Monday, June 3, 2013

The Psalms - prayer and praise

The Psalms cover the whole gambit of human emotions, they also provide expression of the condition of mankind, from the fall into sin, the despair of those separated from God because of their sins and they present the wonder of prayer and praise, in fact you can see that these two major themes will play out in most of the Psalms.

Before going into the Psalms I would like to continue this introduction phase by giving you some notes form two commentaries on the book of Psalms. The first comments are from the Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. Matthew Henry says this:

 "Every psalm either points directly to Christ, in His person, His character, and offices; or may the believer's thoughts to Him. And the psalms are the language of the believer's heart, whether mourning for sin, thirsting after God, or rejoicing in Him. Whether burdened with affliction, struggling with temptation, or triumphing in the hope or enjoyment of deliverance; whether admiring the Divine perfections, thanking God for His mercies, mediating on His truths, or delighting in His service; they form a Divinely appointed standard of experience, by which we may judge ourselves. Their value, in this view, is very great, and the use of them will increase with the growth of the power of true religion in the heart. By the psalmist's expressions, the Spirit helps us to pray. If we make the psalms familiar to us, whatever we have to ask at the throne of grace, by way of confession, petition, or thanksgiving, we may be assisted from thence. Whatever devout affection is working in us, holy desire or hope, sorrow or joy, we may here find words to clothe it. In the language of this Divine book, the prayers and praise of the church have been offered up to the throne of grace from age to age".

Isn't the wonderful. Matthew Henry has provided some very informative guidance here in his introduction. We see how God wants us to pray and praise from these 150 psalms. Most of these Psalms are ascribed to David, but God wrote them all, we see through the expressions of David's heart what God wanted expressed, and He has recorded them and placed them in a book so that the church throughout the ages would have a record of what God says prayer is, what God says praise is.
Want to see what God says repentance is read psalm 51. As we look at different Psalms we will be looking at what God says prayer and praise, salvation, joy, misery from sin, hope, encouragement, judgment looks like, all the doctrines of the Bible are right here in the psalms.

The second comments will be from John Calvin's commentary on the book of Psalms. Calvin says:

" There is also here prescribed to us an infallible rule directing us with respect to the right manner of offering to God the sacrifice of praise."

"Although the psalms are replete with all the percepts which serve to frame our life to every part of holiness, piety, and righteousness yet they will principally teach and train us to bear the cross; and the bearing of the cross is a genuine proof of our obedience... but we will also find that the free remission of sins, which alone reconciles God towards us and procures for us settled peace with Him, is so set forth and magnified as that here there is nothing wanting which relates to the knowledge of eternal salvation."

Calvin and Henry agree that the psalms are loaded with the great doctrines of the Bible, and that those doctrines are listed in the manner of prayer and praise.

The intimacy of the psalms is what both of these men are talking about. God is a majestic God. To draw near to Him means prayer and praise. It in is the fervency of our prayers that we truly encounter God as our heavenly Father, as the One who has provided salvation for us, who has made great and precious promises for us. It is in our prayer and praises that we truly encounter Christ, and it is the Holy Spirit that brings us into the Divine Presence. This is what the psalms are about showing our true heart condition; darkness, evil, wickedness, and the only rescue from our condition light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The Joy and peace and exhilaration of peace with God and humble submission to Lord and Savior.

Next: Psalms

Thank you Lord, for the joy you place in our heart, as we look into your Word and we see the new heaven and the new earth, and the eternal longing for it you have also placed in our hearts. Thank you, Gracious Lord. Amen

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