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LESSON 1 – PSALMS BIBLE STUDY
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Copyright 1970 R.E. Harlow ISBN 0-88873-430-1 Used by permission from the author.
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LESSON 1 PSALMS
(Read Psalms Chapters 1, 2 and 3)
The book of Psalms contains 150 psalms, which Gods people sang when they worshipped the Lord long ago. King David wrote half of them and other men of God wrote the rest. The Holy Spirit guided these men in writing the psalms and the book of Psalms is part of Gods holy Word. There are five smaller books in the book of Psalms. Psalms Chapter 1 to 41, make up the first book.
Some psalms have many verses, some have only a few. Often the first verse or the first two verses give the message of the whole Psalm in short form. In the same way, we see in the first eight psalms, a sample of the whole book of Psalms.
Psalms Chapter 1 and 2, teach some important truths.
Psalms Chapter 3 to 7 are prayers and
Psalm 8 is a song of praise, prayer and teaching.
We have many prayers and songs of praise in the book of Psalms as well as a great deal of teaching. The first psalm shows the difference between a righteous man and an ungodly man.
Psalm Chapter 2, teaches that wicked men will try to fight against God. This struggle between righteous and wicked men goes right through the book of Psalms. David often spoke of his enemies and asked God to punish them. We should remember that David was a righteous man and he was really asking God to punish those who were fighting against God Himself.
Another thing to note is this: The first Psalm tells of a perfectly righteous Man who is really our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In the second Psalm, also we will see the Lord Jesus Christ. In many psalms, we have pictures of Christ. Some of the psalms have verses, which are also found in the New Testament and speak about Christ. We do not know who wrote the first psalm and none of its verses is in the New Testament. Yet the truth contained in this short psalm is found through the whole Bible.
Psalm Chapter 1, could be called “The Two Ways” the way of the righteous man, verses.1-3; and the way of the ungodly man, verses 4-6.
God promises a blessing in verse 1 on any righteous man. The Lord Jesus gave nine blessings for righteous people, Matthew 5.3-11,
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Matthew 5:3-11 (King James Version),
And you can find seven other blessings in the book of Revelation:
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. Revelation 1:3 (King James Version)
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Rev 14:13 (King James Version)
Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Rev 16:15 (King James Version)
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. Rev 19:9 (King James Version)
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Rev 20:6 (King James Version)
Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. Rev 22:7 (King James Version)
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Rev 22:14 (King James Version).
In Psalm 1:1, Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful, the blessing is for the man who is separated.
Three words in this verse show how a man may get farther away from God and closer to the world: walk, stand, and sit. The man who is not separated to God first walks with sinners, soon he stands and talks with them as if they were his best friends, and at last, he sits down with those who laugh at God. Why do men laugh at believers in the last days? -
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation 2 Peter 3:3-4 (King James Version).)
Psalms 1:1, tells us three things, which the righteous man does not do. Other people could see from the way he lives that he is a man of God.
Psalms 1:2 - But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night, tells what this man really wants in his heart. He does not just obey God’s law because he is commanded to do so, he really loves the law of God. The word law may refer to the whole Scripture and this man gets pleasure from thinking about the Word of God at all times. The Holy Spirit in this psalm describes the righteous man.
In Old Testament times, many men partly lived up to this level. Only one Man ever lived who was perfectly righteous, the Lord Jesus Christ. These verses set a high standard for us to reach and promise a blessing if we do in part reach it. They also describe the perfect life of our Saviour, the only Man who completely did God’s will.
The righteous man has great joy in his heart, and he is also a blessing to others, Psalms 1:3 - And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
He is like a tree planted by a river, which sends its roots down deep into the ground and finds plenty of the water it needs. Its leaves give shade the year around and it bears fruit at the usual time. In the same way, the believer can be a blessing to others. The righteous man will succeed in all that he does.
In the Old Testament, the righteous man got along well and became rich in this world, for example Abraham, -
And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. Genesis 13:2 (King James Version)
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. Job 1:1-3 (King James Version).
The believer today should think of this promise in a spiritual way. God does not promise us wealth in this world, but if we have food and clothing, we should be satisfied. If we love God and His Word, He will give us many more spiritual blessings.
When a farmer beats out the grain the wind blows away the light chaff, Psalms 1:4 - The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
A tree planted by rivers of water is quite different from the chaff because the tree cannot be moved. Many wicked people seem to succeed in this world, but at the end of life God will judge them. John the Baptist said that the chaff would be burned with fire - Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matthew 3:12 (King James Version).
Both wind and fire are pictures of the Holy Spirit:- And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Acts 2:2-3 (King James Version)
Standing in the judgment, Psalms1:5 - Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous, means to stand accepted in time of judgment. The guilty person stands before the judge, but he is soon taken to prison. All wicked men will stand before the Great White Throne to hear God’s words of judgment,
And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. Revelation 20:11-12 (King James Version).
