Of all the books of the Bible, none other tops the Hot 100 chart more consistently than Psalms.
The Psalms are inspiring, poignant, prophetic, and personal. They span history, prophecy, and theology in one swoop. They reveal both the height of divine majesty and the depth of human depravity. They’re used for prayer, praise, meditation, and devotion.
But what are they all about?
Four words that summarize the Psalms:
I recently heard this at a conference on the Psalms and it blew me away. There is a noticeable and purposeful progression in the 150 Psalms. They are not a haphazard accumulation of ancient poetry, like an assortment of seashells found here and there in the sand and then strung together for a necklace.
Psalms, like every book in the Bible, has a central thought.
The Psalms firstly reveal Christ in His all-inclusiveness. Luke 24:44 proves that the Psalms have much to say about Christ- “all the things written… in the Psalms concerning Me must be fulfilled.” Psalm 110 alone reveals five aspects of Christ: the King, the Priest, the Warrior, the Victor, and the Drinker.
It’s important to see the revelation concerning Christ because the Christ we see is the Christ we experience. If you don’t know that Christ is your Redeemer, how can you experience redemption? Paul speaks about this in Philippians 3:8-10. First it’s the knowledge of Christ and then it’s to know HIM. This is why we should never stop with keen, doctrinal comprehension. All our knowledge of Christ must lead to experience.
Every true spiritual experience means that we have discovered a certain fact in Christ, and have entered into that; anything that is not from Him in this way is an experience that is going to evaporate very soon.
–Watchman Nee, The Normal Christian Life
When knowledge becomes experience, God begins to get the house He’s been looking for (Isaiah 66:1-2). The house is Christ, but a Christ enlarged through our experience of Him. Step aside Frank Lloyd Wright, this is real organic architecture. Ephesians 2:21 says that the building is growing! This is the growth and enlargement of Christ in us. In John 2:19-20 Jesus describes Himself as the house of God, but in 1 Timothy 3:15 the house of God is the church.
In the a Psalms, the city of Jerusalem signifies the kingdom of God as the enlargement, strengthening, and reality of the church. The church today is intimately related to the kingdom. Romans 14, a chapter on receiving Christians with different doctrinal considerations, indicates that the kingdom of God is present within the church today. Matthew 16:18-19 also closely identifies the church with the kingdom.
The kingdom is the stepping stone for Christ to come back and claim the earth. Christ taught us to pray for His kingdom to come to the earth (Matthew 6:10). Matthew 24:14 indicates that the end will come, aka the Lord will return, once the gospel of the kingdom is preached in the whole earth. Christ ultimately wants His image and authority expressed on the earth. That is where the eternal kingdom will be, not heaven. We may be very interested in heaven, but God is very interested in earth. Each of the five books of the Psalms culminate with Christ recovering the earth (Psalm 24, 72, 89, 93-101, 145). God has subjected the coming inhabited earth to Christ (Heb. 2:5).
Both the house and the city in Psalms typify the church. Thus the church is the bridge between Christ’s two comings. Therefore Christ’s work in this age is intensely focused on the building up the church. The church is what it’s all for.