A Transcript Of The Video Study
This is the twenty-eighth study in the series, and we are looking once again at the book of Psalms. In our previous study, I pointed out that the book of Psalms has been divided into five sub-books, often called the Five Books of Psalms.
Book 1: Psalms 1-41 (1 hr, 5 min to read)
• Total 41: David (37); Anonymous (4)
Book 2: Psalms 42-72 (51 min to read)
• Total 31: David (18); Asaph (1); Korah (7); Solomon (1); Anonymous (4)
Book 3: Psalms 73-89 (36 min to read)
• Total 17: David (1); Asaph (11); Korah (3); Ethan (1); Heman (1)
Book 4: Psalms 90-106 (31 min to read)
• Total 17: David (2); Moses (1); Anonymous (14)
Book 5: Psalms 107-150 (1 hr, 10 min to read)
• Total 44: David (15); Solomon (1); Anonymous (28)
For this study, we are looking at the second book of Psalms, beginning with Psalm 42 and ending with Psalm 72. It takes 51 minutes to read these Psalms in a single sitting. This is a total of 31 Psalms, eighteen of which are ascribed to David, one to Asaph, seven to the sons of Korah, one to Solomon and four are anonymous.
In preparation for your reading of the second book of Psalms, I would like to say three things about it.
First, the New Testament quotations.
Of the thirty-one Psalms in the second book, the New Testament writers quote from five of them.
Psalm 44—Psalm 44:22 (Romans 8:36)
Psalm 45—Psalm 45:7,8 (Hebrews 1:8,9)
Psalm 51—Psalm 51:6 (Romans 3:4)
Psalm 68—Psalm 68:19 (Ephesians 4:8)
Psalm 69—Psalm 69:10 (Romans 15:3); Psalm 69:10 (John 2:17); Psalm 69:10 (Romans 11:9,10); Psalm 69:26 (Acts 1:20)
The reason I highlight these quotations is because I want you to remember, as you read through the book of Psalms, it is a gospel book. That is why the New Testament writers frequently quote from the Old Testament scriptures. You see, the gospel of the New Testament is the gospel of the Old Testament. There is one gospel, and both Testaments proclaim it. If, therefore, you are to receive the greatest benefit from the Psalms, you mustn’t forget the content of the book is that of the gospel message. If you are not discovering the gospel in the Psalms, then you are not understanding the teachings of the Psalms, which means you will not derive any spiritual benefit from the Psalms.
Second, the characters mentioned.
There are two names recorded in the inspired text of the second book, both found in the last of the thirty-one books and the last verse—Psalm 72:20: “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” David is numbered among God’s elect people, whereas we are not sure into which group Jesse belongs.
Aside from the names recorded in the inspired text, there are more than eleven names mentioned in the inscriptions. Six of them belong to God’s elect people—David, Nathan, Bathsheba, Saul, Solomon and Asaph. We are not certain into which group the other names belong—the sons of Korah, Doeg the Edomite, Ahimelech, Aramnaharaim, Aramzobah and Joab.
These are the only characters mentioned in the second book of Psalms.
Third, the leading message.
As I pointed out in the previous study, the leading message of the book of Psalms is the masterplan of God for the ages. The masterplan of God for the ages is the administration of His grace to the members of the human race. There is a common grace of God unto creation which extends to the elect and the non-elect alike; but then, there is the special grace of God unto salvation which is designed for and extended only to the elect.
Having said that, the book of Psalms emphasizes one particular part of God’s masterplan for the ages—the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. In our previous study, I gave quite a full explanation on what is meant by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit, especially as it relates to the rule of conduct for the believer’s life. The believer’s rule of conduct is nothing other than the gospel law, which is the union of the soul with the Lord Jesus Christ, by virtue of which the life and graces of Christ flow into the soul. In other words, the Gospel Law is a spiritual, living and fruitful union between the soul and Christ, forged by the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit. It is not a mere set of precepts and commandments that one is required to obey.
Now, allow me to give three examples on how the second book of Psalms emphasizes the Gospel Law as the believer’s rule of conduct.