Jehovah knows the way of the righteous man and keeps him safely in it, but the way of the ungodly man leads to death. Psalms 1:6: For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36 (King James Version).
The first psalm brings us to the most important problem of life: our relation to God. In the New Testament we read that there is not a single man who is righteous and that no man can please God without faith.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: Romans 3:10 (King James Version)
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (King James Version)
One Man did perfectly please God and He gave His life, the Righteous Man for unrighteous men, that He might lead us to God, For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 1 Peter 3:18 (King James Version).
Those of us who belong to Him should not walk with the world, Psalms 1:1. We should think with pleasure about the Word of God, Psalms 1:2, and bear fruit for His glory, Psalms 1:3. We should also warn others of coming judgment, Psalms 1:4-6.
From Acts 4.25, Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?, we learn that David wrote the second psalm. This psalm teaches about Christ as the first one did. We can divide Psalm 2 into four parts of three verses each. In these four parts we have different speakers.
1. THE KINGS SPEAK, Psalms 2:1-3.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Psalms 2:1-3 (King James Version).
David asked the question, Why do men fight against God? He knew that their plan to rebel against God could not succeed, it would be in vain. Even if all men could agree, they could never put God off His throne. God did not create enough men to do that.
The kings and rulers of the people lead them to set themselves against Jehovah and against His Anointed One.
The word Christ means the Anointed One, and anyone who rejects Christ rejects God. He who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.
That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. John 5:23 (King James Version)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. John 13:20 (King James Version)
Men’s plan is to reject completely the authority of God. They think that God is a cruel master. In the
beginning Satan suggested to Eve that God did not really love them, he said God did not want Adam and Eve to be like God and know good and evil.
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:5 (King James Version).
We know that God is love and He loves everybody in the world,
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16 (King James Version)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 (King James Version)
Satan is still telling people that God is cruel, like the king in Luke - For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
Luke 19:21 (King James Version).
Those of us who know the Lord agree that the load He puts on us is light, - For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30 (King James Version).
When did the rulers of this world agree to lead people in rebelling against God? This prophecy became true in the time of Christ. Herod and Pilate, the Gentiles and the Israelites joined together against the Lord Jesus and put him to death, - Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. Acts 4:25-26 (King James Version).
These verses will again come to pass after the Lord comes back for His Church. There will be a time of great trouble in the world called the Great Tribulation. The kings of the earth and their armies will gather together to make war against the Lord. They will not succeed, - And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:19-21 (King James Version).
The Lord Jesus Christ will rule for 1000 years on the earth, but after that Satan will be loosed again.
2. GOD SPEAKS Psalms 2:4-6.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. Psalms 2:4-6 (King James Version).
God does not have to worry even when all the kings of the earth join together against Him.
Psalms 2:4, does not mean that God laughs at people but at their childish plan to fight against him. For example, imagine a little boy, two years old, who is angry with his father. The little boy runs at his father, throws his arms around wildly, trying to get his own way. The father might lift him up in one hand and hold him over his head still kicking and crying. In the same way God is in complete control
of His world, God however cannot allow men to keep on rebelling against Him.
In Psalms 2:5 He speaks in anger and says that He has set his own King on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. It would be a terrible thing to face God when He is angry. I was once in a court where a man was on trial for not looking after his wife and children. The judge was very angry with this man and told him that he should be ashamed of himself. How much worse to stand before the throne of God when He is angry! No true believer will ever have to do this because the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the penalty for his sins.
3. THE SON SPEAKS, Psalms 2:7-9.
I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Psalms 2:7-9 (King James Version).
The words of God are very precious to the Lord Jesus and here He tells us what Jehovah said to Him. While the Lord Jesus was on earth, God privately declared that Christ was His Son: He told John the Baptist, And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 3:17 (King James Version)
And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! John 1:32-36 (King James Version)
He told Peter, James and John, - While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Matthew 17:5 (King James Version).
The Lord Jesus was shown to be the Son of God when God raised Him from death, - And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: Romans 1:4 (King James Version).
The Son of God had no beginning and will have no end. He has always existed and always will.
Psalm 2:7, - I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee, does not teach that the Son of God was born or created. It teaches that God called Christ His Son when He raised Him from death. We know this from Acts - God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. Acts 13:33 (King James Version), where Paul used the words of Psalm 2.7 when he spoke about Christ rising from death.
The holy Spirit also used these words in Hebrews - For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? Hebrews 1:5 (King James Version), and So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. Hebrews 5:5 (King James Version)
What can you learn about the Lord Jesus Christ in those verses?
