SYLLABUS FOR MEDITATIONS ON PSALMS
|Lesson 1: Introduction to the Book of Psalms|
|Lesson 2: Psalm 8 - The Glory of God and Man's Place in His Creation|
|Lesson 3: Psalm 19 - God Reveals Himself to Man|
|Lessons 4 & 5: Psalm 119 - Excellencies of the Word of God|
|Lesson 6: Psalm 1 - The Way of the Righteous vs. the Way of the ungodly|
|Lesson 7: Psalm 139 - God's Perfect Knowledge of Man|
|Lesson 8: Psalms 6 & 38 - Penitential Psalms|
|Lesson 9: Psalm 51 - Confessing Sin|
|Lesson 10: Psalms 136, 105 & 106 - God's Mercy Endures Forever|
|Lesson 11: Psalm 22 - The Suffering Savior|
|Lesson 12: Psalms 84 & 122 - The House of God|
|Lesson 13: Psalm 49 - Limitations of Riches|
THINGS TO REMEMBER FOR THIS CLASS:
1. For the purposes of this study, the wording of the questions and the Bible quotations are taken
from the New King James version of the Bible.
2. Please read through the lesson sheet and the text before each class. In addition, answer the
questions that are sprinkled throughout each lesson.
3. Keep in mind the theme of each lesson listed in the table above.
LESSON 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK OF PSALMS
The book of Psalms is the largest, and perhaps the most widely read book in the Bible. Its 150
psalms ("songs") cover the period of time from the Creation until the postexilic period (the period
of time after the Israelites were exiled). It has a number of writers. Moses wrote Psalm 90. David
has been given credit for writing almost half of the Psalms and the sons of Korah, Asaph, and
others also wrote a great many. However, a large number of the psalms were written
anonymously (The Open Bible, 1990). Ultimately though, the author of it all is God.
For the Jewish people the Psalms were set to the accompaniment of stringed instruments. The
book contains a great variety of material and was collected over a long period of time. Perhaps
these two factors explain why the book was originally unnamed. The Hebrews called it the Sephir
Tehillim which means "Book of Praises" because almost every psalm contains some praise to
God. The Septuagint version of the Bible uses the greek word Psalmoi, which means "Poems
Sung to the Accompaniment of Musical Instruments." The present day name for the book is the
book of Psalms. Psalms served as a temple hymnbook and devotional guide for the Jewish people
(The Open Bible, 1990).
During Old Testament times the Psalms served several purposes:
(1) They were used in public worship (Psalm 124).
(2) They were used to celebrate military successes or victories (Psalm 18).
(3) They were used to express sorrow while in exile (Psalm 137).
(4) They were used to lament severe illness or mistreatment by enemies (Psalm 38).
(5) They were used to lament one's own sin (Psalm 51).
During New Testament times the Psalms were used for other purposes:
(1) They were used as a songbook (James 5:13).
(2) They were used for instruction (Romans 15:4).
(3) They were used as proof texts (Luke 24:44-45).
In present-day times we still use many of the psalms in our songs, for instruction and for proof
texts. They are also read for the comfort they can give and for the pure pleasure of their poetry.
Please list, in the space below, any other reasons that you can think of that make reading
the Psalms important to us.
When the King James version of the Bible was translated, they did not realize that parallelism
was a characteristic of Hebrew poetry. Therefore, they made no effort to bring out the beauty in it
and often it is unclear. Parallelism is, simply put, the covering of a point several times. Look at
Judges 5:24-27. In these verses the first phrase makes a point and the second phrase repeats the
point but in different words. This type of poetry is repetitious but it makes the point more
dramatically than one short sentence. Read Psalm 82 and write in the space below the number
of times parallelism is used.
Personification is used throughout the Psalms as well. This is a poetic tool in which human
attributes are given to something that is not human. This is especially used when understandable
descriptions of God are needed. Look at Psalm 78:65-66 for an example of this type of poetry.
Traditionally, it is thought that 5 groups or anthologies were collected mostly by David,
Hezekiah, and Ezra at different stages. These groups were eventually combined into one large
book as we have it today. However, many Bible translations still make note of these divisions
which are: Book I (Psalms 1-41), Book II (Psalm 42-72), Book III (Psalm 73-89), Book IV
(Psalm 90-106), Book V (Psalm 107-150) (The Open Bible, 1990). The last psalm in each group
is the closing doxology. A doxology is a hymn or statement praising God.
