Getting To Know Gods Will
Chap 16 Part 2 of 4
The theology of the Psalms is not abstract and philosophical. Rather, it is “popular theology” which emerges from corporate worship. It is really more the theology of the people than the thoughtful formulations of systematic theologians.
These religious poems reflect faith in God. The theme of the Psalms is the presence of God and the continuing encounter of God and His people in worship. God is present in heaven, in His world, and in Israel’s worship. This sense of the presence of the Divine is variously described: as the face of God; the name of God; and the glory of God. These terms all describe the nearness of God. The psalmists were certain God was near and would hear their prayers. The Psalms thus constitute a theology of worship and prayer.
Since God Himself is the focus of the Psalms, we will note what they teach about His character and His mighty acts on behalf of His people.
The focus of theology and doctrine in the Psalms is God. They teach that:
God is One. The Psalms clearly reflect the unique monotheism of the Old Testament. Israel did not worship many gods as did her neighbors. She gave all worship and praise to the one and only God.
Deuteronomy 6:4-5; “4“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”
God is Holy. He is separate, in a category by Himself, by nature and in moral actions different from humans. He rightly expects His worshipers to be morally pure and the buildings and utensils used in worship to be ritually clean. God’s mysterious holiness sets Him apart from all created beings and things.
Psalm 89:18; “18 For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.
God is Spirit. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word ruach can be translated “wind, breath, or spirit.” God is eternal Spirit and not a mortal creature. Spirit is more than a symbol of God. It describes His very being, His creative power, divine presence,
Psalm 139:7; “7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
….and guidance. His Spirit represents His power in the world. It gives healing and health.
Psalm 104:29-30; “29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. 30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.”
God is steadfast Love. This word describes both His nature and His activity, for they are one and the same. His love prompted His gracious and undeserved choice of Israel.
Psalm 47:4; “4 He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah ”
God’s steadfast love is also called His “covenant love.” It describes how God deals with His people. God promised to be their God, and they promised to live in obedience to His revealed will in the Law. Divine love includes God’s faithfulness
Psalm 89:1-2, 24, 33-34; “1 I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. 2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens….24 But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted….33 Nevertheless my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. 34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.”
….and His total dependability.
Psalm 25:10; “10 The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.”
God cares and can be counted on to keep His promises. Every verse of Psalm 136 reminds us, “His love endures forever.” God’s dependable love for His people calls for their corresponding faithfulness.
Psalm 37:27-28; “27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore. 28 For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.”
We are under the demand of God’s steadfast love. His is holy love and is not to be taken lightly. God’s steadfast love is revealed toward all His creation and is not limited to Israel.
Psalm 33:4-6; “4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. 5 He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”
Psalm 36:5-10; “5 Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. 6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. 7 How excellent is thy loving kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. 8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. 9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light. 10 O continue thy loving kindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.”
The Psalms frequently praise the mighty acts of God on behalf of individuals and the nation. The historical acts of God became the basis of faith and trust. His actions reflect His character: God creates, saves, reigns, elects, judges, and, thus, reveals Himself to all persons.
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