DISCOVERY for STUDENTS: Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Psalms

Psalms

Book IV of The Psalms

source for questions

Psalms 90:1 through 106:48

key verse for memorization

“As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children.” (Psalm 103:15-17) 

background

Psalm 90 begins Book IV of the Psalms, which continues through Psalm 106 and includes both the royal praise psalms (95-100) and the historical psalms (104-106), as well as others. This cluster of seventeen psalms is the shortest of the five sections in the Book of Psalms. Collected about two to three hundred years after the first three books, it probably was added during the time when Israel returned to the land under Ezra (458 B.C.) and Nehemiah (445 B.C.). Only seven psalms in the group are titled, and all are anonymous except for Psalm 90 (ascribed to Moses) and Psalms 101 and 103, which were written by David. 

According to its superscription, Psalm 90 — the first psalm in this section — is a prayer of Moses. This makes it the oldest in the entire Book of Psalms, as none of the other psalms were written prior to the time of David. It is the only psalm ascribed to the great leader of Israel who delivered God’s chosen people from bondage in Egypt. Since the psalm is primarily a plea for God to restore the Israelites to favor, it likely was composed as the forty years of wandering in the wilderness came to a close. The psalm emphasizes the brevity of human life, and for that reason, it is often included in funeral programs.

Psalms 93 through 99 are considered by Bible scholars to be prophetic, foretelling some of the works of the coming Messiah. 

According to the Jewish tradition, this fourth book compares to Moses’ fourth book, the Book of Numbers. These psalms frequently highlight Israel’s failure and time spent in the wilderness, echoing the theme of the Book of Numbers. The Book of Numbers deals with Israel’s relationship to other nations, and Book IV also alludes to God’s Kingdom in relation to other nations. The most frequently used name for God in this section is Jehovah (Lord).

questions
  1. In Psalm 90:12, we are admonished to “number our days.” What do you think this phrase means, and what will numbering our days accomplish?
     
  2. Psalm 91 gives many wonderful promises to those who dwell “in the secret place of the most High” (verse 1). Define this secret place in your own words. 
     
  3. Psalm 95:7-11 is a warning not to harden our hearts as the Children of Israel did in the wilderness. How would you describe a hard heart? How can we avoid this condition?
     
  4. There are many ways we can praise and honor God. What method of glorifying God is identified in Psalm 96:3? What are some other ways we can glorify Him? 
     
  5. In Psalm 101, David listed several standards of behavior he wanted to follow in life. What two standards are mentioned in verse 2, and what do you think is the significance of the descriptive word he used in both of them?
     
  6. In this same psalm, why do you think David said in verse 3 that he would set no wicked thing before his eyes? How can we apply this principle in contemporary society where we are bombarded with images that do not align with Christian values? 
     
  7. Psalm 103 is a song of praise to God which has been universally acclaimed for its beauty of expression. While it is apparent that David had experienced God’s goodness personally, the benefits he cites are available to all who fear God and keep His commandments. What specific benefits are mentioned in verses 3-6?
     
  8. Many of the Psalms record words of individuals who cried out to God for help in times of great distress or need. However, in Psalm 105:4, we are told to seek the “face” of the Lord. How does seeking God’s face differ from seeking His help in time of need? 
conclusion

As we come before God with praise for His many benefits, and spend time getting to know Him personally, our desire to live in a manner that pleases Him will grow.
 

 

1. Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Treasury of David,” <http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/ps101.htm> 21 July 2015.