Small groupings or collections of psalms are also found in the book. There are "Hallelujah
Psalms" such as Psalms 104-106,147-150 which all end with the phrase "Praise ye Jehovah" or
"Praise the Lord." There are "Psalms of Ascents," Psalms 120-134. These may have been sung
(1) while making pilgrimages up to Jerusalem, (2) when the priests were climbing the steps of the
temple, or (3) when the priests were climbing the steps to the altar. The largest group of psalms is
probably the "Psalms of Lament" which were used to express sorrow over such things as sin,
captivity, illness, mistreatment by others, etc. (Notes from Old Testament (OT) Poetry Class, Fall
of 1983, taught by Melvin Curry). These are scattered throughout the book. Write in the space
below what Psalm 137 is lamenting.
There are "Messianic Psalms" which include prophecies about Christ. Psalm 22 is the most
well-known in this group. There are also "Imprecatory Psalms," psalms of vengeance. Look at
Psalm 58 and explain why you think such strong language is used (Notes from OT Poetry
In Old Testament worship musical instruments were commanded by God (2 Chronicles 29:25-28;
Psalm 150). There were all kinds of musical instruments used in their worship (II Samuel 6:5, I
Chronicles 5:12-13, 15:16, 25:1, 3).
They were: (1) wind instruments - trumpets (possibly animal and metal horns), flutes (pipes); (2)
stringed instruments - harp, lutes, psalteries; (3) percussion instruments - tambourines (timbrels),
Does this authorize us to use musical instruments in our worship today? Why or why not?
(please give scriptural reasons for your answers)
THE OLD LAW HAS BEEN REPLACED BY THE NEW LAW
I. The Old Law was temporary (Hebrews 8:13; Jeremiah 31:31-34). Christ came not only to fulfill
the Law (Matthew 5:17-18) but to annul it also (Hebrews 10:9-10; 7:17-19).
A. The ministration of death, written and engraven in stones (Ten Commandments), was done
away and the ministration of righteousness (gospel) remains (2 Corinthians 3:7-11).
B. We have been delivered from the law (Old Law) and now serve the newness of the Spirit (New
Law) (Romans 7:6).
C. The law was added because of transgression until the Seed (Christ) should come (Galatians
3:19). It was our tutor until faith (gospel) came, then we are no longer under a tutor (Old Law)
D. Jesus abolished the law of commandments (Old Testament) through His death on the cross
(Ephesians 2:14-16) and became Mediator of the new covenant (New Testament) (Hebrews
9:15-16). He nailed the handwriting of requirements (Old Testament) to the cross (Colossians
II. The Old Law was faulty (or limited) and temporary (Hebrews 8:6-13). It was weak through the flesh (Romans 8:3-4).
A. It could not give righteousness (Galatians 2:21).
B. It could not give life (Galatians 3:21).
C. It could not give perfection (a right relationship with God) (Hebrews 7:19).
D. It was unbearable to those under it (Acts 15:10).
E. It created enmity rather than peace (Ephesians 2:14-15).
F. It was against, contrary to, those under it (Colossians 2:14).
LESSON 2: PSALM 8 - THE GLORY OF GOD AND MAN'S PLACE IN HIS
This psalm should be an awe-inspiring one for us. It begins and ends with the same message, "O
Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth." Truly, when we think about who
God is with all His majesty and might, it should leave us humbled and silenced. Notice the
exclamation marks at the end of the first and last sentences in the chapter. David is proclaiming
his admiration with great feeling for our Lord, whose glory is above the heavens. Heaven and
earth cannot contain His excellency. And yet, His strength can be clearly heard in the speech of
young children (prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 21:15-16). The contrast between these two things
shows the scope of God's glory.
The body of the psalm is contained in vss. 3-8. These verses lay out where man's place is in the
creation. When the writer looks up at the night sky and views the moon and the stars, what
question does he ask?
Using the information found in vss. 5-8, fill in the diagram below with the order of God's
|______ and ______||_______________||______ and ______|
The diagram above shows that God has given man a very special place in His creation. We have
been crowned with glory and honor, and have been given dominion over the works of God's
hands. When compared with the vastness of the universe, we are mere specks. Yet, God sees fit
to bless us with a special position of dominance on this earth which He originally established with
Adam (Genesis 1:28-30). Knowing these things should make us desire to give our all to God -
our reverence, our awe, our worship- just as David did!
