Jesus In The Wisdom Books (Psalms/Proverbs/Ecclesiastes/Song of Songs)
Facilitated by Pastor Joedy
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
It’s just timely that we pull up a verse from the New Testament to validate how we ought to go back to books like the Psalms, if only to admonish each other, and to teach one another.
“Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ “Ephesians 5:19-20
The Psalms are a good source of revelation, which would lead us to worshipping – indeed, with thankfulness in our hearts towards out God. Until today, even if these Psalms were part of the Old Testament, they ought to be used by us today.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
Apparently, we may have our rich sources – a hundred and fifty Psalms in all – but what’s wonderful is that even with this wealth of creative prose to glorify God, we are given the opportunity to sing out of our own hearts – and we shouldn’t be surprised if these songs are new compositions and writings… And as we do sing out of the abundance of our hearts, those who would mock us at first for being fanatics and all sorts of other terms, they would also taste and see that the Lord is good.
The Psalms show Who God is, and what He has done; It is God and man’s interaction and His gracious intervention in a believer’s life. This was the Truth being communicated – Yes, the Psalms would testify of God’s power and goodness even before Christ was born, and even before all that Christ has done. This, therefore, ought to be a bigger reason for us to go into the Psalms, because not only do we see His goodness and greatness, but we see it manifested in the lens of Christ and His finished work. It’s always so new. Just as God truly makes all things new, so the realizations of grace point us to new revelations, even if we read the Psalms again and again.
Through the notable Authors of the Psalms (David, Asaph, Heman, Sons of Korah, Ethan, Moses, Solomon – however, 50 were anonymous) we see some aspects of God:
- We see God and His nature in Psalms like Psalm 23 and 145.
- We see Man’s plight, sentiments, complaints, questions, praise, prayer and worship in Psalms like Psalm 5, 13, 27, 51, and Psalm 100. And from this we are much more confident to just be real with God – better to complain to a God who actually responds, instead of anything and anyone in this world that would turn what we say into much more of a liability… our complaints are actually assets to God!
- We see Faith and its blessings in Psalm 20 and 32. We see some of David’s prophetic anointing in his exhortations of God’s works and salvation – We see some early mentions of Christ in Psalm 22, 108 and 144.
- We read of God’s promises in Psalm 91, and on Psalm 119. We celebrate and sing of God’s goodness in Psalm 40, as well as Psalm 150.
Take note that these Psalms were written in different times, and to different generations. That’s one reason why we couldn’t stop coming back to the Psalms because they do resonate to us no matter what seasons we may go through.
We can divide the Psalms into three ‘divisions’: The first ‘Division’ is of Jesus and God’s blessings. We see Jesus as our Creator and Savior, and we see how our lives are certainly blessed with Him. He knows all we know about us and He loves us still, ever so dearly.
In Psalm 1:1-2 we’re called to walk with Him – He is the living Word in whom we meditate, and in whom we delight in. In Psalm 8:4-6 we are called to reign with him – we’re brought to remember how we are crowned with glory and honor. In Psalm 27:4-5 we are called to commune with Him and to be secured – this here is the one thing that Christ rebuked Martha for not having.
We’re called by the various Psalmists is to live a Life of Faith – a blessed life, a life of trusting Christ and His finished work.
For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence.
For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.
Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you
and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
Blessed are those who take refuge in Him, and indeed, blessed are those who believe yet do not see, as Christ mentions in John 20:29-31. What a great thing, a great opportunity given to us – to trust in the Lord. To just enjoy Him because we HAVE Him.
Grace gives, faith believes, and blessings are received!
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
The people of the Old Testament were quite privileged to have a Psalmist like King David, especially because we see how he has had a glimpse of the grace of God as poured out in the New Covenant, which would come so many generations later.
What do we want to believe? We see in Psalms like Psalm 22 and Psalm 69, how Jesus Christ is the Suffering Messiah – I’ve read and written about Psalm 22 before, but I’m glad Pastor Joedy points out Christ’s suffering and how it results in the second half – where all nations would be drawn to see the goodness of God and to be therefore led into repentance.
We see in the famous Psalm 23, that Christ is our Good Shepherd – and how nice that we’ve been led to write about each and every verse; actually, I was only led to write about Psalm 23:1 but I might as well go through all the verses. We see confirmation of Christ’s being our Good Shepherd in John 10:10-11: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.“
The second ‘Division’ covers Psalm 51-100, and we see the key emphasis here on Jesus Christ and God’s presence. We see, out of other things, how Christ indeed became the Word become flesh, and dwelled – and not only dwelled but ‘tabernacled’ – among us.
We may have experienced the mercies of God, but we certainly aren’t exempt from the difficult situations, the circumstances this world seemingly throws aggressively at us – and this is why we would do well to always remember God’s presence – it’s His presence is the key to overcoming all that’s being thrown at us. God’s presence brings comfort to all that we may be experiencing.
We see how David may have been in the wilderness as a fugitive, but we see that even in these times, he sings of how God’s love is so much better than life, and how as he realizes this, his lips would glorify Him (Psalm 63:25). Astounding, and confounding! We’re called to worship even more when we are afflicted. We’re encouraged to sing of God’s everlasting love as we are being brought, again and again and again, from point A to point B.