The first example is selected from Psalm 56. David wrote in verse 12: “Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.” The word “vows” refers to promises or commitments. The vows, or promises and commitments of the TriUne Jehovah are upon His elect people. What are these vows or promises? They are the engagements, or commitments, between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit under the terms of the gracious covenant. The Father has engaged to love His people with an everlasting love, and that commitment is binding upon every elect soul. The Son has engaged to redeem His people freely and fully from all their sins, and that commitment is binding upon every elect soul. The Spirit has engaged to sanctify His people effectually by uniting their souls to the Lord Jesus Christ, and that commitment is binding upon every elect soul. Solomon declares in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” And you see, these vows of the TriUne Jehovah which are binding upon all of His elect people is a threefold cord of covenant engagements, securing for the elect all they need for time and eternity. And look, what is result of these covenant engagements in the life and experience of God’s elect people? They will render praise unto the Lord. Praise, spiritual praise, is a fruit of our new nature in Christ, and that is nothing other than the gospel law, or our union with Christ as His praise flows through us. And look carefully at the words—it is not thanksgiving David renders to the Lord, although that is certainly part of his walk with Him according to the Gospel Law; but rather, it is praise he renders to God. Praise, of course, is the magnification of God Himself, rather than the magnification of the work God does for us. You see, the Gospel Law causes us to catch a view of the glory of God in Christ, wherein we magnify Him—we magnify each of the three persons of the Godhead. Isn’t this how Jesus summarized the very essence of eternal life. He prayed to the Father in John 17:3: ”And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” That’s it! That is praising God—magnifying Him, adoring Him, knowing Him, loving Him.
The second example is selected from Psalm 52. David wrote in verses 8,9: “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name; for it is good before thy saints.” A green olive tree—that is a description of the soul united to Christ. David used a similar description in Psalm 1, when he compared the regenerate sinner to a tree planted by the rivers of water. Or, as Jesus describes the regenerate sinner in John 15—as a branch is engrafted to a vine, so is the soul engrafted to Christ. Do you see, that is the Gospel Law. And look, those who have been born again will trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. This reference to the mercy of God is nothing other than the redeeming grace of Christ in redemption. Not only this, but the regenerate sinner will praise the Lord for ever, because He has done the work. That is sovereign grace, my dear friends. It is the Father who elects, the Son who redeems and the Spirit who sanctifies. There is no room for boasting among those chosen, redeemed and regenerated, for it is all the work of God unto salvation. Henceforth, it is good for regenerate sinners to wait on the name of the Lord—for He who does all things for His people, how can we but wait upon Him to bring to pass His purpose in our lives? That is the Gospel Law!
The third example is selected from Psalm 68. David wrote in verses 19,20: “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah. He that is our God is the God of salvation; and unto GOD the Lord belong the issues from death.” Regenerate sinners bless, or praise the Lord, because He bestows upon them an abundance of benefits, or blessings. For He has blessed His people with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, insomuch that by virtue of our spiritual union with Christ, the Father makes Christ all things to the believer—wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Christ is the believer’s all in all. And you see, this God—the TriUne Jehovah—is the author of salvation—He is the God of our salvation; He that is our God is the God of salvation. And look, it is unto the Lord God that belongs the issues from death, simply meaning that whereas death is a necessity because of our sins, yet Christ has conquered and abolished death by the power of His resurrection. He abolished death not only for Himself, but also for each and every one of His elect people. For, when Christ returns, He will raise the bodies from the grave of all His elect people, reuniting their souls to their bodies, and then translating them into glorified and immortal human beings, forever to live with Him on the new earth and in heaven. There will then be no more death, nor will there be any more tears. For at that time, Christ will complete the work of salvation by perfecting His people in body and in soul. They will no longer suffer from the old sinful nature residing in their souls, neither will they suffer the corruption of their bodies. That sinful nature will be eradicated, and the body will be purified and glorified, never to suffer corruption or pain again. And it is for this reason we are willing to suffer the loss of all things in this world, yea, we count them but dung, that we might attain unto the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord. We want to be found in Him, not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, that faith flowing into us from Christ. We press on towards this mark, wanting to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, if by any means we might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Do you see, my dear friends, David believed all of these things, living out his life with God in Christ, under that living union of the Gospel Law, looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Tit 2:13,14)
Well, my dear friends, I leave with you this second book of Psalms, praying the Lord will enable you to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, living out your union with Christ by bearing the fruit of your new nature in Him.
Jared Smith served twenty years as pastor of a Strict and Particular Baptist church in Kensington (London, England). He now serves as an Evangelist in the Philippines, preaching the gospel, organizing churches and training gospel preachers.