Monday, March 26, 2012

Psalm 46-49 & 91 - Praising through the Psalms

LINK: Psalm 46-49 & 91


BACKGROUND

All of these psalms are undated but associated with Jehoshaphat's victory in 2 Chronicles 17-20. Other scholars associate Psalm 46-48 with the Assyrian invasion in 2 Kings 18:13 - 19:37. 

Psalm 46-49 are believed to have been compiled by King Hezekiah and are attributed to the "sons of Korah" who were a musical Levitical family (Exodus 6:24).  The author(s) of Psalm 91 are unknown. 

Psalm 46

Psalm 46 and 48 are part of the "Songs of Zion" or "Zion hymns":
The “Zion” hymns (46, 48, 76, 84, 87, 122), . . . were part of a ritual reenactment of the great deeds of Yahweh in maintaining Zion as the inviolable centre of his divine presence.  
(Psalms (2012). In Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved March 14, 2012, from Encyclopedia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/481091/Psalms?anchor=ref95948)
It calls us to find refuge in Him no matter what storms are surrounding us and to "cease striving" and know that He is God. The NASB margin says, "Let go, relax."  We need to let go because this psalms promises that He will be exalted among the nations and the earth!  This goes with our story from yesterday where God tells Judah (through Jahaziel) that it is His battle. What a reminder for all of us. As you pray through it, note all the attributes of God in it.

It is also interesting to note that this is the psalm that inspired the hymn, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther. 

Psalm 47

This psalm worships and exalts God as the King of the world. Eventually, all the earth will bow to Him! It is classified as an "enthronement psalm" along with Psalm 93 and 95-99. 

Psalm 48

As mentioned above, this is one of the "Songs of Zion." Mount Zion, the city of the Great King is Jerusalem where the temple was located. This was the center of God's presence in the world. The psalmist offers praise for the city's glory and protection from enemies. 

Jerusalem was not "established forever" because it has been destroyed several times since the writing of this psalm, but it may refer to the prophetic new Jerusalem of Revelation 21. 

Psalm 49

This is a wisdom poem addressed to the "whole realm of human beings" (a translation in the Hebrew of the word "world").  It speaks of the futility of riches, pride, and fame. It is more for instruction than praise. Not sure how this is connected with Jehoshaphat's victory, but it was stuck with this cluster of psalms!

Psalm 91

This one does fit in nicely with Jehoshaphat's victory! God is a protector in the midst of all danger. I love 91:14-16, and it holds special memory of a time where God took me out of a terrible situation and fulfilled all the promises in it!

Take a break from the battles in Kings and Chronicles and soak in these psalms for the next four days! 


REFLECTION 

These are some of my favorite psalms to pray through!!!! I met with a believer recently who did not know what I meant when I asked her if she prayed through Scripture. So, I showed her how.


I once had a friend ask me, “If you were going to die, what would be the most important spiritual discipline that you would want to pass on before you left this world?” I said, “Prayerful meditation through the Scriptures. Meditating and praying responsively back to God.” 

The main reason I said this was because I had seen the change this had made in my own life. Throughout the years of discipling women, I have had women come back to say that this was the one thing that they most appreciated about our time together. A couple of letters from these women to illustrate this point:
Beyond Malibu seems like so long ago [Carol's note: Summer 1986], when you introduced me to a deeper way of seeking and knowing God. Thank you. 5/23/99[Carol's note: I taught her how to pray through psalms] 
I am so thankful for you, Carol. Just about a month ago my husband preached on "praying through scripture" and I can't tell you how many times he and I talked about the way you taught me to pray through a Psalm. He said in his sermon, "There should be less and less of a separation between your Bible reading and your prayer life. They should become increasingly melded together," or something similar. God used you to start me on this, and it has been so valuable to me over the years. It's a discipline to be taught -- thank you for teaching me. 6/19/99

APPLICATION/PRAYER

Over the next four days, pray responsively through each of these Psalms. Do this by reading a verse or two. Then pause to hear God's voice and verbalize your response. Praying Psalms is one of my favorite things to do with another person too. So, gather together with one or many others and pray Scripture each taking turns reading and responding!
Post a Comment