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Why are Psalms so important in our life? what are their Characteristics and classification? what’s their number? what’s counted the most important among them?

Introduction

The wonderful in psalms of David that it is the word of God that we can pray through it.

Secondly, it represents a meeting with God, through it we can feel that we talk to Him and that He can hear us. Not only so, but also, we can take part in a dialogue with God Himself!

Thirdly, through it we can present our complains, our feelings, and our troubles and our problems and our sadness and God can respond by Himself through, the words of psalm!

Fourthly, it is bastion demons are frightened of because it is words of the holy spirit.

Fifthly, it is a helper to us in our struggle like what Pope Shenouda the third said, “Keep the psalm so it can keep you.”

Sixthly, for us as believers, through it we can be sure that our prayers are according to the will of God when we find ourselves praying with what we are really needing at that very same moment.

Finally, it opens new channels for dialogue, with God.

Characteristics

Firstly, these psalms are for each one, especially, for the patient, those who suffer or in pain, for the needy and the poor, for the prisoner or the captive, for who whatsoever, in a narrow or under persecution.

Secondly, each psalm expresses in a direct way the realization of our souls for the existence of God and is a true mirror through which we feel our emotions and our feelings considering it, our personal story, in which we raise our questions and needs and listening to God’s answers to all of them.

Dermot Connolly says, “It is worthy observing, that the prayer is originated and buried in the life of the people of God and their experiences: In their joyfulness and sorrow, in their history and worship, in the time of danger or salvation, in illness, in childhood or old age in captivity or inside Jerusalem and in isolation or in friendship.”

“Also, Observe, the body language in psalms, the hand and the feet, the throat and the skin, and the eye all are subjected to suffer and pain, all are used, as signs in praying.”

Thirdly, there are a lot of great prophetic subjects in the book of PSALM were used as quotes in the New Testament even the Lord Himself says, “That all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (LUKE 24:44)

The Messianic Psalms give a complete and precise projection and prediction about the son of David our Lord Jesus Christ including His incarnation, His pains and His death and burying and resurrection and Ascension and His sitting on the right hand of God the Father, then His last coming also, His Prophetic and Priestly functions.

Also, finding in the majority of Psalms its complete meaning and expression are fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ and His wording.

Fourthly, it has been written the wording Selah in the Psalms 73 times and some of the studies sees that it is derived from the Hebrew word “selah” meaning ” this who, raises.” and so, to raise the sound of music or the praising in a particular time.

Fifthly, the Psalms as the poems are fully of the poetic styles as follows, A) Simile: like comparing different things using the wording, ‘like’ or ‘as.’ (PSALM 1,3,4, 11:1, 19:5).

B) Metaphor: meaning using a word to refer to a thing or an idea instead of another thing or idea, revealing to the similarity between both of them without using, ‘like’ or ‘as.’ (PSALM 27:1, 

C) Hyperbole: meaning, the exaggerating in describing to induce a certain impact (PSALM 6:6). D) Personification: To personalize things having no life. (PSALM 9:1, 35:10)

E) Apostrophe: Meaning directing dialogue to a non-living object. (PSALM 114;5). F) Synecdoche: Meaning rhetorical image in which the part replaces the whole and the whole replaces the part. (PSALM 91:5)

Plumer says: “the poetry of Psalms do not be shaped as the poetry of modern languages as a response to linguistic rhythms, but as a response to thoughts.” 

Classification

Studies classify psalms as follows: – Firstly, didactic psalms which explains the spiritual wisdom and theology, since all of us need wisdom especially leaders.

Secondly, Devotional Psalms which is about regret characterized by deep sadness for committing sins. As, psalms (4,5,7,11,17,26,28,35,41,44,55,59,60,64,70,74,79,80,83,89,94,102,109,120,129,139,140,141,143)

Thirdly, Hymns of praise and Psalms of Thanksgiving as psalms (33,95,100,117,145,148,149,150)

Fourthly, Messianic Psalms which projected the Christ or predicted about Him. And many meanings in the psalms remained mysterious till the life of the Christ presented the key for it. As psalms (2,8)

Fifthly, Historical Psalms which narrate the humane history beginning from Gensis till Joshua as abasis for praising as in psalms (78,105,106,136)

Sixthly, Liturgical Psalms (15,24,50,75,118,20,21,135), Sabourin says, that some psalms have been put implicitly to be used in the liturgical worship. The clearest example for these is Psalms (15,24)

Seventhly, Enthronement Psalms (29,47,93,95-99) they are called Psalms of Zion and it is built upon the belief that it is the city of the temple; the place in which Jehovah exist.

