6. Introduction to the Psalms # 3

When I began to read books on the Psalms I realised that scholar’s differ on the names for the different types (or ‘genres) of the Psalms. For example Longman suggests that there are “roughly seven basic types”. He does say that “we need to be flexible as we speak of a Psalm’s genre” but suggests the following types: “the hymn, the lament, the thanksgiving psalm, the psalm of remembrance, the psalm of confidence, the wisdom psalm and the kingship psalm.” There are other ways to look at the different kinds of psalms as well, but we can consider those at a later time.

So, obviously “the hymn” describes the psalms of praise. They are “easily recognised by their exuberant praise of the Lord. The psalmist pulls out all the stops in his rejoicing in God’s goodness.” (Tremper Longman 111 How to Read the Psalms) We all know these psalms. They are the ones often read out in our worship times in church, or used in our own personal times with God.

Ones like Psalm 103, which begins with:

“I will praise the Lord.     Deep down inside me, I will praise him.     I will praise him, because his name is holy. I will praise the Lord.     I won’t forget anything he does for me.”

And finishes with:

20 Praise the Lord, you angels of his.     Praise him, you mighty ones     who carry out his orders and obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all you angels in heaven.     Praise him, all you who serve him and do what he wants. 22 Let everything the Lord has made praise him     everywhere in his kingdom.   I will praise the Lord.”

As you read this and other “hymns”, there is no doubt Who deserves our worship and praise and adoration (see the reasons for the psalmist’s praise in verses 3-19). And what a great resource for God’s people for so long, considering that (according to Longman) the oldest psalm was “probably written about 3500 years ago”!

I am continually amazed by our God who is the same “yesterday, today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) and the truth expressed by his worshippers over thousands of years remains the same unchanging truth even today, no matter where you live or what language you speak. “Praise the Lord”!

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