Book of Psalms

The book of Psalms contains some of the most beautiful poetry ever written, but many people find that these verses describe human problems so well that they make excellent prayers. The book of Psalms is the place to go when you're hurting.

The Hebrew title of the book translates to "praises." The word "psalm" comes from the Greek psalmoi, meaning "songs." This book is also called the Psalter. Originally, these 150 poems were meant to be sung and were used in ancient Jewish worship services, accompanied by lyres, flutes, horns, and cymbals. King David established a 4,000 piece orchestra to play during worship (1 Chronicles 23:5).

Author: Following are the authors and the number of Psalms attributed to them: David, 73; Asaph, 12; sons of Korah, 9; Solomon, 2; Heman, 1; Ethan, 1; Moses, 1; and anonymous, 51.

Date of Writing: Approximately B.C. 1440 to B.C. 586.

Purpose of Writing:To God, the people of Israel, and believers throughout history.

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Meditation

This Week Reading - Psalm 86 To Psalm 92

"Though rulers sit together and slander me, your servant will meditate on your decrees. Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors." (Psalm 119:23-24)

Parables of Jesus

Meditation

Biblical meditation involves becoming detached from the controlling and hindering influences of the world and attached to the living God through Christ that we might, through faith and transformed values, experience the sufficiency of the Savior and reach out to a hurting world in need of the living Christ.

How to Profit From Biblical Meditation

Biblical meditation is the art of reflection, of pondering and going over a matter in one’s mind. It is important that we recognize we cannot divorce meditation from all the processes by which we learn and apply the Word. It is intricately tied to Bible study in all its forms.

Concerning one of the chief Hebrew words used for meditation, hagah, Herbert Wolf says, “Perhaps the Scripture was read half out loud in the process of meditation.”

Biblical meditation involves the whole process of reading and observing a portion of Scripture in order to seek both its meaning and application. Though we generally think in terms of the final aspect in which one reflects on his observations and understanding of a particular text or concept of the Word, reading the text of Scripture reflectively is a part of the process of biblical meditation.

The point is this. We can’t effectively reflect on and respond to a portion of the Word or a biblical truth without the whole process of careful Bible study. Just as meditating in a vacuum or to empty the mind as it is done in eastern religions is dangerous and may open the mind to demonic attack, so meditating on error drawn from a misunderstanding of a passage can lead to unhappy results.

There are three things that must go together in biblical meditation: Reading, Reflecting, and Responding. The ultimate purpose of these three are the three great purposes of Bible study:

  • Observation—What does the text say?
  • Interpretation—What does the text mean?
  • Application—How does the text apply to my life?

Reflection

Irving Jensen writes, “Reflection is the mind and heart at work, thinking over and concentrating on what the eyes have seen … Reflection in Bible reading should have the intensity of meditation, whereby the soul has the desire and intention of obeying God’s Word.”

So, how can we read the Bible like this? Jensen suggest the following which I have summarized as follows:

  1. Reflect Purposely, to fulfill the biblical objectives of meditation—worship, instruction, motivation, transformation. As the Psalmist who prayed: “I will meditate on Thy precepts, and regard Thy ways” (Psa. 119:15), and again, “Make me to understand the way of Thy precepts, So I will meditate on Thy wonders” (vs. 27).
  2. Reflect Imaginatively, visualize the setting and put yourself there. Try to feel the burden, the concern, the fear, the love, etc. Seek to taste and feel every word you read.
  3. Reflect Humbly, realizing that you are not reading just a book, but that which is the very Word from God, God-breathed and authoritative, alive and powerful. It should truly humble us to know that in the Bible, the Holy One who is also the Almighty One, has spoken to us in the Bible.
  4. Reflect Prayerfully, trusting the Spirit of God to open up your eyes and heart to see, understand, and respond to the Word. Again, read as the Psalmist who prayed: “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law” (Ps. 119:18). This is also the position of humility and respect. God’s Word is a spiritual book requiring spiritual perception.
  5. Reflect Patiently but expectantly, waiting on the Lord to teach you and show you. Time and patience are important elements to effective meditation and examination of the Word. Again remember that the great enemies of meditating on the Word are noise, hurry, and crowds. Thus, the Psalmist, looking for insight to God’s Word and direction in his life prayed, “Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, For Thou art the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day” (Ps. 25:5).

The purpose of reading and reflecting on Scripture is response, responding and applying the passage to our own lives. So we naturally turn to the third aspect of meditation and the ultimate purpose of the Word. The call to reflection in Bible reading is expressed in Samuel’s plain words to Saul, “Stand here thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God” (1 Samuel 9:27, KJV).8

Responding

Responding is the process whereby we make personal application of our observations and understanding of the text. Through meditation we internalize that we may personalize.

(1) The focal point of application: You are the focal point in application. This is not selfish or self-centered. 2 Tim. 3:16 makes this clear. You are meditating on the Word as part of your search for spiritual help, direction, and food. The Bible is addressed to each of us personally.

(2) The key spheres of application: (see diagram).

meditation

(3) Important questions for application:

- How does this truth apply to my life in four spheres: in my personal life, in my family, at work, in my church, and in my neighborhood?
- In view of this truth, what specific changes should I make in my life? In other words, am I applying this truth? If not why not? Was it ignorance, rebellion, indifference?
- How do I propose to carry out these changes? We need to be specific here.

(4) Three vital responses for application:

First, the response of confession: The Word of God is like a sword (it penetrates), like a mirror (it reveals), and like a critic of the heart (it judges and reproves or exposes our attitudes and actions). Whenever we read the Word, it should be with an open heart that is ready to acknowledge sin and confess it. So David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my ways, and see if there be any wicked way within me” (Ps. 139:23-24a; cf. 1 John 1:7-9; “walking in the light”).

Second, the response of faith: One of our reasons for meditating on the Word is to develop and build our faith. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,” Romans 10:17 brick by brick). We must mix faith with what we read and hear. In other words, we must act by faith in what God has shown us from His Word or our hearts can become hardened (cf. Mk. 6 and Heb. 3:7f).

Third, the response of obedience: When we obey the Word we are demonstrating the reality of our love for the Lord and how much we really believe what we have seen and learned. It demonstrates our faith and just how serious we are in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

- Note Taken From Biblical Meditation - J. Hampton Keathley, III - Bible.org