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GOOD MORNING, Siblings! Today we begin Psalms!
Our readings are Psalms 1-8
Authors of Psalms~
Most of us think of David as the author of Psalms. While he was a prodigious Psalmist, there were other writers as well. This is an interesting listing of the authors we know – and don’t know.
•David 1-41, 51-71, 138-150
•Sons of Korah 42-49, 84-89
•Asaph 50, 73-83
•Solomon 72, 127
•Ethan the Ezrahite* 89
•Herman the Ezrahite* 88
•We don’t know the authors of 48-51 of the Psalms, depending on who you ask.
**1 Chronicles 2:6 Ethan and Herman were sons of Zerah, so that is most likely the source of them being called Ezrahites
Note: Depending on what source you choose, you may find some of the authorship listed above debated. This is meant as a good jumping off point to help us realize that David was not the only Psalmist. I encourage you to form your own rabbit trails and keep up with the author of each Psalm as we read them. There is no substitution for reading our Bible firsthand in all things.
Understanding the heart of a Psalmist
As we read Psalms, we are going to see a different mindset towards YHWH’s instructions and laws than we see in our world today.
Keep in mind that there are two different definitions of “law” being referred to in the new testament: YHWH’s law and Man’s traditions which they treat as if they were law. It is this secondary, manmade tradition treated as God’s law, that has such a negative connotation and that our Messiah spoke against. It is imperative that you not take my word for this, though. We will go on to see this proven true as we continue to read.
These were manmade laws that were held up as just as important – but in many cases – more important than YHWH’s laws. And they were taught that these manmade laws must be kept in order to be saved. The actual laws of the Father were also abused, with Pharisees (and others) making a big show of obeying them while not truly having reverence for the Father in their hearts, as if mere obedience made them righteous.
Of course, we cannot be made righteous of our own accord. We are given salvation and counted as righteous through the grace of our Father and the debt for our sins being paid by our Messiah.
We will dig deeper into tradition being held up as as law later on but until then, I want us to pay attention to the rightful and deserved love, praise, and appreciation for the Father’s law (instruction) that we will read about in the Psalms.
His instructions are our compass, our guide, they tell us how to live according to His wisdom rather than our own. When you think of YHWH’s law, the simplest way is to think of the Ten Commandments. They are an outline and all other instructions fall under one of these commandments.
His law can be simplified further by thinking of the Greatest commandment, which was first spoken in Deut 6:4-7
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
*Messiah quoted part of this in Mark 12:29-30
How do we do this obey this commandment? How do we love YHWH?
He tells us.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me” John 14:21
I will share more words from the Father where He elaborates on that towards the end of this post.
As for my personal life and how I personally walk out my faith, obedience is very important to me. Note that in that sentence you just read I did not condemn anyone else’s walk – or faith – or actions. I am referring to my personal relationship with my Father.
I set my heart to obey out of love and trust because I know that the Father’s wisdom is greater than my own and His ways are the way of life.
I don’t obey Him in order to be saved, I obey Him because I have been saved, I am eternally grateful, and I have seen that His ways are the ways of truth.
Messiah was right (of course), It is the easiest thing I’ve ever done. Recall that He said, “My yoke is light and my burden easy.” Matthew 11:30
And the Father stated that same sentiment first through Moses with “These things are not too hard for you…”Deut 30:11 (did you notice the neat things with the numbers for those two set of references?) I’m going to elaborate on that quote here and show you the original text in just a minute.
WE INTERRUPT THESE NOTES TO REMIND YOU THAT ANYTIME SOMEONE GIVES YOU A VERSE, YOU SHOULD GO READ THE WHOLE CHAPTER. WE NOW RETURN TO OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.
In Psalms, we will see a true and sincere love and appreciation for the commandments and instructions of God, referred to as His Law. As we read, I encourage you to remember the love of a Father who takes the time to teach His children how to live their best life.
If it helps you to be able to read this with a malleable heart towards Him, you can replace “law” with the word “instructions” when you see it.
It is my hope that we will all grow to love and appreciate the wisdom of our Father and His generosity in sharing that wisdom.
“For this is the new covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares YHWH: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah 31:33
“You shall therefore love YHWH your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.”
“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus.”
But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Now keep in mind that when the New Testament was being lived out, when Luke, and John and Paul and Jesus were speaking (as demonstrated in some of the above quotes), there was no New Testament. They were teaching from the books we have been studying. So when they spoke of commandments, they were speaking of the books penned by Moses, in which YHWH had given them.
Now consider this: Today, we have a pastor of one of the largest churches in the country writing books and preaching sermons about how Christianity needs to “unhitch” itself from the very part of the Bible Jesus and the apostles taught from.
It is imperative that we look directly to the Word and thereby to YHWH for instruction.
•He teaches us how to live.
•He teaches us how to worship Him.
•He teaches us how to know Him.
As Messiah said:
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”
Now remember all that we’ve just read about what Messiah said the greatest commandment was, about the proper mindset towards YHWH’s instructions, and remember that the greatest commandment is to love YHWH our God with all our heart. I am about to remind you of the words YHWH Himself gave to Moses and you’ll see echoes of all of that in these words as He further expands on how to love Him.
And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live. And the Lord your God will put all these curses on your foes and enemies who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the voice of the Lord and keep all his commandments that I command you today. The Lord your God will make you abundantly prosperous in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your cattle and in the fruit of your ground. For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you, as he took delight in your fathers, when you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that are written in this Book of the Law, when you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
“For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.
“See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Deut 30:6-16
And now we enter into Psalms, where we will read well deserved praise and appreciation for the wisdom and instructions of our Father.
May we fully give our hearts over to His instruction, learning to lean onto His understanding rather than our own and to appreciate the blessing of His loving instruction in our lives.
His ways > Our ways!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!
May YHWH bless the reading of His Word!