THE BOOK OF PSALMS
We so often think of the Psalms as comprising one book, yet when we look at it in more detail it is divided into five books:
Book 1: Psalm 1 - 41
Book 2: Psalm 42 – 72
Book 3: Psalm 73 – 89
Book 4: Psalm 90 – 106
Book 5: 107 – 150
The great blessing we have when we read the Word of God is that so often we come across something fresh to encourage us in our walk with the Lord. The reason for this is that the Holy Spirit is the Author of Scripture, who as the Lord Jesus said would take of the things of Himself and reveal them to us, for the whole of the Bible is God-breathed and is focused on the One who is the Saviour, Yeshua, in all the Scriptures (John 14:26, 1 Peter 1:20-21). My wish is for a few moments to draw your attention to ‘book 4’ of the Psalms.
This group of Psalms focuses particularly on the greatness, the glory, the majesty, the power and holiness of the ONE who is the Living Eternal God. Who is also the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As we read these Psalms we should be drawn out afresh in wonder, in praise, worship and adoration, that this God has been pleased to reveal Himself to us and draw us to Him by believing faith.
There are certain phrases which are repeated on a number of occasions:
“The Lord reigns” – Psalm 93:1, 96:10, 97:1, 99:1
“Praise the Lord” or “Hallelujah” – Psalm 104:35, 105:45, 16:48 (the closing words)
“Bless the Lord O my soul” – Psalm 103 and 104 (at the start and at the end)
“Sing joyfully to the Lord” (or words to that effect some 14 times)
The Lord Reigns: Most of the news that we receive day by day gives the impression of doom and gloom. Do we who love the Lord believe that our God reigns? That our God reigns is emphasised also three times in Daniel: “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4: 17, 25, 32). It is when we read passages such as Isaiah 40 that we see God’s perspective on the nations. “The Lord reigns let the earth rejoice” (Psalm 97:1). God rules in the universe, there is no ungoverned area in which He is not sovereign. It can be said that all nature is at worship of its creator and Sustainer, God is the object of that worship. “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the earth (Psalm 104:30).
God is ever active in the sustaining of His universe, the sustaining of the natural world. It is the Holy Spirit who makes all nature supernatural. Without Him it all would cease to exist. Yet we know that all is not as God intended it to be. The Apostle Paul reminds us that even creation is awaiting the day of complete redemption (Romans 8:22). Yet wonderful and marvellous at this work of Spirit of God, the work of the Spirit in redemption, by drawing men and women to those of us who have come to that faith which is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8).
Our God reigns because He is the God of power. We are reminded of this in history as recorded in the Bible – creation, the flood, the exodus from Egypt of the Children of Israel, their becoming of a nation, God dealing with them when they sinned and departed from obeying the Lord, the power of God in raising the Lord Jesus from the grave, the future promise that all the dead in Christ will be raised and given new bodies when the Lord Jesus returns in glory, the present power of God to change a person’s life from unbelief to belief is still seen in our day and age. Hallelujah!
Surely it is the thought concerning that our God reigns that leads the psalmists to shout ‘”Hallelujah”, to exclaim “Bless the Lord O my soul” and to rejoice in singing praises joyfully to our Great and Glorious God, time and time again.
The day of complete redemption is yet future. The DAY OF THE LORD will arrive when God the Father bids His son arise and return the Second Time to this earth, this time not in weakness but in power and great glory for ever and ever. How we long for that day!
R. John Wheeler