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Psalms 1-41

Israel’s Saviour and remnant
Psalms 1-41

The godly Ruler
The first part of this book falls apart into a couple of parts. The first one is: The godly Ruler. In Psalm 1 it tells about a man, whose delight is in the law of the LORD and in His law doth he meditate day and night. This man is in the first place the Messiah, Who is presented in the first and second Psalm as the godly Ruler. He is the King appointed by God as in Psalm 2:6 and 7 (see also Deut. 17:18 and 19). This Man, the Messiah, (Ps. 2:2) will deliver as godly Ruler Israel, submit the nations to Himself and scatter? the rebels as is also written in Rev. 2:27 and 19:15. He, the crucified and risen Saviour, will sit on the throne of His father David and will be King over the house of Jacob forever (Luke 1:33).

The faithful remnant
This man of Psalm 1 however, is also an image of the remnant. The description shows us the spiritual mind of a small part of the Jewish nation in the last days before Christ’s return. They will form together a congregation of righteous men (1:5).

The remnant in trial and trust
Psalm 3 starts with a description of the circumstances in which David has written this Psalm. He had to flee from his son who had conspired against him. His son, Absalom, bearing ‘shalom’ in his name, gave David a time of distress and despair, but in all of this he put his trust in the LORD. He had to flee out of the land, over the river Jordan, to save his own life and in that he is an example of the faithful remnant. The Lord Jesus speaks in Matthew 24 about the time of great oppression for Israel and says that when they shall see the abomination of desolation, stand in the holy place, (= the temple), they, who believe His Word, should flee into the mountains (vs. 15 and 16). These mountains are, according to different commentators, outside the land and we believe that the LORD refers to Petra, the Greek name of the city in the rocks of the former Edom. The name of this city in Hebrew is Sela (see Isa 16:1) and means, like Petra: Rock, the place where the remnant of Israel, most probably, will be kept by God during the time of depression. (Rev.12:6 and 14 compare Isa. 16:4, 5). Psalm 3 ends with the confession that salvation belongeth unto the LORD. Salvation is the translation of the Hebrew word ‘yeshuah’, Jesus in Greek.

The godly one
In Psalm 4:4 we read about the godly one that the LORD has set apart for Himself. The remnant is that godly one, the object of mercy from the LORD and set apart by Him in Sela (Petra). Here also it speaks of the trust in the LORD as in the Psalms five to seven in which we also see that the LORD will provide justice in the end to the remnant.

The Son of man as Ruler
Psalm 8 takes us to the future, when the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of Israel, will be Ruler of the whole earth. He will fulfil the assignment that was ever given to Adam. He, the Son of Adam (in Hebrew: ‘ben adam’, verse 5) will be glorified on the whole earth. In Hebrews 2:5-9 we read the explanation of this Psalm. Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death; in order that He, as Redeemer, by the grace of God should taste death for every man. He will rule over the world to come.

The cry from the despised remnant (Psalms 9-15)
In these Psalms two questions are asked by the remnant:

1: “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1). This question speaks of the time of Jacob’s distress. Then the ungodly, the dragon of the sea, inspired by Satan, will do terrible things to the believers who are not in Petra (Rev. 12:17). The remnant does not ask why this all happens, but why the LORD does not interfere.

2: “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?” (Ps. 13:2, 3). This question is not strange to us either. How we would like to know what period of time the LORD has determined about specific situations in our lives. This question speaks of a great longing for deliverance. The Saviour is the Source of Salvation.

The risen Messiah (Psalms 16-24)

In Psalm 16 we read about the Messiah, Who would not remain in the grave (acc. Acts 2:25-31). The 17th Psalm describes the character of the Saviour and His purity and perfection as Human in the midst of ungodly surroundings.
In Psalm 18 we read a song of praise of the Anointed of the LORD for the deliverance and victory.
Now we make a little jump to Psalm 22 in which we hear the Messiah in His suffering, but also in His glory afterwards. This Psalm actually forms the core of the first book of the Psalms, because without this occasion there would be no Saviour for Israel and the Gentiles. This Saviour is painted in Psalm 23 as the Shepherd and in Psalm 24 as the King of Israel, Who will once enter into the gates of the city (Jerusalem) chosen by the LORD.

The remnant as subject of God’s salvation (Psalm 25-39)

In these Psalms we see the reaction of the remnant to the revelation of the Saviour. In the first place it brings them to confession of sin as we read in Psalm 25:7, 18. At the same time we see also the hope in the LORD, as the One Who forgives according to His great goodness. What a blessing to know the LORD as the Light and the Saviour and not to be afraid of anyone ever (Ps. 27:1).
The meeting with a sinful nation and a pure Saviour brings about mourning as we read in Psalm 30:11 (acc. Zech. 12:10-14). But the LORD will turn their mourning into dancing. What a blessing to know that the transgressions are forgiven and the sin is covered, yes, that the LORD does not impute iniquities to the remnant because they have acknowledged their sin in faith (Ps. 32).

The Saviour and the transgressors (Psalms 40 and 41)
The 40th psalm gives us a sight into the heart of the Saviour of transgressors. He, Who came, to do the will of GOD, to give Himself as the true sacrifice (acc. Hebr. 10). Psalm 41 describes us the way that the Saviour had to go to bring the perfect sacrifice. Yet this Psalm ends with wonderful praise to the LORD, the God of Israel, because He is the Saviour of His people, saving them from their transgressions, who by grace have received Him as their Saviour. To his enemies however, He will bring a righteous vengeance when He will reveal Himself as the godly Ruler (see Isa. (9:5, 6).