God told Christ to ask for the people of this world for Himself in Psalms 2:8 –
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession,
and promised that Christ would win complete victory over all His enemies in Psalms 2:9 -
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
You should think about these verses very carefully. Christ is called God’s Anointed, Psalms 2:2 - The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, His King in Psalms 2:6, - Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion, and His Son in Psalms 2:7, - I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Perhaps Nathaniel was thinking about Psalm 2 when he said to the Lord, Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. John 1:49 (King James Version).
The Lord Jesus promised to show Nathaniel still more of His glory. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. John 1:51 (King James Version).
When the Spirit shows you something about Christ, you should believe it in your heart. If you do, God will lead you on to see more truth, more of Christ’s glory.
4. THE HOLY SPIRIT SPEAKS, Psalms 2.10-12.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalms 2:10-12 (King James Version).
The last three verses of this psalm are words of advice from the Holy Spirit speaking through David. The kings of the earth should give up their foolish plan to rebel against God. - Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Psalms 2:10 (King James Version), instead they should - Serve Jehovah with fear Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling Psalms 2:11 (King James Version), and trust in Him, - Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalms 2:12 (King James Version).
In the first psalm God promises a blessing to anyone who walks in the way of the Lord. In the last verse of Psalm 2, He promises blessing to all who trust in Him. There is really only One who perfectly pleased God. All others will get great blessing by faith, not by works, if they trust in the Lord.
An evil man will not go unpunished; Those who are righteous will be delivered.
Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. Proverbs 11:21 (King James Version).
David wrote the third psalm when he ran away from his son Absalom. Absalom was the third son of David, And his second, Chileab, of Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite; and the third, Absalom the son of Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur; 2 Samuel 3:3 (King James Version), and he wanted very much to be the king of Israel.
We know nothing about the second son named Chileab or Daniel, Now these were the sons of David, which were born unto him in Hebron; the firstborn Amnon, of Ahinoam the Jezreelitess; the second Daniel, of Abigail the Carmelitess: 1 Chronicles 3:1 (King James Version), and he may have died while still young.
The oldest son, Amnon, was in line to be the king after David, but he sinned against his sister and Absalom killed him, -Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her. 2 Samuel 13:14 (King James Version)
Now Absalom had commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you? be courageous, and be valiant. 2 Sam 13:28 (King James Version)
So Absalom was the oldest son in line for the throne, but he could not wait for his father to die. He tried to win the hearts of the people for himself and then to take the throne of his father, And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. 2 Sam 15:6 (King James Version).
But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron. 2 Sam 15:10 (King James Version).
At first, David ran away from Jerusalem, but he returned when Absalom had been killed. David wrote this psalm as a prayer that God would save him from his enemies. David had plenty of enemies and some people thought that God would not help him in this time of trouble, - Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me. 2 Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. Psalms 3:1-2 (King James Version).
God had often helped David before in his life and David still trusted in the Lord. David was a good soldier and knew how to use his shield to keep himself safe in a battle. He also knew that God had promised to be a shield for Abraham, - After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. Genesis 15:1 (King James Version), and he believed that Jehovah would be a shield for him, - But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head. Psalms 3:3 (King James Version).
He cried to the Lord and God answered from His holy hill, which is Mount Zion, - I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah. Psalms 3:4 (King James Version);
When David prayed he received peace and was able to lie down and go to sleep, -I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me Psalms 3:5 (King James Version)
The word “Selah” in Psalms 3:2, 4, 8, is found 71 times in the book of Psalms. The only other book in the Bible, which has this word, is Habakkuk, in chapter 3, verses 3, 9, and 13. Selah, may mean stop and pray. It is necessary to pray and think about the Scripture if you want to understand its deeper truths.
These things take time, but they will help you to know some of the riches of God’s wonderful Book.
David was sure that the Lord would take care of him and he could face ten thousand enemies without fear, - I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. Psalms 3:6 (King James Version).
He prayed again that God would save him and could already see the Lord striking down his enemies, - Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly. Psalms 3:7 (King James Version) .
So he finished the psalm by praising the Lord.- Salvation belongeth unto the Lord: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. Psalms 3:8 (King James Version).
TEST PAGE OF LESSON 1 FROM PSALMS BIBLE STUDIES
Place a T (True) or F (False) for your answer at the beginning or end of the question;
1. About half of the Psalms were written by David.
2. There are not too many pictures of Christ in the Psalms
3. In Psalms. 1: there are three things a righteous person does not do.
4. Psalms 3: has to do with David fleeing from his son Absalom
5. The righteous man of Psalms 1:1-3, fits Christ perfectly
Fill in the blank with CAPITALS LETTERS in the spaces with the correct word/s
6. The word _______means the _______One. (Psalm 2:2)
7. You ____the ___of God, ___are the ____of Israel. (Psalm 2)
8. The ____of God had no _____and will ____ no ______. (Psalm 2:7)
9. We _______warn _____of _______judgment. (Psalm 1:4-6)
10. God ____not promise us ______ in this _______. (Psalm 52:2)
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