Thoughts on the Psalms

The Book of Psalms is a collection of meditations, prayers and praises, uttered by various persons under various circumstances all, surely, under the moving of the Holy Spirit. It bears this title, “The Book of Psalms,” by inspired authority (Acts 1:2020For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (Acts 1:20)).
The psalms themselves are commemorative or prophetic or expressive of the present passage of the soul. They have all the variety of confession, supplication and praise; of doctrine, history and prophecy.
The Lord Jesus is seen and heard in them, either personally or mystically. Among them there are some to which we can attach a time and place in the history of the Lord, reading them, therefore, as the utterances of His heart under some given occasion. Such, for instance, is Psalm 22. Others are not so distinct in character, being meditations or experiences more undefined. Not all the psalms are utterances of the Lord Jesus. Psalm 1, for instance, is not His language, but God’s description of the blessed man. Jesus is, I doubt not, in the complete and perfect sense, the One described there.
Though the Psalms are properly spoken of as David’s, others such as Moses and Ezra may have been the penmen of some of them. David’s songs were “the songs of the Lord,” and by them he prophesied according to the mind of the Spirit. His tongue was “the pen of a ready writer.” The Lord, as the Apostle speaks, was “saying in David” (Heb. 4:77Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7)).
These “songs of the Lord” have great moral value in learning prophetic truths through the Psalms. They are not there treated as mere doctrines, but as the varied passions of the soul.
We tend to learn truth as an object by the mind, and then just talk about it. But in the Psalms, truth is delivered in company with the passions of the soul. The Psalms are, if I may so speak, the heart of the Divine Volume. There the affections of the renewed man find their seat and exercise.
Some of the psalms are dialogs between two or more individuals or a soliloquy. Some follow in order as chapters in a book, while others are to be read singly. Thus in reading the Psalms, the spiritual senses need to be exercised, for the mind of God can only be known by the Spirit of God.
J. G. Bellett (adapted from Short Meditations on the Psalms)