Eighthly, the Royal Psalms which predict for the Christ as a king who holds the hearts of His believers and accept them as a heavenly bride sharing Him His glory and He gives them the victory upon the evil. As in PSALM (2,18,20,21,45,72,89,101,110,132,144)

Ninthly, Psalms of Ascents or Degrees (120-134) they are called so, because the visitors coming to Jerusalem use them in, the great feasts.

Tenthly, the Hallel Psalms (113-118) which are praised by during the Passover, Tabernacles, and (the weeks or Pentecostal) feasts.

Eleventhly, the Occasional Psalms, in the Hebrew text Psalm 92 is devoted to Saturday, Sabbath. And in the Septuagint other Psalms are devoted to other days, Sunday: 24, Monday: 48, Tuesday: 94, Friday: 93.

Twelfthly, Supplication or Lament Psalms which is the most common, behold the Musicians are crying out for a personal need or interceding for the needs of others or, for personal or group pains or narrows. 

Thirteenthly, The Alphabetic ones which is composed according to the Hebrew Alphabet (9,10,25,34,37,111,112,119,145)

Fourteenthly, Hallelujah ones, stands for Hallelujah to Jehovah to be used in, the collective prayer (105,106,111-113, 115,117,135,146-150)

Fifteenthly, the Elohistic ones that uses the name Elohim about God. (42-83)

Sixteenth, those of Zion (the church) about entering Jerusalem referring to the providence of God to His people.  

Seventeenth, those of creation that praise God as a creator for all the creation. (8,19,33,104). 

We chose five Psalms to talk about the first, the 23rd, 35th, 73rd and 91st.

The First or opening Psalm is about the way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly. So, it began with the announcement of the bricked life of the righteous man and his internal joy. Since, it is all about the immortal story between the Creator and His Creation.

It draws in an impressive way, the contrast between the two main ways of man, the righteous in the Lord, and the ungodly. The choice we should make between clinging to God or being isolated away from Him.

This Psalm confirms a Godly basic principle that’s “the human freedom.” Since, man has the right to choose whether the righteous or the ungodly way. To obey God or to rebel against Him. 

The righteous is like “a tree planted by the rivers of water.” It denotes to the bricked life that the righteous enjoy standing resist all the winds of evil, not only so, but also “brings forth its fruit.”

Surly, we can’t be fruitful or prosper except by the water of the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to face the difficulties of life.

But the ungodly in the contrary are like” a chaff which the wind drives away.” Since, they are driven against each temptation and their life has no meaning and is unvaluable and the life far from God is empty like the chaff.

And at the same time, they have an internal war, struggling with his internal soul what makes him with no peace of mind carrying conscience works as an enemy for himself?! the righteous is not as so!

“Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (5) 

The ungodly, can’t defend themselves at the home of legislation, when the time of judgement prevail. At the day of judgement, they would see the Lord powerful, His eyes are like a flame of fire, but His sons can see Him as a heavenly groom joining Him to His Glory.

“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

The knowledge of God is not merely intellectual, but it is a living and effective knowledge.

God knows the righteous since, the last knows Him. But the ungodly do not deserve God to know him.

The 23rd also, called the shepherd or the Paraclete Psalm, it is considered the warmest in the book of Psalms as being a confident praise since it is distinguished by the assurance and trust in God whom we can put our shoulders on as being children.

(The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.) (1). So, when we call the Lord, our shepherd we test His tenderness, condolences and providence to us.

“He makes me to lie down in green pasture.” (2). The green pasture is not external blessings, but rather is enjoying the dwelling of the Christ in us, until He gives us the nature of sufficiency, in our deep which makes us with no want.

