David and others compose songs for use in worship. The book of Psalms preserves the lyrics of 150 of them
THE largest book in the Bible is a compilation of sacred songs. The entire book was about 1,000 years in the making. The book of Psalms contains some of the most profound and moving expressions of faith ever put in writing. A wide array of human emotion is represented here, from joy, praise, and thanksgiving to grief, sorrow, and repentance. It is clear that the psalmists had a trusting, intimate relationship with God. Consider some of the themes developed in these lyrical works.
Jehovah is the rightful Sovereign, worthy of worship and praise. “You, whose name is Jehovah, you alone are the Most High over all the earth,” we read at Psalm 83:18. Several psalms praise Jehovah for his works of creation, such as the starry heavens, the wonders of life on earth, and the marvels of the human body. (Psalms 8, 19, 139, 148) Others glorify Jehovah as the God who acts to save and protect those loyal to him. (Psalms 18, 97, 138) Still others exalt him as the God of justice, who brings relief to the oppressed and punishment to the wicked.
Jehovah brings help and comfort to those who love him. Perhaps the most famous psalm is the 23rd, in which David describes Jehovah as a loving Shepherd, who guides, protects, and cares for his sheep. Psalm 65:2 reminds God’s worshippers that Jehovah is the “Hearer of prayer.” Many who have fallen into serious wrongdoing have found great comfort in Psalms 39 and 51, where David puts his repentance over grave errors into heartfelt words and expresses his faith in Jehovah’s forgiveness. Psalm 55:22 contains an exhortation to trust in Jehovah and to put all personal burdens on Him.
Jehovah will change the world through the Kingdom of the Messiah. A number of passages in the Psalms clearly apply to the Messiah, the foretold King. Psalm 2 prophesies that this Ruler will destroy the wicked nations, who oppose him. Psalm 72 reveals that this King will end hunger, injustice, and oppression. According to Psalm 46:9, through the Messiah’s Kingdom, God will end warfare and even destroy all weapons of war. In Psalm 37, we read that the wicked will be done away with, whereas righteous people will live on earth forever, enjoying global peace and harmony.