# 53 Kingship Psalms

Hopefully, this study of the different types (or genres) of psalms has been an encouraging and helpful exercise for you, as it has been for me. Just a quick summary: over these last months we have checked out psalms of lament, thanksgiving, remembrance, confidence, wisdom and hymns. Now, we have one more to go, if we remain with Longman’s list. In fact, in his summary of these different types he says, “What an incredible variety of songs Israel sang to her God!” Considering this truth, may we never get stuck just in one style or type of worship, whether it involve music, liturgy or any other aspects of our times together with God. Just check out God’s creation, he loves variety!

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And so we move onto Kingship Psalms, and Longman suggests that “Two groups of Kingship Psalms must be distinguished. First, we have…a number of psalms that focus on the human king of Israel. The content of these psalms varies greatly. Psalm 20 calls down a blessing upon the king; Psalm 21 expresses the king’s thanks and trust in the Lord. Psalm 45…rejoices in the king’s wedding. The royal aspect of the psalm may not be readily apparent, because the king may refer to himself as ‘I’ rather than as ‘the king’.

The second group…proclaims that God is king. The two subgroups are closely related because, after all, the human king was simply God’s earthly reflection. God was the true king!

‘For God is the king of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.’ (Psalm 47:7)”                             (see references # 1)

I trust you know Him as your King today!

# 52 Psalms of Wisdom (#10) Psalm 73 “a divine reality that transcends the immediate reality around us.”

When the psalmist entered the sanctuary of God and God opened his eyes to the destiny of the wicked, he also had a new appreciation of what it meant to be a believer. He understand better what the goodness of God also meant for him.

He says:

23 Yet I am always with you;     you hold me by my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel,     and afterward you will take me into glory.

In many of the psalms and the OT, we see the expectation that the righteous will be blessed and the wicked will be judged and sometimes this is stated in material terms. This psalmist though, learns another lesson which we also need to learn. And that is that the reward for the believer is God himself and the chief value of living a godly life is a right relationship with him. While God may give evidence of his goodness in material terms, the only guarantee we have as believers is that he will evidence that goodness in personal spiritual terms.

Craig Boyles says:

“Psalm 73 is extraordinary among the psalms in that a resolution is won, but it does not consist in a deliverance from troubling circumstances but a new understanding of God’s ultimate design…it opens up for us … a divine reality that transcends the immediate reality around us.”  (see references # 4)

So Asaph, in coming to a new understanding of the goodness of God realises that there is no other like him, “and earth has nothing” that is worth desiring other than him.  He is then able to say with a new confidence, that even though:

26 My flesh and my heart may fail,     … God is the strength of my heart     and my portion forever.

Both now and for all eternity.

So, having worked his way through the dilemma, he is able to conclude:

28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.     I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;     I will tell of all your deeds.

If you are having trouble with doubt, then hopefully this Psalm will be helpful to you. Read the psalm, pray the psalm to God asking him to give you insight and understanding and may you discover in a new and deeper way that “God is good.”

But we, as Christians, have a huge advantage over Asaph. We are living post the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The ultimate proof that God is good. Let me just give you a few examples from the NT.

Paul in Colossians 1 says that God “has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins…[ This son being Jesus, the One who] is the image of the invisible God… [the One who] is before all things, and in him all things hold together… and through him [he has]  reconciled to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Paul continues:

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

Such is the goodness of God towards us.

And in fact, there is much more, for as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:3-4,

“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”

Not only has God sent Jesus to reconcile us to the Father, to forgive our sin, to save us from the corruption of the world around us, but He has sent his Holy Spirit to indwell us, so that we may be partakers of the very life of God. A life that is real, an abundant life, life eternal.

So, God is good, and there is no doubt about it! But if you ever do doubt it, you now know where to go – Psalm 73!

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# 51 Psalms of Wisdom (#9) Psalm 73 The big picture.

So in this psalm we see that Asaph believed as he said in verse 1 that

Surely God is good to Israel,     to those who are pure in heart.

But then admits in verse 2

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;     I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant     when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Somehow it just did not add up to him! The goodness of God, yet the prosperity of the wicked.

The following verses 4-11, describe what he sees all around him. If God is good why does the evidence of his eyes tell him differently? He goes on to describe those who have no interest in God, yet they are healthy, strong, carefree, arrogant and malicious, and, not only that but, they also get away with it! Then to add insult to injury, they are even allowed to lead many others astray. Why? How can that be?

I guess if the psalmist’s life was also healthy, strong and carefree, he may not have complained so much, but sadly it was not. In fact in verse 14 he says of himself,

“All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.”

And the conclusion he reaches is,

13 Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure     and have washed my hands in innocence.

Ever felt like this?

What’s the point God of trying to do what is right, when those who do wrong thrive and it seems that the righteous ones receive what the wicked ones deserve?

It was a dilemma for him, such that he says:

16 When I tried to understand all this,     it troubled me deeply” or as the Message puts it, “all I got was a splitting headache.”                                                                                                                                                                                                     And so he makes his move. The move that would change his life. A move that we all need to make when we become despondent over the state of the world around us.

The moment when his understanding was turned all around. When, in his words, he “enters the sanctuary of God.” When he takes himself into God’s presence, with all his doubts and fears, and he takes time to listen to God’s point of view on the subject. Maybe through waiting quietly on God, maybe bringing all his issues before him in prayer, maybe as he read the Word of God, or maybe as a result of godly counsel. We are not told how God speaks to him, how he changes his mind, just that he did.

And so everything changed when he “entered the sanctuary of God”, and he says, “then I understood…” (verse 17), or as the Message Bible puts it, “Then I saw the whole picture.” or  the Passion Translation: “…in the light of your glory, my distorted perspective vanished.”

Michael Willcock says, “The understanding of the Psalter, and of our present psalm within it, is clearly a matter of orientation. Those who look at the world with what seems to be the simple, innocent perspective of … Psalm 73:1 i.e. ‘God is good…’  will be disorientated by the hard experience of real life, which seems to contradict it. They need to be reoriented – to be turned so as to see these confusing facts from a different point of view. [i.e. God’s point of view].”  (see references # 5)

This recognition of “the whole picture” and that, “in the light of [God’s] glory”, will then enable us to move to a deeper understanding than we have ever known before, that ‘God surely is good…’  A solid foundation to stand upon when our faith is challenged by the circumstances of our lives and the philosophies of the world around us which seek to undermine our faith. May we always respond, like the psalmist, and go to “the sanctuary of God”, whatever that might mean for us, in order to discover afresh his perspective on things.