In the Psalms we have Jehovah’s sympathetic thoughts and feelings for the Jewish remnant. God and God’s purpose regarding Christ, His anointed, ar erevealed. We see this clearly in the first two psalms.
The Psalms connect Christ with and Israel, and with the remnant in particular. It would be impossible to enter into the detail of all 150 Psalms here, but what we cannot fail to see is that there is, in the latter day, a godly pious Jewish remnant – tried, oppressed and all but overwhelmed. Jehovah owns and encourages His people and rewards them with Jewish blessings according to promise, Christ having entered into their sorrows and borne their sins. Christ, as Jehovah, comes to judge. The Son of man and King in Zion enters into the temple with all things under His feet, subjecting all the nations to Himself.
There is much more method than is supposed in the five books of Psalms. Christ enters in spirit into the remnant’s position. Sometimes the Holy Spirit arouses godly feelings; at other times He enters personally and sympathetically in grace into their trials.
Psalm 1 distinguishes the righteous person from the rest of nation, thus marking out the remnant morally. ‘The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous’ (v. 5). Not only this, the godly righteous Jew, who delights in the law, is promised present blessings.
In Psalm 2, the heathen and Jewish rulers rise in rebellion against Jehovah and His Anointed. Son of God sits upon the throne of Zion, and calls upon the kings and judges of the earth to submit to Him.
In Psalms 3-7 the godly man is under constant attack. His faith is tested, and the enemy taunts him, beckoning him to desert. He is in distress as to the wicked and appeals to God, the righteous Judge. Christ, the true godly one, enters in spirit into all the sorrows of the righteous remnant. Their deliverance wrought by judgment, because heir blessings and the character of their righteousness are Jewish (which is not the case of the raised or heaven-born saints). As they wait on God, their cry is heard and they are exhorted to persevere and depend. The earth is their portion.
Then, in Psalm 8, the remnant own Jehovah their Lord as having made His name excellent in all the earth, while the Son of man, (rejected when He came as Messiah), is given universal dominion. The result is blessing for Israel when the Son of man takes His place in glory.
In Psalms 11-15 the thoughts, feelings, and apprehensions of the remnant are further developed. Those walk uprightly, work righteousness, speak truth without backbiting or doing evil to his neighbour will dwell in God’s holy hill (see Ps 15:1-3).
Psalm 16: Christ’s takes His place with the godly remnant, as He did historically when He was baptised with John’s baptism. God’s delight was in Christ, who surely needed no repentance. But He says ‘unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; but to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight’ (Ps 16:2-3). That corresponds to the New Testament: ‘Both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one’ (Heb 2:11). In the Psalm, Christ says that he takes the place of a servant to Jehovah (not His divine place). He follows the path of life, does not see corruption, and finds His eternal joy as Man in God’s presence at the right hand of Jehovah.
In Psalm 18 we see what God has done and will do for the people – from their deliverance o from Egypt, to their final deliverance under David.
In Psalm 19 we have the testimony of creation and the law.
Psalm 20: We have God’s sympathetic help for the remnant.
Psalm 21 Christ’s sorrows and desires culminate in His glory. His days are for ever and ever as man and right hand finds out all His enemies. The consequence of His suffering at the hands of man is that He will make His enemies ‘as a fiery oven in the day of His wrath’ (Ps 21:9).
In Psalm 22 we have, not just the sorrows of sorrows from man, but His forsaking by God, bearing His wrath. The result is all grace, which He exercises in making known His name to His brethren, and associating the remnant, then all Israel, with Himself in praise The fruit is unmingled blessing, nothing else.
Psalm 23 shows Jehovah’s faithful shepherd care through every difficulty. It is now exercised in our favour by Christ- the portion of every believe. He knows His sheep and is known of them. Restoration is not exclusively from sin, though He does restore us for that, but from sorrow and oppression of heart.
In Psalm 24, the Lord of Hosts walks with the sheep in grace. In the last day will take His place in glory in His hill and in the house of Jehovah’s glory. Both the remnant and the gentiles are brought in.
From this point to the end of Psalm 41 we have every kind of practical exercise which the remnant will be subjected to in joy or sorrow. But these Psalms always speak of the godly, even when sins are confessed and forgiveness is sought. Christ gives them confidence: ‘This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him’ (Ps 34:6),
Psalm 25: From here on sins are referred to, and forgiveness; for, after all, the remnant had sins, and Christ took them on Himself.
Psalm 26 is their trial and appeal.
Psalm 27 is their separation from the ungodly.
Psalm 31 reassures the saints. They have confidence founded on Jehovah’s ways with the poor man.
Psalm 37: The full heart is guided and encouraged by God. The inheritance of the earth is promised to those blessed of Jehovah.
In Psalm 40 we have the source of all the blessings in the counsels of God. Christ undertakes to accomplish God’s will.
Psalm 41 speaks of the the poor man. Christ is the supreme example even in the face of treachery. What is done to the least of His brethren is done to Him. The Lord God of Israel will accomplish His purposes in blessing.
The remaining four books give the position of the remnant, and the place Christ has taken in relation to the sorrows of the poor and needy. Jehovah delivers them. The seed of His servants inherit Zion, and they that love His name dwell there.
Psalm 49 is the world’s instruction by the judgment. We see the price of redemption.
Psalm 50 gives the general judgment of Israel.
In Psalm 51 we have Israel’s confession of Christ’s death now that their Messiah has appeared.
Psalms 52-72: The people are cast out and the power of Antichrist is established
In Psalm 68, an ascended Christ is the real secret.
Psalm 69: Christ suffers and ascends up in glory, securing the poor and needy in Zion.
Psalm 72 describes the full reign of peace.
The third book, Psalms 73-89, goes out to all Israel, not simply the Jews, and gives God’s government and His dealings with them. This goes on till the latter days: the glory and blessing of Zion, and the certainty of mercy by God’s infallible promises.
The fourth book shows God’s faithfulness to both Israel and the nations. God’s First-begotten comes into the world. Christ suffers and Zion is restored. He is the Eternal Creator in Psalm 102.
In the closing book, the fifth, we have some of the consequences and effects of the bringing back of Israel. There are explanatory Psalms of the scheme of God such as as Psalm 110, and the law is written on Israel’s heart in Psalm 119. The Songs of Degrees (Psalms 120 to 134) comment on God’s ways. The book ends with the praise of God, pursued in view of millennial blessedness.
Such is the testimony of the Psalms.
The name of the Father and the thought of the church do not appear, though He calls the saints brethren (See Ps 22:22). The Holy Spirit’s work is suggested in the form of gifts in man: Israel will have them in the last day.
Summary by Sosthenes