01 February 2017: Psalms of Ascent | Doorway to the Psalms

Psalms is a book of 150 chapters and one of its chapters is the longest chapter in the Bible. (Ps 119) 150 poems and songs that are often quoted by biblical characters throughout the bible both Old and New Testament. (Jonah\Jesus)

John Calvin “I have been wont to call this book not inappropriately, an anatomy of all parts of the soul; for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror.” James…mirror

Eugene Petersen “There is no literature in all the world that is more true to life and more honest than Psalms, for here we have warts – and – all religion. Every skeptical thought, every disappointing venture, every pain, every despair that we can face is lived through and integrated into a personal, saving relationship with God – a relationship that also has in it acts of praise, blessing, peace, security, trust and love.

Psalms deals with beneath the surface problems in truth and reality, and as we journey together the expectation for all of us is to help each other to mature.  

Big Picture of the Book of Psalms:

116 Psalms have titles. David is the most common author (a man after God’s own heart-worship in Spirit and Truth.) David (73 titles and the N.T. added David for Ps 2 & Ps 95) Other authors – sons of Korah, Asaph, Solomon, and Moses and some do not identify the author.

The Standard Hebrew Text divides the Psalms into 5 groups. Our “Psalms of Ascent” are part of Book 5: Psalm 120-134 and describe 15 songs of ascent (songs of degrees) are used by pilgrims travelling on their journey to Jerusalem.

According to the Talmud (The collection of ancient rabbinic writings relegating much of Orthodox Judaism) these 15 psalms of ascent somehow developed a connection to the 15 steps of the temple – a “going up” to the next level with God.

Theological Surroundings:

The Temple of God in the City of Jerusalem:

Mount Zion & Zion is mentioned 12 times in the Songs of Ascent. Jerusalem- Israel’s holy city prefigures the heavenly Jerusalem Gal 4:26 the place where through Jesus “the mediator of a new covenant” we gather to worship the Living God. Hebrews 12:22-24 ×

References for Hebrews 12:22

Cross References

Temple: In the OT the temple was the place where God’s faithful presence and forgiving power was “housed.” (Jesus and money changers!)

Jesus replaced the temple, He is Immanuel, the one and only place\personage where God’s saving presence is now found. Through his death, resurrection and ascension we have a perfect and permanent sacrifice (cross) and intercessor for our sins and souls, as well as the gift of the Holy Spirit who dwells within all who worship God in spirit and truth.

Acts7:48   Matt 12:6 \ 24:2  Matt 1:23  Heb 7: 23-28  Eph 2: 13-22  John 4: 23-24

Our Three Approaches to the Psalms of Ascent

The psalm will be printed on the notes with different translations each week.

Read it out loud together

Work it in the teachings – taking physical examples into the spiritual realm

Pray it corporately and individually in prayer time – homework

I am going to finish with the words of Beth Moore whose book “Stepping Up” we will use as a guide line for this course.

“I am expecting nothing less than a new level of relationship and intimacy with God through these psalms. I ask you to settle for nothing less as well. The more we unveil our faces to God and bare our souls to him, expressing what is on our hearts, the safer we’ll feel with him and the closer we’ll draw to Him.” Amen.