Psalms, Book 5
In the nine o’clock hour for the next seven Sundays we will take a look at Book 5 of the Psalms. As we dive in, it’s worth taking a few moments to review where we’ve been since we began dipping into the Psalms in May, 2015.
In Book 1 (Psalms 1 - 41) we hear almost exclusively from David whose introspective style emphasizes crying out to God for help and trusting in His goodness. We are reminded of David’s turbulent history as Israel’s second king. Psalms 2, 22, and 41 also remind us that David was a type of the King to come. From early in the psalter, Jesus Christ plays an active role. He is both talked about and present in many psalms.
In Book 2 (Psalms 42 - 72) we see Israel’s moral deterioration under the kings as individuals and communities mourn their separation from God. The wild ups and downs of lament and praise (eg. 64 and 65 or 68 and 69) characterize Israel’s failures of belief and triumphs of faith. We see David’s voice diminish in this book. His authorship accounts for a little over half of these psalms, most significantly 54 - 63 which emphasize trusting God in difficult situations.
In Book 3 (Psalms 73 - 89) the psalter takes us to Israel’s emotional rock bottom as we see the temple has been destroyed and Israel has been taken into captivity by Babylon. David’s voice is not present in this part of the psalter. Others relate the horror they’ve witnessed (74) and the abuse they’ve received (79) as they contemplate Israel’s history of rebellion (78) and wonder if God has cast them off forever (88, 89).
In Book 4 (Psalms 90 - 106) the psalmists find renewed faith in God, their “dwelling place in all generations.” The Enthronement Psalms (94 - 99) focus on the reign of God, and Psalms 105 and 106 offer a two-part review of Israel’s history from God’s perspective (the positive view of God’s provision) and from Israel’s perspective (the negative view of Israel’s disobedience).
The turning point into the climactic Book 5 hinges on 106 v.47: “Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from among the nations.” Psalm 107 begins with praise from the redeemed of the Lord, “whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands.” With the return of David’s familiar voice, Book 5 highlights the return of God’s people to the land which foreshadows the return of all of God’s people into his city. We will touch down on the significant sections of the book as they lead to the final psalms of praise.