Topics for 1/8/2019

On Sunday we considered the structure of the book of Psalms. We emphasized that a grasp of the structure of Psalms can help us understand the broader message of what the book is trying to teach us.  However, individual Psalms can be read, understood, applied, and found beneficial apart from the broader context.

In keeping with this theme, what is a favorite psalm that God has used to teach and encourage you?

As a case study, I want us to consider the prayer of Jonah in Jonah 2.  Jonah has been rescued from drowning, but now resides in the belly of a great fish.  His prayer echoes a number of Psalms from various places in the book.  Choose one of the references to Psalms and answer the following quesitons:

  1. What specifically was Jonah intending to communicate by quoting/paraphrasing this Psalm?
  2. What was the intent of the author of the Psalm (if we are aware)?
  3. What place does the Psalm have in the broader story of the book of Psalms (for help here, see summary of the structure of Psalms below)?
  4. Is there any correlation between any/all of these?

Clicke "Read More" to see the text of Jonah 2 with crossreferences in Psalms as well as the Structure of the Book of Psalms.

Feel free to choose other cross references as you find them.  Suggestions have been provided below:

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,

2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
[Psalm 3:4, 118:5]

3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas,
    and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me.
[Psalm 88:6, 42:7]

4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight;
yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’
[Psalm 31:22]

5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
    the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head
[Psalm 69:1]

6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.

7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.

8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
[Psalm 31:6]

9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
[Psalm 50:14, 3:8]

Summary of Structure of Psalms:

Major Pillars

Chapter 1 -- the Torah is God’s teaching for life.  Those who follow Yahweh are guided by the teachings of the Covenant Lord and their consequence is fulfillment in a life rooted and grounded in the Torah.  The fate of the wicked is the opposite as they forsake God’s teaching in favor of their own counsel.

Chapter 2 - the framework of the Davidic Covenant is seen here as God’s people await the arrival of the promised Messiah King on Zion’s holy hill.  Followers of Yahweh will pay homage to the Son as the true Messiah.

The 5 Books

Book 1 (3-41) - the conflict between the righteous and the wicked as the righteous live by the teaching of the Torah and the wicked continue to forsake it. [Confrontation]

Book 2 (42-72) - the reach of the covenant kingdom extends beyond God’s people to impact all nations in keeping with the redemptive promise of God’s covenant with Abraham. [Communication]

Book 3 (73-89) - the glories of the kingdom are brought low by the covenant unfaithfulness of God’s people. Ruin is brought to the northern and southern kingdoms as God’s people are sent to exile. [Devastation]

Book 4 (90-106) - the trials of exile do not spell the end of God’s people.  Instead the crucible of separation from Zion serves to strengthen the faith of God’s people and remind them that a relationship with Yahweh does not rely on a Temple or city. [Maturation]

Book 5 (107-150) -  the climax of the Psalter comes as God’s people are encouraged to praise God for His faithfulness and hope for the coming of Messiah. [Consummation]

 

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,
2 saying,
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
    and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
    and you heard my voice.
[Psalm 3:4, 118:5]
3 For you cast me into the deep,
    into the heart of the seas,
    and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
    passed over me.
[Psalm 88:6, 42:7]
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
    from your sight;
yet I shall again look
    upon your holy temple.’
[Psalm 31:22]
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
    the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
[Psalm 69:1]
6     at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
    whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
    O Lord my God.
7 When my life was fainting away,
    I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
    into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
    forsake their hope of steadfast love.
[Psalm 31:6]
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
    will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
    Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
[Psalm 50:14, 3:8]

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