Singing the beautiful worship song “Jesus comes to you”, I pause to hear what He is saying to me: “I come to you – I come to you in a form and shape who understands exactly where you are at, at the moment. The losses you have experienced, the pain, the day to day responsibilities – I come to you understanding exactly where you are at the moment, so that I can comfort you – but remember, even though I come as an absolutely human figure – embedded in that figure is and was the entire power of the Almighty, All-knowing, Creator God – filled with compassion and understanding I have come to show you My love and grace – and wrap My arms around you, reminding you of My faithfulness and ever-present presence drawing you closer for a great hug.”
As we come to the Psalms, although this is by no means meant to be an in-depth study, just a few thoughts to keep in mind as we read them:
- This is poetry and some psalms were used as worship songs for the Hebrews and therefore have a corporate meaning.
- The usual rules of exegesis should be followed ie. First consider what the message meant to the original readers in their Old Covenant context. Then examine what difference the establishing of the new covenant, with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus makes to the interpretation. Then only, consider how we may apply it to ourselves in the light of that.
- They are written in the Hebrew style so in each verse or stanza the same thought is picked up line by line and repeated. So in interpretation we must take the verse and not the line as a unit of expression
- Although David mentions “wicked men” many times, we can probably see them as the instruments of Satan in the global spiritual battle.
Psalm one and two represent a sort of introduction to the whole book. Psalm one concerns the relationship of the individual to God. One can summarize it as “Two ways to live”. Firstly the practice, then the outcome of that practice. There is much spiritual depth in the sylvian likenesses in vs 3. I have thought much about the concept of delighting and meditating on God’s law. This could easily be mistaken for an admiration of the word of God as such. That approach could lead to a legalistic application of the law as a way of living our Christian life. Instead, in meditating on the law and delighting in it, the law should be seen as the avenue through which one actually meets with God Himself, expressing Himself in His law. Meditating on His law represents what we do when we spend time in the word to hear what Jesus is saying to us through it, it represents our practice of the relationship we have with God, remembering that Jesus is described as “The Word”. The whole concept of “meditating” gives the picture of time spent in building that contact and can actually only happen if one is not rushed.
Psalm two looks again at a broad picture of the world in revolt against God, represented the kings and rulers. They perceive God as holding them in bondage. Against this is God’s attitude. All the might of the world arranged against God and His reaction to them: He laughs at their puny efforts. It was sung at the inauguration of kings, but as Jesus represents God’s ultimate Son looks far ahead at His coming and God’s demand that every ruler needs to humble himself and kiss the Son. The scepter of God’s wrath hangs over them.
While these two psalms launch us into the message of the Psalms, they are on the one hand a challenge to our personal walk with and relationship with God, through Jesus. At the same time looking at the mess the world is in, we have the promise that God is above and beyond everything and all the powers and authorities are mere creatures before him who will eventually face His judgement. A great comfort as we consider how broken the world looks at the moment.