Friday, February 12, 2010

Psalms are songs with different moods.

As well as seeing different ways in which the Psalms point to Christ, it is helpful to see that the Psalms reflect the whole spectrum of human experience.

Belcher's analysis can be broken down into several different kinds of prayer/song.

This is useful in reflecting upon Christ, as the Psalms were His hymnbook. Much is gained when we reflect upon how each Psalm would resonate upon the lips of Jesus. Through Christ it is also pastorally useful to us as we pour out our hearts to the Lord.

This is the usual list of different kinds of Psalms. For a chart breaking each of the Psalms in their different categories see here.

1.       Lament
a.       Penetential
b.      Imprecatory
2.       Thanksgiving
a.       Salvation history
b.      Songs of Trust
3.       Praise
4.       Liturgy
a.       Royal Psalms
b.      Covenant Psalms
c.       Songs of Zion
d.      Temple Liturgy
5.       Wisdom Psalms
6.       Poems of the Law

This is so useful to know, not just so that we can understand the Psalms, but so that we can know who God is, who Jesus is and how we are to relate to God through Jesus.

That's going to be the outline to the sermon, I think...

Where is my hope? (Psalms is a a book about the coming of Christ)

Who is my God? (Psalms is a book about the character of God)
Who am I? (Psalms is a book written to help us speak to God)


Thursday, February 11, 2010

There are 150 Messianic Psalms

A very helpful book in preparation for Preaching one sermon on the whole book of the Psalms this coming Sunday has been Richard Belcher Jr's "The Messiah and the Psalms"
The point of his book it to help us to think how all the Psalms are fulfilled in Christ.
He has 5 categories of how Psalms are about Jesus.
1) Psalms of orientation
"Psalms of orientation emphasize that life is oriented towards God and a person is experiencing seasons of well-being that evoke gratitude for the constancy of God's blessing" (44)
2) Psalms of disorientation
"Psalms of disorientation deal with seasons of hurt, alienation, suffering, and death. Life seems chaotic and in painful disarray." (67)
3) Psalms of reorientation
"[Psalms of New Orientation] express thanksgiving for the faithfulness and deliverance of God through a difficult time of crisis and despair so that joy and blessing are a part of life again." (99)
4) Royal Psalms
"The common thread in the royal psalms is kingship. Many royal psalms refer specifically to 'the king' (2,18,20,21,45,72,89), or sometimes to the king as the 'annointed' (2, 18, 20, 45, 89, 132)." (118)
5) Directly Messianic Psalms
"They speak more directly of the Messiah and his work and are used in the New Testament in this way." (157)
Having laid out these different approaches to the Psalms, Belcher then expands the different ways in which Christ will then be preached from each of these different categories. Very helpful book!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Psalms is a book

There are 66 books in the bible, unless you understand the Minor Prophets to be one book rather than twelve, in which case there are only 55, or if you understand Psalms to be five books rather than one, in which case there are 70.
But, let's stick with 66. One of those books is Psalms. I'm planning to preach a sermon on Psalms this week, having preached on Job last week.
We tend to think of Psalms as a collection of songs that reflect the different experiences of David and others. It is certainly that; but it is not a random collection. Those songs have been crafted into a book with a coherent message.
We tend to think of Psalms as being primarily about David; he is certainly in focus. But we must also recognise that Psalms is a post-exilic book. The focus is on David, because he is the model of the Messiah to come. Those who had returned from the exile and had not seen all the promises made to David come true. The return from exile has not marked the coming of the Messiah.
Psalms holds out an enduring Messianic hope to a post-exilic people. There is yet a rest to come.