In many of the psalms you may find a double meaning. Vss. 4-6 are an example of this. They lay
out general principles which apply to all mankind, but they are also a prophesy. This text is quoted
in the New Testament in Hebrews 2:6-8. Refer to this text and the surrounding verses to find
out who fulfills this prophecy.
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. Read Psalm 33:6-9 and 148. What should be our reaction to His creation?
2. List any personal applications that you found in this study.
LESSON 3: PSALM 19 - GOD REVEALS HIMSELF TO MAN
Psalm 19 speaks to us about how God reveals Himself to mankind. In the first half of the psalm
(vss. 1-6), David writes that God reveals Himself to us through the natural world around us. His
Creation speaks to man in a universal language that all can understand (Job 12:7-9). None can
deny the existence of nature itself and can only miss its message if they refuse to see it (Romans
1:19-20; 2 Peter 3:5-7). The creation speaks without a sound using a silent, yet eloquent,
language that only God could conceive (vs. 4 is quoted by Paul in Romans 10:18-20). Its beauty
and power point to a glorious Maker. Vss. 4-6 concentrate on one aspect of creation - the sun -
which shows the handiwork and power of God. How is the sun personified in these verses?
In the second half of the psalm (vss. 7-11), we are told that God also makes Himself and His
wishes known to us through His Word. A description of His Word is given in detail. It is broken
down into its different aspects and its benefits are explained to us. David says that God's
judgments are more desirable than much fine gold and sweeter (pleasant to consume) than honey
and the honeycomb. These were objects of great value in his day.
The answers to the next three questions will be listings of various things. When listing them,
please meditate on what their meanings might be. The answers will be found in vss. 7-11.
List 5 terms that describe the Word of God.
List 6 adjectives (e.g., descriptive terms) which are used to describe the Word of God.
List 6 things the Word of God will do for man.
The last 3 verses in the psalm are an acknowledgment of the writer's faith in God and the need for
His help. David asks the Lord for cleansing and for help in avoiding presumptuous sins. See if
you can determine what a "presumptuous sin" is.
Then he makes known his wishes that God will find his words and his thoughts acceptable to Him.
What a wonderful way to end one of the most beautiful and moving chapters in the Bible.
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTION:
1. If God is Creator, what must I do?
LESSONS 4 & 5: PSALM 119 - EXCELLENCIES OF THE WORD OF GOD
Psalm 119 is the longest psalm in the Book of Psalms, having 176 verses. It's style of poetry is
very unique; it is an Alphabetic Acrostic. It is divided into sections of 8 verses each. Each verse in
a section begins with the same letter of the Hebrew alphabet. There are 22 letters in the alphabet
and they are all used in alphabetical order in this psalm. The chapter is written as a perfect
This psalm's author is unknown. This, however, has no bearing on its importance in applying it to our lives. It deals with what man's attitude should be toward the Word of God. This attitude was touched upon in Psalm 1, but Psalm 119 goes into much more detail about it. Vs. 9 specifically mentions the young and how God's Word should guide their lives. Read through Psalm 119. As you read, write down as many synonyms or phrases as you can find which describe God's Word.
1. Strong desire to learn (vs. 2, 18, 131)
2. Deep respect for God's law (vss. 38, 127-128)
3. Willingness to accept all God says on a given subject (vs. 160)
4. Meditate on the Word (vss. 15, 97)
5. Tell others about the Word (teach) (vs. 46, 172)
6. Delight in the Word [positive attitude toward (vs. 47-48, 70, 77, 97, 140, 174)]
From the selected verses list some things that God's law can do for you?
