Over the past few Lessons From the Psalms, we have seen that the book, subdivided into five parts, was seen to parallel the five books of Moses, with the theme of the first book, comprised ofPsalms 1-41, focussing on man and his relationship with God; the second book, comprised ofPsalms 42-72, focussing on God’s deliverance; the third book, comprised ofPsalms 73-89, focussing on God’s holiness; and the fourth book, comprised ofPsalms 90-106, focussing how God restores everyting the devil has stolen.
The fifth book of the Psalms is comprised of 44Psalms, 107-150. David wrote 15 of these Psalms,108- 110,122,124,131,133,138-145. Solomon wrotePsalms 127; and the authors of the rest are unknown. This fifth book is felt to parallel the book of Deuteronomy, with its theme being coming home and entering the Promised Land. The entire book reminds us that God will bring us into our “Promised Land”, into our ultimate rest, when we rely on Him, our ultimate rest (See Heb. 3,4).
This series has already showcased many of the Psalms from book five. Part 4, based on Psalm 136, helps us remember what to do when tempted to believe God doesn’t care. Part 5, based on Psalm 130, shows that in the depths of our despair, we can come to the One who has already redeemed us from every kind of sin. Part 10, based on Psalm 114, helps us understand that nothing can stand before the Lord without trembling. Finally, Part 11, based on Psalm 117, reminds us to praise the Lord no matter what our circumstances may be.
One final example of these theme can be found in Psalm 138, a Psalm of David.
The Psalm begins with a common Biblical theme: Giving thanks to the Lord:
“I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart…” (Vs. 1a NLT).
What makes this verse unique is the next line:
“I will sing *your* praises before the gods.”
I bow before your holy Temple as I worship.
I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness…” (Vs. 1b-2a NLT)
The verse doesn’t say we are to worship these other gods; rather, that we should sing the praises of the True, Most-High God in the face of the many false gods who surround us! It is reminding them, and us as well, that they have already been defeated(SeeJohn 14:30,Acts 10:38,Gal. 1:4,1 John 3:8,Heb. 2:14-15, etc.)!
Why do we have reason to praise God, even in the midst of the worst circumstances?
“for your promises are backed
by all the honor of your name.” (Vs. 2b NLT)
We know we have reason to praise God because there is no higher guarantee ofanything than God’s Name! Remember God’s words in Ex. 3? “God replied to Moses, ‘I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.'” (Vs. 14 NLT)
Another reason to praise God is this:
“As soon as I pray, you answer me;
you encourage me by giving me strength.” (Vs. 2b-3 NLT)
We are then reminded that when we praise God, we are not alone, for one day,
“Every king in all the earth will thank you, Lord,
for all of them will hear your words.
Yes, they will sing about the Lord’s ways,
for the glory of the Lord is very great.” (Vs. 4-5 NLT)
The bottom line is this: God’s blessings are available to all of us all the time!
Do we have a role to play?
“Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble,
but he keeps his distance from the proud.” (Vs. 6 NLT).
Our job is to humble ourselves before Him. When we do:
“Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life–
for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
Don’t abandon me, for you made me.” (Vs. 7-8 NLT)
When we humble ourselves before Him, He will bring us into our ultimate rest, our peace of mind, heart, soul and spirit.
This is one tiny catch to all of this: We must remember that it is our choice to enter into this rest. We can choose to try and carry our worries; we canchoose to try and fix our own problems. When we do, we are inviting in the depression and anxiety that will come when we fail.
But there is another choice. We can choose to enter into God’s rest by surrendering all our worries and troubles completely into His hands, by going to sleep in the back of the boat, so to speak, while He works out the details. Remember:
“God’s promise of entering his rest still stands…For this good news–that God has prepared this rest–has been announced to us just as it was to [Isreal]. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God. For only we who believe can enter his rest.” (Heb. 4:1-3 NLT)
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Lessons From the Psalms” mini-series, please click here.)