Tuesday: A Song for Every Season

Daily Lesson for Tuesday 2nd of January 2024

Read Psalms 3:1-8, Psalms 3:1-83:1–3, and Psalms 109:6-15. What different facets of human experience do these psalms convey?

The Psalms make the believing community aware of the full range of human experience, and they demonstrate that believers can worship God in every season in life. In them we see the following:

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(1) Hymns that magnify God for His majesty and power in creation, His kingly rule, judgment, and faithfulness. (2) Thanksgiving psalms that express profound gratitude for God’s abundant blessings. (3) Laments that are heartfelt cries to God for deliverance from trouble. (4) Wisdom psalms that provide practical guidelines for righteous living. (5) Royal psalms that point to Christ, who is the sovereign King and Deliverer of God’s people. (6) Historical psalms that recall Israel’s past and highlight God’s faithfulness and Israel’s unfaithfulness to teach the coming generations not to repeat the mistakes of their ancestors but to trust God and remain faithful to His covenant.

The poetry of the Psalms demonstrates distinctive power to capture the attention of readers. Though some of these poetic devices are lost in translation, we can still, in our native language, appreciate many of them.

1. Parallelism involves the combining of symmetrically constructed words, phrases, or thoughts. Parallelism helps in understanding the meaning of corresponding parts. For instance: “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!” (Psalms 103:1, NKJV). In this parallelism, “my soul” is “all that is within me,” namely one’s whole being.

2. Imagery uses figurative language to strongly appeal to readers’ physical senses. For example, God’s refuge is depicted as “the shadow of [His] wings” (Psalms 17:8, NKJV).

3. Merism expresses totality by a pair of contrasting parts. “I have cried day and night before thee” denotes crying without ceasing (Psalms 88:1, emphasis supplied).

4. Wordplays employ the sound of words to make a pun and highlight a spiritual message. In Psalms 96:4-5 the Hebrew words ’elohim, “gods,” and ’elilim, “idols,” create a wordplay to convey the message that the gods of the nations only appear to be ’elohim, “gods,” but are merely ’elilim, “idols.”

Finally, the word “selah” denotes a brief interlude, either for a call to pause and reflect on the message of a particular section of the psalm or a change of musical accompaniment (Psalms 61:4).


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