Dear Reader – After this was posted I noticed that the links to the Bible texts did not contain the chapter headings. You cannot answer some of the questions without seeing those headings.  For that reason I suggest that you use your own hard copy Bible or an electronic copy that includes the headings.  The information in the headings indicates, for example, who wrote the psalm that follows.

Introduction: Do you enjoy praising God? It is one of my
favorite activities! I think back to when I’ve been with a
large number of people who are singing praises to God. What
joy! Then there are the times when I’ve enjoyed some great
victory or success, and it feels good to praise God for the
victory. What about the other times in life, when things
are not going well and you feel discouraged? You need help.
Do you reach out to God then? The book of Psalms contains
the praises of people to God. And it contains requests to
God for help in difficult times. In this sense Psalms is
different than the other books of the Bible. Most Bible
books are a series of stories. Some contain instructions or
warnings. Psalms largely reflects what God’s people are
saying to Him under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s dive into the study of this unique book of the Bible!

I. Examples of Psalms

A. Read Psalms 18:1. What is the context for this
praise? (God delivered David from his enemies.)

B. Read Psalms 18:2-3. If you were in a battle, what
would you need? (David mentions a “fortress,”
“shield,” “stronghold,” and an offensive weapon
for animals, a “horn.”)

1. What point is David making? (Whatever
practical weapon you would need to win a
battle, God is all of that. Of course, God is
even more.)

C. Read Psalms 30:1. What is the context for this
praise? (The dedication of the temple.)

1. What would be a parallel experience in your
life? (Something important that you have
accomplished for God.)

D. Read Psalms 92:1. What is the context for this
praise? (The Sabbath.)

E. Read Psalms 92:4-5. What does this suggest should
be our praises on Sabbath? (We look back over the
week and are grateful for how God has helped us.)

F. Read Psalms 92:6-8. What if your week did not go
that well? What does this suggest should be your
praise? (The stupid people who gave you grief are
doomed. God will make things right.)

1. Let’s step back a moment. Is this what you
normally hear in church? Our enemies are
stupid fools who seem to be winning, but they
are doomed? They will be destroyed and we
praise God for that on the Sabbath. When did
you last hear that in church?

2. It is unlikely that I have been in your
church, but I suspect that you have been
talking about how God loves those who are
making trouble for you, and how you should
pray for them. Are my suspicions right?

G. Read Matthew 5:43-44. How do you reconcile what
is said in Psalms and what Jesus says? What does
this teach us about praise? (Jesus is teaching us
to pray for the lost. David is teaching us to take
comfort (and give praise) over the fact that the
stupid evil people will be destroyed if they do
not turn to God.)

1. Can you do both at the same time?

H. Read Psalms 105:2-5. What is the context for this
Psalms? (As we look around us at the creation, as
we review what God has done for us in the past, we
should praise Him. What confidence and courage are
available to us!)

I. Read Psalms 3:1-2. What terrible event has
happened in King David’s life? (David has been
driven from his palace and his son had claimed
David’s throne.)

1. What do the people say about David? (God has
abandoned him.)

J. Read Psalms 3:4-6. Put yourself in David’s place.
What advantages does he enjoy? (He can seek God’s
help. God answers in this time of terrible stress
and David is able to sleep and live without fear.)

K. Read Psalms 109:1-5. What is the context for this
Psalm? (Those who David loves show hatred toward
him. They lie about him and accuse him of terrible

1. Has this happened to you?

L. Read Psalms 109:6-12. Do these sound like your
prayers? Do you give praises for the terrible
things you hope will happen to your enemies? (A
prominent Christian lawyer told me that before a
hearing he prayed for his opponents to be
confused. I decided to try this in a religious
liberty case in federal court. When my opposing
counsel walked into court he somehow managed to
hit his head on a metal detector and fall down.
He staggered in front of the judge who took pity
on him and told him he could sit down. (I was
thinking I missed something in not praying like
this before.) Because this lawyer was having such
a terrible time, the judge told me to start with
my argument. The judge not only took the injured
lawyer’s side, he invented a new argument for him
and then ruled against me based on this new
argument! On appeal I was not able to get this
reversed. Although my client received a religious
accommodation, I lost an important legal point.
This was my first loss in this kind of case in 30
years! I now stick to the Matthew 5 approach.)

II. Who Wrote the Psalms?

A. Read Matthew 22:42-45. Jesus is quoting Psalms
110:1. Who does Jesus say wrote this Psalm? (King
David. Most of the Psalms are attributed to

B. Read Psalms 50:1. Who wrote this Psalm? (Asaph.
Other Psalms are also attributed to him. John
MacArthur’s commentary tells us that Asaph had
sons who composed a “special Levitical choir.” The
Bible Knowledge Commentary calls Asaph “a leading
Levite musician.” A July 2, 2014, blog by Jeffery
Kranz states that 150 songs are in the Psalms and
he calls Psalms “a songbook.”)

C. Read Psalms 85:1. Who wrote this Psalm? (The sons
of Korah. An October 22, 2020, blog by Melissa
McLaughlin lists eleven Psalms written by the sons
of Korah. These include some of the most memorable
phrases in Psalms.)

D. Read Psalms 90:1. Who wrote this Psalm? (Moses!)

1. What kind of Psalm is this? (It is a prayer.)

E. Read Psalms 31:5. Does this sound familiar? (Read
Luke 23:46. Here we see that Jesus’ last recorded
prayer is taken from Psalms 31:5!)

III. What Makes the Psalms Different?

A. Read 2 Samuel 23:1-2. This text calls King David
the “sweet psalmist of Israel.” Who does David say
is the source of his words? (“The Spirit of the
Lord” who speaks through David.)

1. How then are we to understand the Psalms? They
seem to be spoken to God in that they are
generally songs or prayers. Does God inspire
these songs and prayers to Him?

B. Read Romans 8:26-27. What does this teach us about
the Holy Spirit and our prayers? (The Holy Spirit
not only helps us to know what to pray, but He
intercedes for us with our prayers.)

C. If the Psalms are mostly a series of prayers and
songs directed to God, how should we approach this
series of lessons on the Psalms? (We need to look
at the Psalms as models of what we should pray and
sing to God.)

1. What about my bad experience of praying
against my enemies the way David does? (Not
only should we consider the entire teaching of
the Bible, as with any other subject, but we
need to consider that David (and other
Psalmists) struggled with challenges in life.
Their pleas to God might reflect some defects
in their understanding of God’s will.)

D. Friend, are you ready to take a journey through
the Psalms? Why not commit to continue with this
study of God’s book of Psalms?

IV. Next week: Teach us to Pray.

Copr. 2024, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail,
but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.