The Book of Psalms, the Book of Praises
The Hebrew title of the book of Psalms is “Sepher Tehillim”, which means the “Book of Praises”. The book of Psalms in our Bible, is a collection of ancient Hebrew songs and poetry which were used in ancient worship services to commune with God in prayer and praise. Some of the psalms may have been written as early as 1400 B.C. but they were compiled into a musical praise and worship book between the years of 1,000 to 300 B.C. These psalms reflect the worship, devotional life, and religious sentiments of Israel’s history in ancient times.
Some of the Psalms are poems which would be accompanied by a stringed instrument. Instead of poems being a rhyming of sounds, Hebrew poetry and song were marked by parallelism – or a rhyming of thoughts. But most of the Book of Psalms or the Psalter, contains temple songs, praise songs, laments, personal and national prayers, petitions, and meditations.
The Psalms have a rich history of liturgical and congregational use. King David, who wrote some of the Psalms, organized choirs and orchestras with skilled conductors and composers to lead the worship. The first Christian churches incorporated the singing of the Psalms (Colossians 3:16) And down through the centuries, in most of the major Christian denominations, hymn books were composed mostly of psalms set to music. Only recently did the Church replace singing of the Psalms with singing more modern rhyming hymns.
But the book of Psalms is not just an ancient hymnal. They are a product of the work of the Holy Spirit. Nearly half of the Old Testament references that reveal the future coming of Jesus the Messiah, are from the Book of Psalms. Jesus’ own words in Luke 24:44 mention that the Psalms foretell details of His life.
For the next few weeks we will perhaps go over several of the many Psalms. Let’s read Psalm 125 today and send in your favorites if you wish for blogs in the future written around a Psalm.
Those who trust in the Lord, are like Mount Zion. Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people. From this time forth and forever.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest. On the land allotted to the righteous. Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
Do good, O Lord, to those who are good. And to those who are upright in their hearts.
As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord shall lead them away with the workers of iniquity.
Peace be upon Israel!
This short Psalm might be summed up in the words of Isaiah 3:10-11 “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. But woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him. For the reward of his hands shall be given him.”
But you may ask: Who are the righteous? We know that Scripture says that none of us are righteous in our own right. That all of us have sinned. (Romans 3:11-20) But Scripture also says that Christ is our righteousness, if we believe in Him! (2 Corinthians 5:21, Galatians 2:16, Romans 3:22, 1 Corinthians 1:30, and Romans 8:1-4) He has us covered!
Psalm 125 holds out amazing promises for God’s people! Promises that those who trust in God will be held fast and stay safe in the God they trust, now and forever. Their hearts shall be established by their faith. They will be like Mount Zion. And Mount Zion is a symbol of strength and security. As Mount Zion is fixed and stable and cannot be moved, so are God’s people. God’s people are surrounded by His protection, as Jerusalem is surrounded by mountains. And those who honor God will be under His protection from their enemies. “The scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous.” (Verse 3)
You may ask how you are being protected from your enemies when they seem to be insulting you and harming you at every turn. The tests and trials in this life are bound to come. The enemy may harass you and wear you down for an allotted time here on earth. But God will allow the enemy to go only so far. He will keep the enemy from destroying you. In the end we will overcome the enemy and we will be overcomers in everything through Christ, who has overcome the world. (1 John 5:1-6, 1 Corinthians 15:57, Romans. 8:37, and John 16:33) The last words in the Psalm, “Peace be upon Israel,” may be taken as a prayer and also a promise. This Psalm is full of promises.