1. (vs. 9)
2. (vs. 24)
3. (vs. 25, 88)
4. (vs. 28)
5. (vs. 42)
6. (vs. 48)
7. (vs. 49, 74, 81)
8. (vs. 50, 52, 76)
9. (vs. 52-56)
10. (vs. 66)
11. (vs. 93)
12. (vs. 98-100, 104)
13. (vs. 120)
14. (vs. 125, 130)
15. (vs. 133)
16. (vs. 165)
17. (vs. 170)
Over and over in this psalm, the writer points out how he can overcome persecution and
temptation by meditating on and applying God's Word (Psalm 119:49-51, 81-88). The New
Testament points this out as well. Hebrews 4:12 refers to the Word as a two-edged sword and
Ephesians 6:17 refers to it as the sword of the Spirit in the context of spiritual armor being used
to fight against the wiles of the devil. Our greatest example of this is Jesus Christ. In the account
in Matthew 4:1-11 of His being tempted by the devil, He needed only to quote scripture to defend
Himself against Satan's trickery. We, too, need to rely on God's Word for our protection from
temptation. We also need to use it as our comfort when our enemies seem to have the upper hand
(vs. 50). We can be victorious in the end with Jesus Christ (the Word of God) (John 1:1-5,
Revelation 19:11-16). See the charts below that illustrate the power in God's Word!
|THE WORD OF GOD|
Holy Spirit to reveal all Truth
Jn. 16:12-14, Eph. 3:1-5
Miracles to confirm
II Cor. 12:12
IN MEN & EPISTLE
Holy Spirit directed
II Pet. 1:16-21
SPOKEN and WRITTEN
II Thes. 2:15
I Cor. 13:8-13
|IN THE BIBLE
Faith once delivered
Heb. 2:1-4, Mk. 16:20
Miracles no longer
All now Written Jn. 20:30-31
II Tim. 3:16-17
|I. THE POWER OF THE WORD|
|A. The WORD Created All||Genesis 1, Psalm 33:6-9, Hebrews 11:3|
|B. Jesus the WORD||John 1:1-14|
|C. Jesus Overcame Satan with the WORD||Matthew 4:3-11|
|D. The Holy Spirit guides through the Word||John 14:15-18, 1 Cor. 13:10, Jude 3,
2 Tim. 3:16-17
|E. Now Christians have the WORD!||Romans 1:16, Ephesians 6:17-18, Hebrews 4:11-13|
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTION:
1. If the Word of God is very important, how can we increase in our knowledge and use of
2. List any personal applications that you found in this study.
LESSON 6: PSALM 1 - THE WAY OF THE RIGHTEOUS VS. THE WAY OF THE
This psalm is an appropriate beginning of the book because it goes right to the heart of how God
views man with regard to His Word. It outlines God's attitude toward the righteous and the
ungodly, and it spells out the importance of our attitude toward the Word of God. The path that
our life takes is ultimately decided by our attitude about God's law. Will we scoff at God's law or
will we delight and meditate on it?
Verse 1 illustrates with word pictures the progression (or digression) of sin.
THE PROGRESSION (OR DIGRESSION) OF SIN
|"walks" > counsel (advice) of the wicked (Psalm 119:24)|
|"stands" > way or path (behavior) of sinners (Matthew 7:13-14)|
|"sits" > seat (group action) of scoffers (Jeremiah 15:17)|
1. Verse 2 says that the "blessed" man's delight is in the law of the Lord. Please explain
what you think it means to "delight" in the Word.
2. Verse 2 also indicates that the righteous man meditates on the law of the Lord. What
does it mean to meditate?
3. What is the righteous man compared to in this chapter?
4. What are the ungodly compared to?
5. Using Matt. 7:21-23 as a reference, please explain what verse 6 means?
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. What are the results of continually meditating on the Word of God (vs. 3)? Also refer to
Psa. 49:3; Josh. 1:8; Phil. 4:8-9; I Tim. 4:15.
2. Note any other personal applications you discovered from this lesson.
LESSON 7: PSALM 139 - GOD'S PERFECT KNOWLEDGE OF MAN
This psalm should be a very humbling one for anyone who reads it. Awe and fear should strike
our hearts when we read it with real understanding. It reveals in no uncertain terms that God is
omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipresent (ever present, everywhere). The first six verses of
the chapter deal with God's omniscience. Please read through the Psalm, the lesson sheet, and
answer questions 1-11 and list your personnel applications.
1. What does God know about us that shows His omniscience? (verses 1-4)
2. What does David say about this kind of knowledge? (verse 6)
Verses 7-12 deal with God's omnipresence. David asks the questions, "Where can I go from Your
Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?" He then proceeds to talk about various places
he could go to try to escape God. 3. Please make a list of these places.
4. What conclusion does David come to about this?
In verses 13-16 the writer meditates on his conception and the wonder of it. 5. Whom does he
credit with his creation in the womb?
