For many years, I read the Psalms as historical works of poetry that were theological in purpose. I believed their primary purpose was to reveal something about God. Now don’t misunderstand me; Psalms teaches us a lot about God and our relationship to Him but that is not their purpose.
The driving purpose of Psalms is seen in different types of Psalms that we find in the book. There are historical psalms, psalms that relate important information about the history of God and his people. There are penitential psalms which express beautifully true sorrow over sin and failures. There are imprecatory psalms which call for justice and plead with God to overthrow the wicked. There are worship psalms with were used by Israel to worship and praise God. These are important windows into the heart of worship by Israel. There are also prophetic psalms that speak of God’s will for the people. And there are Messianic psalms that give us a window into the Messiah and what he will accomplish for us.
Yet, my favorites are typically about the relationship between us and God. You see, most of the psalms have a distinctively personal nature to them. They relate the intense struggle of sin and the demands of holiness in the presence of God. They speak of pain, hurts, failures, love, mercy, and grace.
The book of Psalms opens wide the windows of the soul and helps us see life for what it is. There are times when the Psalms cry out to God for justice and times when they fall at the feet of the throne and beg for mercy. A window into the heart and soul of man and, at times, a mirror that reveals more than we want to see. Psalms have an ability to reach the heart and soul during its deepest and darkest experiences in life. All the while encouraging us to look up to our God and Father who loves us deeply.
The book of Psalms has a way of encouraging us to exalt God to the highest position in our lives and drawing us to a place where we can worship and praise Him.
Psalms help us see that God loves us and is present with us through the difficult times of life. He is with us and aware of our hurts. Aware of our every emotion; He isn’t offended when we struggle or feel passionately. Psalms help us see that God is always there teaching, guiding, and extending His powerful hands to pull us up from our mire.
Through the book of Psalms, I have learned to put my trust in God, to give him my complete devotion and obedience. The Psalms taught me to place my confidence and trust in a God who walks hand and hand with me through this life; just like he did for David and the many others who wrote the Psalms.
Let me encourage you to read the book of Psalms as often as you can but more importantly, let me encourage you to open your heart and feel deeply the message of the Psalms. Our God is a real God who walks with us through real life.