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Psalms: The Players (repost)

In Proverbs you've got four main players: The King, His Son, and the alternative choices for bride: Wisdom and Folly. (See this sermon for instance).

In Psalms you've also got four players and they're introduced in Psalms 1 and 2.  (I discuss this more in a sermon on Psalms 1 and 2).

(1)   the LORD;

(2)   the Christ, the Blessed Man;

(3)   The Righteous who take refuge in Him; and

(4)   The Wicked who oppose Him.

The subsequent Psalms reveal the interaction of these four groups.

In some, like Psalm 1, the Blessed Man is shown before the LORD and then the righteous and the wicked are contrasted.

In some, like Psalm 2, the righteous complain to the LORD about the wicked and then He reminds them about the Blessed Man, Christ.

In some we have simply the words of Christ.

In others we have the words of the LORD to Christ.

In some we simply have the words of sinners like us taking refuge in Him.

But all of the Psalms are about the inter-relation of these four groups.  And they all work together to speak to us of Christ.


9 thoughts on “Psalms: The Players (repost)

  1. Jeff Spicer

    nice summary. fits well with good story-telling techniques: intro all the characters at the beginning, and develop them to a logical conclusion.

  2. Pingback: When I don’t desire the LORD… the King does [repost] « Christ the Truth

  3. Richard C

    Hi Glen,

    I wonder if I could ask how you understand the Psalms that seem to be the words of the man/King/Christ, but where he talks about his sin. I'm particularly confused about Psalms 32 and 51, but also 119:176 coming after 175 verses of his delight in God's law.

    How do they relate to the four groups you were talking about?

    Thank you for making me think!


  4. Glen

    Hi Richard,
    Good question. I'll add it to a list I'm compiling of questions people ask about how to read the OT. I or someone else will give a lengthier answer, but for now I'll just say...

    1) We've all got to answer the question. Think of Psalm 69 - v4 and 9 are straightforwardly seen as Christ speaking in the NT. And yet, v5 comes in their midst. We've all got to figure out what to do with that! :)

    2) The cross is the place where Christ takes up even the sinfulness of His people and can truly be said to be the speaker of such verses. In fact...

    3) I'd go so far as to say that if Christ doesn't fulfil the sin verses too then He hasn't truly entered into the experience of His people - He hasn't become the true Israelite and therefore can't offer a full salvation.

    4) As for what the OT Israelites would have made of it al... In places like Ps 69:7 the Psalmist says that the guilt for which he suffers is for the LORD's sake. It's a bit like Daniel 9: Cut off for sins, but not his own.

    5) In Psalm 32 and 51 I'm very happy to see these as examples of sinners praying to the Father, taking refuge in the Righteous One. i.e. Though it's David who's speaking he is playing the role of 3) rather than 2).

    So for instance, David prays "Cleanse me with hyssop" - as though the LORD might have a Passover Lamb whose blood would purify him... That sort of thing.

  5. Richard C

    Hi Glen,

    Thank you for that answer.

    I'll keep mulling, and look forward to more!


  6. Glen


    Ecclesiastes - one player - the crummy christ, trapped beneath the powers of sin, wrath, law and death.

    Job - one player - Man. Upright then fallen, suffering then redeemed.

    How do u reckon wisdom literature would go down at a uni mission?

    Job (suffering)

    Psalms (connection with God)

    Proverbs (wise living)

    Ecclesiastes (meaning)

    Song (love)

    Or something???

  7. Dave Bish (@davebish)

    I think it'd go down very well. In fact, if the three I'd done had had enough organisation to allow me the time to do it I'd have done it - but I haven't. I'm also still working out how I'd pull off the talks... !

    But you should do it! Five days that would hit such major issues, it'd be brilliant for the Christians and for their friends..

  8. Pingback: Top 70 Online Resources on the Psalms | HeadHeartHand Blog

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