In verse 14 he praises God for this. How often will we look at a piece of art, jewelry, or craft and
marvel at the artist's ability to produce such a work. How much more should we marvel at the
artistry and complexity of our own body and soul, and give praise to our Creator. David knew
very well the awesomeness of his very existence and the One who was responsible for it. He
points out that God knew of him when he was made in secret, when his substance was yet
unformed. This may refer to the time of, or shortly after, conception when the fetus does not have
a body with distinguishable body parts like arms, legs, face, etc. 6. Refer to verse 16 to see what
other fact about a person's life God knows even before they are born.
7. From verses 13-16, can we determine when a human's life begins insofar God is
concerned? If so, when?
After David contemplates all these things about God - His perfect knowledge, His presence, and
His role in the creation of life - he is humbled. He says that God's thoughts are precious to him
and great in number. 8. What does he compare them to in number?
The last line of verse 18 says "When I awake, I am still with You." David gains from His
meditation about God a desire to be with God. When he wakes up in the morning, he begins his
day with God. Often we end our day with a prayer that God be with us through the night. Should
we not also begin our day praying for God's help and presence in our daily activities. Notice also
that David says he is with God, not that God is with him. I think this is because he knows God is
always with the righteous and his relationship with God can only be broken by him (David).
David asks God, in verses 19-22, to come to his aid against his enemies. When our enemies
(whether people or temptations) rise up against us, who better to have on our side than God? "If
God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) David wants God's help against his hated
enemies. 9. Why does he count them as his enemies?
Finally, David ends the chapter in verses 23-24, asking God to search his heart and to try him.
Can we, with such confidence, ask God to search us and know us and to root out any wickedness
that He might find there? After this request, David asks God to lead him in the way everlasting. In
order for God to lead us to heaven, we must also have our hearts searched and our spirits tried.
10. How does God search our hearts? (Heb. 4:12-13)
11. How are we tried? (James 1:2-3; I Pet. 1:6-9; 4:12-19)
PLEASE LIST ANY PERSONAL APPLICATIONS YOU FOUND IN YOUR STUDY OF
LESSON 8: PSALM 6 & 38 - PENITENTIAL PSALMS
Psalm 6 is a prayer to God for mercy in time of trouble. David is under a great deal of stress or
distress. Please read the psalm in its entirety and then answer the following questions from vss.
1. How deeply did David's distresses affect him?
2. What 3 requests did David make of the Lord?
3. What question did David ask God?
In vss. 4-5 David asks the Lord to "return" and "deliver" him. He makes this request using two
lines of reasoning. (1) The first is "Oh, save me for Your mercies' sake!" He appeals to God as a
God of mercy to save him. He says, "Help me, because it is in Your nature to do so." (2) The
second points out to God that if he dies, he can no longer remind others of God ("in death, there
is no remembrance of You"), and, he can no longer give God praise ("in the grave who will give
In vss. 6-7 he explains how this time of trouble has affected him physically.
4. How does he show his grief?
David's tone changes in the last three verses of the chapter. After pouring his heart out to God, he
says that he knows that God has heard him and will deliver him from the abuse at the hand of his
5. In what 3 ways does David entreat God?
Psalm 38 is a prayer of David during a time of chastening. It is very similar to Psalm 6 in its
content. Please read Psalm 38 and notice any similarities between it and Psalm 6. In Psalm 38
David is again stricken with severe grief and physical illnesses. He is in a miserable condition -
sick at heart and sick in body.
6. What does David admit in this psalm is the source of his trouble(vss. 5, 18)?
7. From reading this psalm can we conclude that sin and a guilty conscience can result in
physical ailments? Are these two things always the reasons why a person may become sick
When a person is undergoing tribulation and troubles in this life, people around him/her will
8. In David's case, how did the people around him react to his situation (vss. 11-12)?
9. What was David's response to their actions (vss. 13-14)?
Again, during this bleak period in his life, David turns to God in prayer. And once again, he gives reasons why he feels that God should answer his prayer for help. Let's look at these reasons. They are:
1. God is his only hope to save him (vs. 15).
2. He is afraid he will collapse (fall) under the strain (vss.16-17).
3. He is now openly sorry for his sin (vs. 18).
4. His enemies have rendered him evil for good (This makes them God's enemies.) (vss. 19-20).
The two final verses are a cry for God not to forsake him and to come to his aid quickly. Notice
that David has not forsaken God during these times of chastening (discipline). He has been
brought to repentance by them. He feels that God may forsake him. This is only David's feeling,
however, and not reality. God does not forsake man; man forsakes God. There is an old saying
which says, "When the Lord seems far away, guess who moved?"
