The Psalms: Singing of the King

Series Index:

  1. The Psalms: Singing of the King
  2. Covenant: A Strategy for Singing the Psalms
  3. David the King
  4. Yahweh the King
  5. Messiah the King
  6. Summary and Conclusion

Part 1 in a 6 part series. View series intro and index.

Chances are, if you are a Christian, you love the book of Psalms. Probably more than Leviticus or Nahum. We closely identify with its praises, complaints, cries for help, and thanksgivings. Its raw emotion and relentless truth arrests our mind and affections. For good reason it is used in worship services and liturgies around the world. After all, Psalms was the primary book of prayer and praise for the ancient Israelites, as it should be us today. Most of the psalms have direct relevance to our contemporary lives, and it is clear that there is something deep and rich to this marvelous collection–perhaps deeper and richer than we realize. It is less clear, however, that a unifying theme actually exists in Psalms. Perhaps you have simply thought it is a book of 150 random songs about God. Thankfully, this is not the case. Recognizing a unifying theme will not just add information to our brains, but it will greatly help to use Psalms in our individual and corporate worship.

The most important person in ancient Israel was the king. In his prosperity, the people prospered. In his failure, the people failed. In a significant way, more so than any other Old Testament book, Psalms makes this abundantly clear. That is why Israel treasured Psalms! It is a book rife with hymns, laments, praises, and hopes about Israel’s Davidic king and their ultimate King, Yahweh. Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to examine Israel’s theology of kingship in the Psalms by showing how the book celebrates and petitions for Yahweh’s reign over Israel and the nations through the Davidic king (this is my thesis for you fellow nerds out there). Now, if you wanted to punt after hearing “theology of kingship,” hang in there. That simply means that Israel thought about their king in a God-centered (i.e. Yahweh-centered) way. In short, Israel’s “theology of kingship” is this: their national king wasn’t an end in himself; the king’s rule pointed to something greater–the rule of Yahweh himself.

So, here’s where we are going in these posts:

  • I will propose a strategy for how to interpret Psalms as a whole. Namely, I will suggest that we read Psalms through the lens of the Davidic covenant.
  • I will examine various psalms that are often categorized as “royal” and “enthronement” psalms. That means we’ll look at the ones that emphasize David as King and Yahweh as King, respectively.
  • I will examine other so-called royal psalms that point forward to a future Messiah-King, who will bring God’s rule to earth.
  • Then, to wrap it all up, I will synthesize what we find and provide a summary of Israel’s “theology of kingship” in the Psalms.

I hope you’ll stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we journey through this beloved book!