Friday, July 1, 2011

Noting some landmarks in Psalms

I find my way with landmarks. Red barns. Shrubbery. Cars for sale (not dependable).
You? Before I jump into Psalms this coming week, I want to note some landmarks to guide the way and familiarize us with the "area."

Our title for this poetry collection comes from the Greek word "Psalmos." It translates to the Hebrew word "mizmor" which means "song." The OT was originally written in Hebrew and then used by those who used New Testament Greek. The Hebrew title for the book is "Tehillim," which means "Praises." That helps me know why we think of Psalms as "songs & praises." 

Writers:  Life events often led to the writing of a Psalm, whether it was an individual's experience or that shared by a group. The writers include:
The Sons of Korah, Asaph, Solomon, Moses, and David.  Some Psalms don't reveal the author, and some give directions for the music and expression of the poem as a song. The writing of a Psalm allowed for the congregation of people to have a unified voice in responding to God. 

The writer we associate most with Psalms is David, since he wrote 73 of them. When his last words are recorded in 2 Sam. 23:1, he is called the "sweet psalmist of Israel."As a man who had failings and weaknesses like we do, this is such a beautiful way to be remembered.What would your title be? :)

Organization:  Since the Psalms are poetry, expect to listen for elements like:  simile, metaphor, personification, and image. The Psalms are divided in 5 books: 1-41, 42-72, 73-89, 90-106, 107-150.  People organize the 150 Psalms of those 5 "books" into different categories, but some listed in my ESV notes include:

  • Hymns of praise
  • Hymns of thanksgiving
  • Laments about trouble, asking for help
  • Songs of confidence
  • Royal Psalms
  • Historical Psalms
  • Prophetic Hymns

As we read, it helps to "label" a Psalm with a big idea summarizing the theme. I often write a personal date or place or event beside a Psalm, noting its particular "theme" in my personal life.  I wish I knew Hebrew, because the Psalms are written in a parallel style. That means they correspond in use of word choice, verbs, objects, questions, and syllables. A lot of that is lost in translation, and since I don't know any Hebrew (big dislike), we will ask the Lord to help us absorb as much of His artistry in writing as we can ... in English. ;) As someone who loves to write, I love to see what a masterful Writer my God is!

Now, since my favorite landmark tends to be a tree, that's where I'm going to start on Monday. It will be "Marriage Mondays" here on Come Have a Peace, and we'll be looking at "Freedom Fighters in Marriage."  I'm going to go ahead and start with Psalm 1, though, over at Scripture Dig. In fact, I'm going to take 4 days to work through Psalm 1. After all, like my high school History teacher always said, "The hardest (most important) part of anything is the start."

Over the weekend, I would really appreciate your prayers for me. Somewhere in all of my early summer travel and ministry time, my body succumbed to "something," and it has attacked my old thorn of my respiratory system and my voice. I've had some real ups and downs battling my earthly "tent," and I'm about to start my 3rd antibiotic, while I await some test results.  :(  I will find the right Psalm to express this. :)  Until then, your friendship in prayer is appreciated! I'm letting the Lord lead me beside still waters and restore my soul. I hope you are too.

I'll see you Monday at the big tree (Psalm 1) that's planted by streams of water and yields its fruit in its season. That's where I want to be! You?

6 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Warren Baldwin said...

Good overview of Psalms! Looks like this will be very interesting. And it is amazing that David, who messed up so big, also produced the marvelous psalms that he did. Confirms what we know but don't always allow ourselves to feel inside - that God can work with anyone who is willing to humble themselves and let God work in them. No past offensive to is too offensive to God's forgiving nature if we will just lay down our pride.

Hope you get to feeling better. Our family has had some health issues this spring, too. Kristin missed her last 6 weeks of school. Tough way to end her senior year. But she has bounced back and is doing well. Hope you do as well! wb

Julie_Sanders said...

Thank you Warren, and I'm so glad that Kristin has rebounded from her very difficult end to her senior year. I was praying for her, not only physically, but in all of the disappointments and feelings that must've come along with that. I'm sure her senior spring didn't look much like she anticipated. I guess the Psalms are full of expressions of disappointment and learning to trust in the valleys and fog. Rejoicing with you that she is better!

Julie Sanders

Susan said...

Lifting you up in prayer, Julie.  


Julie_Sanders said...

Thank you Susan!

Julie Sanders

Cindy Bultema said...

My dear friend,
I will continue to pray for you and your voice over the weekend. I am asking God to infuse you with His peace, and to restore you completely ~ physically, emotionally, and spiritually. May you sense God's healing touch in very real, tangible ways!
xo Cindy :)

Julie_Sanders said...

Thanks so much, sweet Cindy!

Julie Sanders