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    In a way, the book of Psalms parallels our spiritual journey through life. It begins by presenting us with two roads: the way to life and the way to death. If we choose God's way to life, we still face both blessings and troubles, joy and grief, successes and obstacles. Through out it all, God is at our side, guiding, encouraging, comforting, and caring. As the wise and faithful person's life draws to an end, he or she realizes clearly that God's road is the right road. Knowing this will cause us to praise God for leading us in the right direction and for assuring our place in the perfect world God has in store for those who have faithfully followed Him.

    As you read the book of Psalms, you will hear believers crying out to God from the depths of despair, and you will hear them singing to Him in the heights of celebration. But whether despairing or rejoicing, you will always hear them sharing honest feelings with their God. Because of the honesty expressed by the psalmists, men and women throughout history have come again and again, to the book of Psalms for comfort during times of struggle and distress. And with the psalmists, they have risen from the depths of despair to new heights of joy and praise as they also discovered the power of God's everlasting love and forgiveness. Let the honesty of the psalmists guide you into a deep and genuine relationship with God.

    

                                  Themes in the book of Psalms

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Praise: Psalms are songs of praise to God as our Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. Praise is recognizing, appreciating, and expressing God's greatness. Focusing our thoughts on God moves us to praise Him. The more we know Him, the more we can appreciate what He has done for us.

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God's Power: God is all-powerful; and He always acts at the right time. He is sovereign over every situation. God's power is shown by the ways He reveals Himself in creation, history and His Word. When we feel powerless, God can help us. His strength can overcome the despair of any pain or trial. We can always pray that He will deliver, protect, and sustain us.

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Forgiveness: Many psalms are intense prayers asking God for forgiveness. God forgives us when we confess our sin and turn from it. Because God forgives us, we can pray to Him honestly and directly. When we receive His forgiveness, we move from alienation to intimacy, from guilt to love.

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Thankfulness: We are grateful to God for His personal concern, help and mercy. Not only does He protect, guide and forgive us, but His creation provides everything we need. When we realize how we benefit from knowing God, we can fully express our thanks to Him. By thanking Him often, we develop spontaneity in our prayer life.

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Trust: God is faithful and just. When we put our trust in Him, He quiets our hearts. Because He has been faithful throughout history, we can trust Him in times of trouble. People can be unfair and friends may desert us. But we can trust God. Knowing God intimately drives away doubt, fear, and loneliness.

 

                                Reasons to Read the Psalms

       God's Word was written to be studied, understood, and applied, and the book of Psalms lends itself most directly to these applications. We understand the psalms best when we stand under them and allow them to flow over us like a rain shower. We may turn to Psalms looking for something, but sooner or later we will meet the 'Someone' that all psalms were written about: God himself. As we read and memorize the psalms, we will gradually discover how much they are already a part of us. The y put into words our deepest hurts, longings, thoughts and prayers. They gently push us toward being what God designed us to be--people loving and living for Him.

 

When you want to...

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find comfort..........................................................Psalm 23

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meet God intimately................................................Psalm 103

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learn a new prayer...................................................Psalm 136

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learn a new song.....................................................Psalm 92

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learn more about God...............................................Psalm 24

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understand yourself more...........................................Psalm 8

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come to God each day................................................Psalm 5

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be forgiven for your sins.............................................Psalm 51

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feel worthwhile.......................................................Psalm 139

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understand why you should read the Bible.........................Psalm 119

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give praise to God.....................................................Psalm 145

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know that God is in control..........................................Psalm 146

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give thanks to God....................................................Psalm 136

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please God.............................................................Psalm 15

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know why you should worship God..................................Psalm 104

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find friendship.........................................................Psalm 16

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seek healing............................................................Psalm 6

 

 

                                The Blueprint for Psalms

Book I

    Psalms 1-41    While the psalms are not organized by topic, it is helpful to compare the dominant themes in each section of the psalms to the five books of Moses. This first collection of psalms, mainly written by David, is similar to the book of Genesis. Just as Genesis tells how mankind was created, fell into sin, and was then promised redemption, many of these psalms discuss humans as blessed, fallen, and redeemed by God.

Book II

    Psalms 42-72    This collection of psalms, mainly written by David, and the sons of Korah, is similar to the book of Exodus. Just as Exodus describes the nation of Israel, many of these psalms describe the nation as ruined and then recovered. As God rescued the nation of Israel, He also rescues us. We do not have to work out solutions first, but we can go to God with our problems and ask Him to help.

Book III

    Psalms 73-89    This collection of psalms, mainly written by Asaph or Asph's descendants, is similar to the book of Leviticus. Just as Leviticus discusses the tabernacle and God's holiness, many of these psalms discuss the temple and God's enthronement. Because God is almighty, we can turn to him for deliverance. These psalms praise God because He is holy, and His perfect holiness deserves our worship and reverence.

Book IV

    Psalms 90-106    This collection of psalms, mainly written by unknown authors, is similar to the book of Numbers. Jus as Numbers discusses the relationship of the nation of Israel to surrounding nations, these psalms often mention the relationship of God's overruling kingdom to the other nations. Because we are citizens of the kingdom of God, we can keep the events and troubles of earth in their proper perspective

Book V

    Psalms 107-150    This collection of psalms, mainly written by David, is similar to the book of Deuteronomy. Just as Deuteronomy was concerned with God and His Word, these psalms are anthems of praise and thanksgiving for God and His Word. Most of the psalms were originally set to music and used in worship. We can use these psalms today as they were used in the past, as a hymnbook of praise and worship. This is a book that ought to make our hearts sing.

 

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