“He leads me besides, the still waters.” (2). Behold, the flock gets its enough food, it is leaded by the shepherd to the fresh waters to drink, be saturated and strengthen and be refreshed.

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of the righteousness For His name’s sake.” (3). So, during transition from pasture to another, He passes me over the barren wilderness or away from the places fully of thorns. Really, He guides me in the straightforward paths away from holes and entraps, of the enemy.

“You, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me.” (4). I think we enter with Christ in His death with no fear, behold He is with us and we also, experience death with Him joyfully if we really could practice, repentance and confession.

But, what’s the shadow of death?  Since, death is considered the worst evil in our point of view, so its shadow denotes to the time of great sadness, darkness or temptations. It is called valley of death but not death because He could invalidate it. So, we should always be concentrating in our togetherness with Him.

“Your rod and Your staff, they, comfort me.”(4). The rod is for the leadership and defense and the staff is for, the support.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of, my enemies.” (5). So, it may be that God prepares a table for us by Himself, so that we may eat with no hurry, confusion nor disturbance and in no fear from the enemy who knock our door. He gives us peace in the middle of the spiritual battle.

“You anoint my head with oil.” (5). This refers to the personal relationship between the shepherd and His flock and uncover the matter of joy and saturation.

“My cup runs over.” (5). The man who accepts the mercies and the new bounties in every morning floods over with praising even if he only has a dry morsel.

“And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (6). The means to an end of the Lord to us is to dwell and stabilize in His Godly Holy home! forever which is the church in our life here on the earth.

The 35th Psalm, a cry out to the Lord asking for, His help. Sometimes the believer is subjected to a relatively long-time pains, by the will of God.

So, David has never doubted in the rescue of the Lord to him. But with each mayday was coming from his heart, David was looking forward to the reassured moment of survival.

The 73rd Psalm is about the tragedy of the wicked and the blessedness of trust in God.

This Psalm of Asaf, lots of us may wonder with him, how the Lord succeed the way of the wicked who are living in richness and happiness (2-12) while as the righteous suffer lots of troubles, temptation and narrow (13-14)?!

Then, the answer comes, when we enter the sanctuary of God, meaning the true knowledge we find out that success, richness and safety enjoyed by the wicked if not to lead them to repentance, it will cast them down to destruction. (15-20).

Then, the composer revised himself and regretted for his sins because he convinced that all the success and richness is just a loss if not accompanied by the true knowledge of God and joining His heavenly city. And realized that he is ignorant before God. (21-22)

Finally, he felt joyfulness when he realized the heavenly goodness and the knowledge of grace. Also, the good guidance of the Lord can lead to the glory. And that God is everything in life, since He is the true Helper and Bastion. And drawing near to God is really, the true happiness. (23-28).

Psalm 91st, is counted as the pearl of Psalms of condolences. It is considered a Messian Psalm not only because the Devil quoted to verses of it (11,12) during the temptation in the wilderness but because also it mentioned four titles of God, the Most High, the Almighty, the Lord and God.

This Psalm is surely important and useful for each one, we pray it asking for the real protection made by God and the children may pray it for, its excellence.

Thus, the number of Psalms is 150 Psalm the most famous one may be the 51st, that about repentance we talked about it in the last article, it is counted as the most significant for all generations throughout, all the time and peoples of the world. And the 3rd is about fleeing David from Absalom.

Tawfik, S. The wonderful Psalms of David. (2023). www.orthodox-beliefs.com
Source is HOLY BIBLE NKJV. Arabic New van Dyck text C. The Bible Society of Egypt. Fifth Edition Third print2019.ISBN 978-1-84364-188-9. Printed in China.

Reference: – 1-Father Priest Tadros Jacob Malti, Psalms Book, Egypt, Saint George Church -Sporting, First Print,2007.

Reference: -2- His Eminence Metropolitan Bishoy, Metropolitan of Dumyat and El-Barree, and Abbot of St. Demiana Monastery, Dakahlia, Egypt, Meditations in selected Psalms of Agape (Part one), Egypt, Metropolitan of Dumyat, Kufr El-Sheikh and Monastery of St. Demiana, First Print, January 2007. 

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