Why I Love the Book of Psalms

A couple years ago, I was talking with a friend over coffee. She was telling me about her favorite Psalms. She was so enthusiastic as she listed off various reasons why. I sat there wondering if maybe I had judged the book wrong. Other than a select few verses, I thought the book of Psalms was a bit of a bore. I preferred to learn more about the history and grit of the Bible...not poetry.

Challenged by her admiration of the Psalms, I sat down and started reading them. I quickly realized this book may be one of the easiest to relate to in the Bible. There are several that prophecy the Messiah coming and events in his life. You can read more about those here. They are also quoted several times in New Testament scripture. 

What are Psalms?

The book itself contains 150 individual poems called Psalms. Psalms is derived from a Greek word meaning "words accompanying music."  There are multiple categories of Psalms, but they are generally broken down into three types: 
  • Hymns 
  • Lament
  • Thanksgiving
Hymns

These tend to be praise based. As you read them, you may even notice parts of them you have been singing for years from various praise and worship songs. Some examples of hymns are numbers 146-150. 

Lament

These were the Psalms that got to me the most. It can be hard to relate to the Old Testament when you already know how things worked out. I often hear people say, "Why doesn't God take away this pain?" or, "Why are things worse now in the world then they were in biblical times?" 

However, as you read the Psalms of lament, you realize that many had the same questions and thoughts that we do. Their first person accounts of grief and despair remind us that there was severe heartache as various events throughout the Old Testament transpired just as there are now as the world continues to unfold. Psalms 22 and 77 are examples of lament.

Thanksgiving

These are Psalms offering thanks and praise to God for what He has done and what prayers He has answered. One of my favorites in this category is Psalm 30.



Last summer Well Watered Women had a challenge on social media where we all wrote a Psalm out and reflected on it daily. As I took the time to write them, I realized what a blessing these words really are. They remind us to communicate with God. They remind us of our gifts and talents. They remind us to give thanks to Him for what He has done in our life. They remind us to be raw and real with our Creator. There is nothing you can say to scare Him away. If you have questions for Him, ask. We are fully known and accepted by Him. 


What book of the Bible to you relate to most? Which Psalm is your favorite? 

My favorite Psalm of all time is Psalm 34. It says, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." When I read that I am reminded that I don't have to be happy all the time. I don't have to accept everything around me with a smile and shove emotions down just because I'm a "Christian" -- He has space for all of my emotions. All of my fears, trials, and failures. 

-- Cayla


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