from pressing danger and trouble, interspersed with confidence and faith in God’s goodness, and exhortations to the saints of God to be strong and trust in Him. In the national Psalms, God’s care of the nation is praised, His favour is sought upon all their affairs, and His help in battles implored.

LESSON—What is God to us; what is Christ to us, personally? Living water will not flow into a vessel turned upside down. The Psalms are full of mercy and truth, hope and comfort, for those who come to them as empty vessels to be filled. “Oh, fill me with thy fullness, Lord, until my very heart o’erflow!

Great Fact VI. Psalms of the Heart (78)

Like Psalm 6; Psalm 38; Psalm 42; Psalm 23; Psalm 10; Psalm 21; Psalm 4.

Among these we have Psalms of penitence, sorrow, darkness, faith, prayer, worship and vision.

LESSON—The plans, work and enjoyments of life are too often without God. Many look up and pray only when they are in the school of trouble and have the deepest heart experiences. Mrs. Browning says, “Eyes that the preacher could not school, by wayside graves are raised. And lips say, ‘God be merciful!’ that ne’er said ‘God be praised!’ “

The spirit and habit of prayer will keep us out of trouble, and make our days peaceful and prosperous.

Great Fact VII. Psalms of God (38).

Like Psalm 90; Psalm 139; Psalm 46; Psalm 5; Psalm 18; Psalm 36; Psalm 8.

These Psalms praise the sublime attributes of Almighty God. They speak of His glorious power, of His universal presence in every place at the same time, of the wonderful facts that He knows all things and sees all things. “That He is our shield and Defender, the Ancient of days, pavilion in splendour and girded with praise!

LESSON—What must be the wisdom of Him from whom all beings derive their wisdom; what must be the goodness of Him from Whom all beings derive their goodness; therefore let us worship God. In youth and in age, in sorrow or in joy, in distress and in prosperity, let us worship God. “Let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture.” Ps. 95:6. A woman who had a child who was not normal, said she would be satisfied if he would just recognize her. Are we normal if we fail to recognize our Maker, Redeemer and Friend?

Questions on the Lesson.

  1. Why is this book called Psalms?

  2. Explain how it is full of Christ

  3. How many Psalms in all? How many by David?

  4. Give time of writing.

  5. How are they arranged?

  6. What the purpose?

  7. How many Psalms did you read last week?

  8. Name the great facts.

  9. Why should God’s word be more precious to us than to the Israelites?

  10. Should we develop the faculty of seeing God in nature?

  11. Is it right to pronounce curses upon our enemies?

  12. Should we denounce evils?

  13. Explain how we must refer many of the truths in the Psalms to Christ.

  14. Did the Psalmist turn to God for deliverances from troubles?

  15. Should we wait until in trouble be’ fore praying?

  16. How soon in life ought we to begin to worship God?

  17. Why should we worship God?

  18. Are we normal it we fail to worship Him?

  19. Give the key word and key verse.

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