Thoughts come from a wide variety of sources. Some from messages I have heard from individuals, some from assembly Bible studies, some from home life and some from books I have read. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher who makes them real to me.
• “Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old Testament.” by William MacDonald. Thomas Nelson Pub.
• “The Life Application Bible.” Tyndale House and Zondervan
• “The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.” Moody Press (Of particular value are the paragraph headings which I have used extensively)
Beginning with those who the Spirit of God guided to write the book of Psalms, people down through the ages have read and found comfort, help and guidance for life in the psalms. People who are in despair because of the loss of loved ones, loss of health, loss of material possessions, have turned to the psalms and found something in them to calm them and settle their own troubled spirits. Those who are lonely have experienced the comforting presence of the Lord with them as they read His words and claimed them to suit their situation. Those in desperate grief have found solace in reading of others who have experienced the same, and have learned from them that which suited their present need.
In times of great joy and exaltation, we find in the psalms words suitable to express our emotional experiences that at the same time they lift us higher than what is normal in life’s experience, they give us words that are suitable to praise and worship that is becoming to a child of God, rather than the babble of nonsense some people claim to be praise, or screams of ecstasy that have no meaning or purpose.
The overall purpose of the book of Psalms is to put into words, the record of the experiences of those who knew God, and how they expressed their testimony, sorrow, joy, praise and worship to God. Some psalms are prayers. Others are hymns to be sung publicly. Some express hopes and aspirations of God’s people. Others are confessions that brought life-changes. Some were sung in great congregations, and others are the outpouring of the hearts of individuals when no one but God heard. In them all, the ultimate goal is to bring each person in every situation of life in which they may be found, closer to the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. In that way we can give Him glory. From personal experience, that is what happens. We are drawn to our Lord and Savior in confidence and rest. We learn, like those before us, where and how to “cast [our] burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain [us].”
One’s heart is opened when reading the psalms. The intellect is not dead nor denied, but the “soulish” part of our being responds to that which reaches the seat of our emotions when we read the book of Psalms.