David in this sense was a foreshadowing of Paul, on his own persecutions and difficulties – Paul points out in the most famous of verses: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
We also see how David still continued to sing, even when he felt so down from what he did himself, feeling so much regret, asking for a new heart and a new spirit. Psalm 51 was written by David after his sin with Bathsheba.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalms 51:1-2, 10-12
Indeed, we have been given a new heart, and we have been given a new spirit. How do we know this? Because we have been made new creations: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
When we’re given a new heart, this means we’ve been given a new soul – new thoughts, a new mind in line with Christ’s mind. Consequently, when we have a new spirit, it is as was pointed out in John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
In this second ‘Division’ we don’t just see stuff happening to David, but we also see Asaph’s confusion in serving God. Pastor Joedy points out the beauty of Psalm 73, which he recommended for ministers who are burned out.
Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you.
But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Psalms 73:1-3, 16-17, 25-26, 28
The wicked may be successful but they have their end. Not so with us who have God – He is the strength of our heart, and He IS our portion… not only for a season, but forever. Only God can comfort us in difficult times (Psalm 63). Only God can replace or give us a new heart (Psalm 51). Finally, only God can strengthen our heart (Psalm 73).
In the third ‘Division’ – Psalms 100-150 – we see emphasis on how Jesus Christ is the Worthy One – on why we praise Jesus.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
We see His greatness, His awesome works, His great deed, His abundant goodness, and so much more in Psalm 145.
Around this time Pastor Joedy chooses to just wrap things up.
“What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” – Westminster Shorter Catechism
Tonight Pastor Joedy was actually with us, and we spent more time that we usually do over in Zoom, where he usually shares. I didn’t want to end this article with what he shared, but I also wanted to share a couple things here and there that I picked up when we all talked before we headed home.
First of all Pastor Joedy shared his heart on meditation, and its importance. I thought to myself, this was yet another reminder of how I should really take some time away from this laptop and just enjoy being in the silence, pondering on the Word, and therefore on the Life, because of Christ. He shared about meditation being like grapes – in his point of view, just as we press on the grapes to get juice, so we ‘press’ on the Word in our meditation.
At around this time Jardine also pointed out that he found it interesting that Pastor Joedy chose grapes, of all fruits – He could have chosen apples or oranges, but he appreciated how he thought of grapes, because grapes ferment into wine – and unlike any other juice or any other sort of liquor which you don’t necessarily take time to enjoy and appreciate, you can either sip wine or be as a sommelier – swishing it in your mouth, taking in how it smells. Just as in meditation, you don’t rush in to appreciate the Word – you take your time, and eventually find something to appreciate even in the smallest of details.
We also discussed that about wine and about meditation – grape juice doesn’t become wine overnight. In the same way, you don’t necessarily pick everything up from the Word in one sitting. Perhaps some of the significant details only become significant when we are aware of them only after a period of time of pondering – days, months, and even years. In fact, the longer you wait to ferment the juice, the better the wine that comes out. So it is with the Word. The longer you wait on it, the better it becomes.
Second, Pastor Joedy also pointed out how he used to be so focused on religion and on man’s efforts. He used to be so fixated on works, much so that when he would preach on things like Jesus’ feeding of the 5000, he would place the emphasis on the disciples and how they did their part in the miracle. I assume that he pointed out that the people wouldn’t be fed if not for the disciples who passed the bread and the fish around.
That all changed when he was brought into the knowledge of Christ and His finished work. He pointed out that the bread didn’t multiply at the hands of the disciples – no, it was Christ who gave thanks, and it was Christ who broke the bread and the fish. Pastor Joedy pointed out that the disciples could only carry so much at one particular time, and could therefore only give so much; he said this only to point out that when they ran out of food to distribute, they would naturally go back to Jesus who was the source of the miracle, and the source of the food – It was Jesus who was in charge of the supply, and all they could do is keep going back to Him.
It’s the same thing with us – whenever we share the Word, and the Word of Life, we could only go so far on our own. No, we need to keep going back to Christ, who is not only the Word, not only the Life, not only the Word of Life and the Living Word, but the Source.
I tell you, we had a blast a couple of hours ago. We eventually also talked about how a waiter couldn’t necessarily feed everyone with what he has on hand at one time. God forbid! Either the waiter would run out of food to give from his own efforts, or the waiter wouldn’t give what the customer ordered. Of course, the waiter needs to keep going back to the cook – It’s the cook who knows what each customer wants, and it’s the cook who, well, cooks! Considering this, we shouldn’t be so assuming in what we think other people need, nor should we insist on producing what other people want on our own – Friends, it’s Christ who not only knows what we need, it’s Christ alone who can provide it!
Let’s remember this whenever we minister to others. Four things, not just the two mentioned:
- Christ knows us by name and knows everything we need.
- Christ alone can provide what we need.
- We literally needed Him. We needed Christ, and naturally, only Christ can provide what we need.
- Christ has already died and rose again.
Is this, therefore, to say that we don’t ask for anything? What is it, do we say that Christ will provide, or Christ provides here and now, or Christ has already provided? Do we discourage other people from asking for what they need, saying that Christ has already provided for it all? My answer to all of this is a resounding ‘yes’. Christ and His finished work have implications and benefits in and out of the boundaries of time and space. That’s the only way I could reconcile it, and that’s the only explanation I could give. Christ is that great, and that good that what He has done has simultaneously taking us from glory to glory, just as we have been fully and completely reconciled to the Glorious One. Christ is that great and good that what He has done IS finished, and is BEING finished.
And if we’re having trouble understanding it, well, that’s precisely why we meditate. In our celebration of the sheer power and peace found in Christ, the revelations come, and the worship comes out naturally.
Sorry, I just had to write all of this before I totally forgot about all of it.
God bless us all. Jesus Christ truly is our song.