An Important Note To Students And Teachers
This is NOT a study of the entire book of Psalms. It is a focus on SOME PSALMS, hence the title, SOME PSALMS. Specifically, this study will focus on Psalms 1, 3 and 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27, 31, and 34 to produce a quarters study material in the book of Psalms. There is no specific reason for selecting these Psalms to be a group for this study focus. Hopefully, these Psalms will expose all of us to the variety of thinking within Psalms.
There are some things to be continually remembered.
(1) The Psalms are Hebrew poetry, not Hebrew prose. Anyone who wishes to do a deep study of the meaning of some of the psalms will need a basic understanding of Hebrew poetry. A Psalm does not mean what we as Christians want it to mean, but what the psalmist meant when he wrote the Psalm. The Psalms are focused on righteousness in Israel before Jesus, not righteousness today after centuries of Christian focus.
(2) The Psalms studied in this quarters focus are not a call to obedience regarding ritual observance in worshipping God (such as properly offering animal sacrifices), but these Psalms are a call to righteous living and the righteous treatment of people. Thus, these Psalms help emphasize these two aspects of righteousness that are equally important: (a) the appropriate worship of God, and (b) righteous conduct expressed in the right treatment of others.
A person seeks to be righteous as a response to Gods behavior. Therefore, a person does what is proper in observing Gods values because of who God is and what God does. Righteousness is not based on the behavior of people, but on the behavior of God.
The attitude of the Psalms toward enemies is not the attitude endorsed by those who follow Jesus Christ. Part of the reason for the Psalms attitude is to be found in the deterioration of people. From creation until the entrance of evil into creation, people were sinless. When creation was complete, God was pleased. He said all was good (Genesis 1:31). After evil entered Gods creation, the time came when people were completely corrupt, and God was sorry He created. Thus people went from no sin to complete sin. The process of recovery from complete sin was slow. It involved much divine toleration.
How do righteous people endure affliction when evil people cause the righteous affliction and they do not have or know the promises God made through Jesus? Many Psalms deal with the anxiety caused by suffering.
(3) The great temptation of Christians is to superimpose Christian values/views on a Psalm. When such occurs, the message of the Psalm is compromised or destroyed. The Psalm does not need to be explained away through this approach. There is a vast difference in making an application of something written and ascribing to the writing a primary meaning.
The righteous will face suffering because they dare to endorse righteous conduct. However, the righteous will never be abandoned by God. Trust in God does not depend on favorable circumstances.
As you study this material, rejoice in the fact that a Christian has the perspectives revealed through Jesus Christ!
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