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTION:
1. Has there ever been a period when you have felt you were under great stress? How does
David's Psalm help with those situations in life?
LIST OTHER PERSONAL THOUGHTS YOU FOUND IN THE LESSON MATERIAL
LESSON 9: PSALM 51 - CONFESSING SIN
Psalm 51 is in the group of psalms called "Psalms of Laments." This entire psalm uses parallelism
to convey its message of penitence to God. Take notice of this as you read through Psalm 51. The
psalm is not only a private confession of sin to God; it is a public confession as well. Notice that it
is addressed to the Chief Musician. This indicates that it would have been sung publicly. David
wanted all the people to know that what he had done was wrong and that he was sorry for it.
1. See if you can determine the circumstances under which David wrote Psalm 51.
David, in confessing his sin(s) and asking for forgiveness, first throws himself on the mercy of
God. Answer the following 3 questions by referring to vss. 1-2.
2. List and define the 3 terms used to describe David's wrongdoing.
3. List and define the 3 attitudes David wants God to have toward him.
4. List the 3 terms or phrases that David uses to describe forgiveness.
In vss. 3-4 of Psalm 51 the writer acknowledges that he has sinned. Most importantly he admits
that his sin is against God; the evil deed done was against God only. Anytime one sins, he violates
God's law and is in opposition to Him. The sin may hurt others also, but it is sin because it breaks
Many denominations use vss. 5-6 to teach that man is born in sin (that children are born having
sin because they inherited it from their parents). This, of course, is a false doctrine and can be
refuted by using the following verses: Ezekiel 18:4,19-20, Revelation 20:12-13. Each person
bears the guilt of his own sins; he does not bear the guilt of his father's sins. David is merely
acknowledging that, as a fleshly man, he was born into a sinful world. He, like Paul, was in a
constant battle with his fleshly side which led him to sin (Romans 7:24-25, 1 Corinthians 9:27).
Sin entered the world through Adam (Romans 5:12,19) and has been man's "thorn in his side"
Consider also that if babies inherit the sins of their mother, Jesus Christ would have been born
with sin. This would have prevented Him from being our perfect sacrifice.
Using parallelism in vss. 7-9 David again calls upon the Lord for forgiveness. He is so ashamed
of his sin that he can't bear to have God see it, "Hide Your face from my sins." And yet, he knows
that God has already seen it (vs. 4). We need to realize that God sees all, even our secret sins. We
need to confess these to God and try not to ignore them. Just because others haven't found out
about a sin doesn't mean that repentance and confession to God is not necessary. We need to take
any sin seriously because the eternal consequences for all sins are the same.
5. In vss. 10&12 what 4 things does David ask God to do for him?
6. What 2 things does he beg God not to do to him (vs. 11)?
In the verses that follow, David promises God that if He will forgive him, he will (1) teach sinners
about Him and (2) praise Him publicly. David realizes, however, that these righteous deeds
(sacrifice and burnt offering) are not what God desires in order to grant him forgiveness.
7. What does David say that God wants as sacrifices?
David ends the psalm by invoking God's blessings on Jerusalem. He does not ask this for selfish
reasons, but asks God to bless Jerusalem so that worship of Him can continue. This is not only for
David's benefit but for all the people in his kingdom.
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. List the advantages of making a confession about a specific sin versus a general confession of
2. Provide any personal observations or lessons learned from your study of Psalm 51.
LESSON 10: PSALMS 136, 105 & 106 - GOD'S MERCY ENDURES FOREVER!
It is believed that Psalm 136, although not addressed to the Chief Musician, was used in public
worship. Some think it was a sort of chant in which the first line of each verse would be read or
sung to the assembly, and the second line would be chanted or sung back by the people
(Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, page 566). The assembly would repeat the same phrase
over and over again in response to the wonderful things God had done for them. This phrase was,
"For His mercy endures forever." (The word "endures" was added by the translators to clarify the
meaning.) Psalm 136 is a psalm of thanksgiving for God's actions toward Israel, but especially for
the enduring mercy that He had shown to them! 1. What does the term endure mean?
