Sampling Some Psalms

June 26, 2013 at 10:49 am | Posted in Selected Psalms | 1 Comment
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When I first became the teacher of an adult Sunday School class, we used the “quarter” system, whereby we studied through a different book of the Bible (or a grouping of shorter books) every three months. It requires a certain discipline to make it through some of the longer books in this amount of time, and, obviously, we couldn’t always go into as much detail as I would have liked, but I believe I always managed to make at least a few remarks about every chapter. Then we came to the book of Psalms. There are 150 Psalms, and I felt there was simply no way to teach through the whole thing in 45 minutes on 12 or 13 Sunday mornings. So we chose some “selected Psalms” and did the best we could. Perhaps one day I’ll get around to teaching through the ones that we left out. The Psalms are the Bible’s “worship” book, and they contain a universe of valuable truths, inspiration, and revelation about the character and attributes of our amazing and almighty God. Here are links to the lessons in the category called Selected Psalms:

1. Parallelism in Psalms (*)
2. Wise Watering (Psalm 1:1-4)
3. God’s Plan for Hurricane Preparedness
4. Give Good Advice: Avoid Sin
5. Give Good Advice: Delay Taking Rash Action
6. Give Good Advice: Vow to be Sincere with God
7. Give Good Advice: Inquire of Your Own Heart
8. Give Good Advice: Content Yourself with God and His Plans
9. Give Good Advice: Esteem the Lord as King
10. Light Is Attractive
11. Beware Foolish Functions
12. Danger + Weakness = Joyful Praise
13. Noisy Neighbors
14. Sweet Theology
15. God’s Revelation of Himself
16. Presumed Guilty
17. Marriage Should Not be Somber (Psalm 21:1-3)
18. Big Words of the Christian Life: Omnipotence (Part 2) (Psalm 21:13, 90:11, 150:1-2)
19. Preaching and Praying in Prosperity and Predicaments
20. More Powerful than a Roaring Shadow
21. Sheep Need a Shepherd
22. Are You Feeling Sheepish?
23. The Shepherd Knows Where We Are Going
24. How to Get High in Christian Ministry
25. There Are Some Absolutes
26. The Early Bird Gets to Wait
27. Light Gives Safety
28. A Child’s View of God’s Supremacy (Psalms 27:4, 73:25, 119:71)
29. Friends or Foes?
30. The Louisiana Flood of 2016 (Psalm 32:5-6)
31. Our Great Needs (Psalm 35:10)
32. Rest / Repentance
33. Water, Water, Everywhere…
34. Light Shows the Truth
35. Two Thrones (Psalm 47:8)
36. Clean and New
37. You the Man!
38. Catechism Question 6
39. The Lord’s Laundry
40. God Versus a Mud Puddle
41. Prayer, Protection, Praise, and Posture
42. From Garbage to Glory
43. Do the Righteous Really Suffer?
44. The Importance of Going to Church
45. Evil Angels 
46. Heman and the Master of the Universe (Psalm 88)
a. Open Prayer
b. Obstinate Prayer
c. Obnoxious Prayer
d. Obstetric Prayer
47. The Beauty of Holiness (Psalm 96:9)
48. Certain Uncertainties
49. The Certainty of Christ’s Deity 
50. The Crawl (Psalm 104:19-20)
51. The Other Ten Commandments
52. Leading instead of Watching
53. Creeping with the Enemy (Psalm 106)
54. Not Afraid of the Dark
55. Waiting and Training
56. The Great Rescuer
57. Two Sides to Every Blessing
58. Light Shows the Way
59. Graded by God: Turning Your “F”s into “A”s (Part Three)
60. A Word about the Word
61. The Word for Sinners
62. The Bible on Trial 
63. A One-Question Quiz for Boys (Psalm 119:9)
64. God Knows Something about Everything
65. Quick Quiz Quietens Questioning Qualms
66. When We Are Tempted to Slam on the Brakes at the Fuller Revelation of God’s Mercy
67. Mercy / Memory (Psalm 136:13)
68. A Closer Walk with Thee 
69. Big Words of the Christian Life: Omniscience (Part 1) (Psalm 147:5)
70. Healing for Truly Broken Hearts
71. Even the Children (Psalm 148)

* most-read post in category

Parallelism in Psalms

February 8, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Selected Psalms | 4 Comments
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There are 150 Psalms in the Book of Psalms. Each and every one of them was authored by the the Holy Spirit, Who used various human instruments to write them. He used David to write 73 of them. He used the sons of Korah to write 11 of them. He used Asaph to write 12 of them. He used Solomon to write 2 of them. He used Ethan and Moses to write 1 each. That leaves 50 Psalms where we do not know which human instrument the Holy Spirit used, but we know that all of them are inspired by God.

The Psalms may be divided into five sections based on the Pentateuch (the first 5 Books of the Bible – or the so-called “Books of Moses”). The Psalms are songs written for stringed instruments. Since they are songs, their style of writing is considered to be poetry.

Hebrew poetry is big on parallelism (saying the same thing twice, but in a slightly different way or with a different emphasis). There are different types of parallelism. One type is called “synthetic parallelism.” Here is an example of synthetic parallelism:

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

Psalm 19:7-9

In synthetic parallelism the second line explains and expands the first line.

One of the clearest examples of Hebrew parallelism in the Bible outside of the Psalms is one of (if not the) first poems in human history:

And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt.

Genesis 4:23 (emphasis added)

The evil bigamist Lamech bragged to his wives about killing a man, and it almost sounds like he killed two men instead of one unless you understand the parallelism in his song/poem. The “and” does not denote a separate killing. It is his way of expanding and emphasizing the fact that he killed a man – and not only that – but he killed a young man for a mere offense.

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