The 150 psalms are songs and poems of praise, written about 1,000 years before the time of Jesus Christ. Scholars have determined that of the almost 300 Old Testament quotes that are found in the New Testament, more than 100 come from Psalms, including a number of times that Jesus quoted Psalms.
David is credited with having written about half of the psalms, many being pleas and praises to God which evidence David’s repentant heart after his sins with Bathsheba and Uriah. The Hebrew word selah occurs in 39 of the Psalms, and it is thought to be an instruction related to reading or to music. Many of the psalms were songs with accompaniment; and there are several other Hebrew words in a number of the psalms, also thought to relate to the music.
Psalms 1-2 “The Lord Knoweth the Way of the Righteous”
Psalm 1 is an apt introduction to the collection, describing the stark contrast between those who are godly (verses 2-3, 6) and the ungodly (verses 1, 4-6).
In Psalm 2, we see the first example of a “Messianic psalm,” looking forward to and prophesying of the life and mission of the Savior; see, for example, verses 2, 6-7, 9. What do verses 1-5 say about those who would oppose the Son of God?
To get a sense of David’s humble pleadings before the Lord, you may want to read Psalms 3-7.
Psalm 8 “How Excellent Is Thy Name”
We praise the Lord every week as we sing hymns, and many of the psalms are songs of praise, including Psalm 8. Read this psalm and imagine it being put to majestic music. Do you sing the hymns with a heart of praise, worship, and gratitude?
Psalms 19-33 “The Lord Is My Shepherd”
Read the indicated verses below, then decide if you think the psalm is one of praise, or petition, or prophecy, or worship, or gratitude, or testimony, or any other description (or multiple descriptions). Also, in each of these psalms, choose a verse that has great meaning for you:
- Psalm 19:1, 7-11
- Psalm 20:1-9
- Psalm 21:1-8, 13
- Psalm 22:1-11, 16-19, 28 (this is the most-cited psalm in the New Testament; the verses quoted being verses 1, 7, 8, 18, 22).
- Psalm 23:1-6 (this is likely the best-known psalm, and with good reason). Do you see in your life evidences of what David stated in this psalm? If you were to add another verse to Psalm 23, what would you write?
- Psalm 24:1-8
- Psalm 25:1-22
- Psalm 26:1-8
- Psalm 27:1-4, 7-9, 14
- Psalm 28:1-9
- Psalm 29:1-5, 10-11
- Psalm 30:4-5, 10-12
- Psalm 31:3, 5, 9, 13, 18-19, 23-24
- Psalm 32:1-2, 5, 10-11
- Psalm 33:2-6, 12-14, 20-22
Psalms 40; 46 “I Delight to Do Thy Will”
Psalm 40 begins with a list of glorious blessings David ascribes to the Lord (verses 1-6), then he recites some of his efforts to do God’s will (verses 7-10). David finishes with humble petitions before the Lord (verses 11-17). Which verses seem most personal to you?
What first comes to your mind in response to these three questions: 1) What is a great blessing you have received from the Lord? 2) In what way are you attempting to follow Him more closely? 3) What would you most ask of Him at this time in your life?
- In verse 1, the first words declare, “God is our refuge and strength.” What does “refuge” mean to you?
- Find other things this psalm says about the Lord and things He has done.
- Read verse 10. What does it mean to you to “be still, and know that I am God”?
- How do you become—and remain—“still” before Him?
Additional Inspiration from Psalms
You may also want to read and ponder the following references (which are not included in the Come, Follow Me curriculum):
- Psalm 15:1-3
- Psalm 18:1-2
- Psalm 34:8, 13-15, 18-20
- Psalm 37:1-3, 7, 10-11, 16, 23-24, 35-36
- Psalm 38:4-10, 15, 21-22
- Psalm 41:1, 9
- Psalm 42:11
- Psalm 44:17-18, 22