2. What is mercy?
Please read through Psalm 136. In vss. 1-3, general thanksgiving is given to the God of gods
and Lord of lords. 3. In vss. 4-9 what is the reason given for praising God?
4. In Psalm 136:10-16 what reason is given for the Israelites to praise God?
5. From Psalm 136:17-22 why should the Israelites be thankful to God?
Psalm 136:23-26 return to general praise for God's remembering them when they were slaves, for
rescuing them and for sustaining them. God has also shown us, as Christians, His enduring mercy.
6. Because of this, what are some things that we can praise Him for?
Psalm 136 gives a brief history of how God created the earth and how, through His mercy, He
placed Israel in their present position among mankind. Some other psalms that illustrate Israel's
ancestry and history are Psalms 105 and 106 (Please read these psalms!). In these psalms the
writer(s) points out God's faithfulness and enduring mercy to these people who began in lowly
circumstances and who often rebelled against God. Yet, despite their sinfulness, God blessed them
and fulfilled His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the whole Israelite nation.
7. Psalms 105 and 106 end with what phrase?
8. How do verses 44-46 of Psalm 106 show the vast mercy of our Father?
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTION:
1. Give one New Testament verse that shows the importance of God's mercy?
LESSON 11: PSALM 22 - THE SUFFERING SAVIOR
Psalm 22 is a prophetic psalm of Christ's suffering and crucifixion. Another well-known prophecy
about the life and crucifixion of Christ is found in Isaiah 53 (Please read). These prophecies are
written from different perspectives. Isaiah 53 is written from the perspective of the onlookers,
those of us who are looking up at our Savior hanging on the cross. Psalm 22, on the other hand, is
written from Christ's perspective as He hangs upon the cross looking down upon his persecutors.
The psalm gives us an inside look at the inner feelings and emotions of our Lord during that awful
occasion. We see and hear His cries of pain and praise. When you read with this in mind, the
psalm takes on a special meaning (Please read Psalm 22). Please, also keep in mind that this
psalm has a direct application to feelings that David was having during times of torment and
suffering in his life.
In Jesus' greatest hour of trial He turns to God, His Father, in prayer. The first line of the psalm,
"My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?", is quoted in Matt. 27:46 and Mark 15:34.
1. At what point during His suffering does Jesus say these words?
2. Why do you think that Jesus said these words?
We see a contrast between vss. 1-2 and vss. 3-5. From the despair we see in the first two verses,
David moves to words of praise and trust for His Father. He gains strength from the knowledge
that God has a history of delivering those who trust in Him and those who are not ashamed.
In vss. 6-9 Christ (and David) expresses His feelings about the people's attitude toward Him.
3. How did most of the people regard Jesus during this time of suffering? (also see Matthew
26:56, Mark 14:50)
Again Jesus (and David) turns to God with hope and trust in vss. 9-11. He acknowledges that the
Father is the only one who can help Him; there is no other to help. We too, should never feel like
we have to handle anything alone. As long as we trust in God, He will be there to help us through
4. List New Testament verses that show God is always with us or near us.
As Jesus (and David) looked upon His persecutors, we get a taste of the feeling of helplessness
that He must have had. He compares them to bulls that have surrounded Him. There will be no
escape from their "goring" and "maiming" of Him. He also compares them to a lion - panting
(mouth open), roaring and raging for His blood. He feels their hatred and lust to devour Him.
Vss. 14-15 move on to Christ's (and David's) physical condition during this time. He is totally
spent and physically drained. Remember that He has spent the night in fervent prayer and being
unjustly dragged before various courts. He was questioned, mocked, scourged and then crucified.
The prophecy mentions that His "bones were out of joint". This may refer to literal dislocation of
His bones or to the extreme pain He must have endured. Finally, the psalm speaks of the extreme
fever and dehydration which has overcome His body.
5. In verse 16 how does Christ describe His crucifiers?
In vss. 19-21 Jesus (and David) turns back to God for strength and deliverance. Through all His
pain, suffering, and loneliness He has repeatedly turned to His Father in prayer. He did not turn
against God because He knew it was God's will (see Matthew 26:39-46) to endure the suffering.
6. What are the last 4 words in verse 21?
Because God has heard His prayer, Christ (and David) praises God in vss. 22-31. He calls upon
all people to praise Him. A prophecy is made that the following generations will serve and praise
God and declare His righteousness because "He has done this." Christ's sacrifice would bring
salvation to all.
7. From Psalm 22, list how many prophecies are directly fulfilled in the New Testament?
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS:
1. To whom can we look and receive strength, when we have troubles, from the example of
our enduring Savior?
2. In what ways can we endure suffering like Him and for Him? (also see Colossians 3:17,
Galatians 2:20, and I Peter 2:11-4:19).
LESSON 12: PSALMS 84 & 122 - THE HOUSE OF GOD
Psalm 84 is written by the sons of Korah to express how blessed we are if we dwell in the Lord's
house. Vss. 1-2 show how strongly we should feel about being close to God.
1. From the context, where does the writer(s) desire to be?
2. How badly does he want to be near God?
In verses 3-4 birds in their nests are compared with men dwelling in the house of God. The
implication can be made that when we are in the house of God, we are home.
3. What and where is the house of God today? (Give scripture references)
Vss. 5-7 mention a man who is on a pilgrimage.
4. From where does he get his strength during this pilgrimage?
5. Where is the destination of his pilgrimage?
6. Where is our destination to be (Heb. 12:22-23)?
Verses 8-12 of the psalm entreat God to please hear him and look upon him, because God is
everything to him.
7. For those who walk uprightly God bestows rich blessings. What are they?
8. Ultimately, what is required of one to be blessed by God?
Psalm 122 is one the "Psalms of Ascents". As pointed out in lesson 1, these psalms were probably
sung while traveling up to worship at Jerusalem or while the priests were ascending stairs to carry
out acts of worship. In general, these are positive and uplifting psalms (Notes from Old Testament
(OT) Poetry Class, Fall of 1983, taught by Melvin Curry). We will study this particular one to
help us gain an understanding of what our attitude toward worship in the house of the Lord
should be. Please read Psalm 122.
David went up to the house of the Lord in Jerusalem to worship.
9. Is there a particular place or house where we are to worship? (Matt. 18:20; John
4:20-24, Acts 16:13-14)
10. What attitude did David have when he went up to worship?
11. Please define worship.
12. Why did he go to worship? (vs. 4)
13. What was part of his worship? (vs. 6)
14. For what and for whom did he pray?
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTION: Name some thing(s) that you can do to improve
your private and congregational worship to God.
LESSON 13: PSALM 49 - LIMITATIONS OF RICHES
Please read Psalm 49. The first 4 verses of Psalm 49 introduce us to the who, what and why of
1. Who wrote this psalm?
2. To whom is the psalm written?
3. This psalm is written in the form of a and a (vs.4)
At first reading vs. 5 seems to be out of place in this psalm. Upon closer examination it seems to
make sense that this verse is simply here to show a contrast to the verses that follow. The big
question in the chapter is, "In what do I put my trust?" Is it in God? Then what do I have to fear?
(Ps. 23:4). Or, as vs. 6 states, is my trust in wealth? You must choose where your trust will be
placed. You cannot trust in both (Matt. 6:24).
The rest of the psalm outlines the limitations of riches. We are told the things that riches can and
4. From vss. 7-9 what are we told that riches cannot do?
5. Who can redeem our soul? (vs. 15; Gal. 3:13)
6. With what does He redeem us? (I Pet. 1:18-19)
In vss. 10-12 the writers show us that riches will not prevent us from dying. All die, whether they
are wise or fools, rich or poor. We die even when things are going well for us financially. Just like
the animals, death comes to everyone. If we die in a state of "honor," our riches cannot go to the
grave with us.
7. In vs. 13, what is the person called who believes that his possessions will remain forever?
Death will have victory over this sort of person, but the wise man will be delivered from the
power of the grave and received by God (Hosea 13:14; I Cor. 15:54-57).
Vss. 16-18 point out that earthly riches are not totally without blessings, but the wealth, and its
blessings are temporary (Prov. 23:4-5).
8. Using vss. 16-18, what two blessings come from having riches.
The psalm ends with vss. 19-20 telling us another thing that riches cannot provide for us
-understanding. Having riches will not make us any smarter or wiser than if we don't have riches.
Of course, riches may buy you an education but they cannot buy true wisdom or understanding.
9. Where do wisdom and understanding come from (Prov. 2:6; Ps.119:169)?
PERSONAL APPLICATION QUESTION: What does 1 Timothy 6:6-19 teach you about riches and wealth?