Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Surveying Scripture - the Books of Experience

The Book of Psalms


Continuing in our study of the books of experience, we now turn to the book of Psalms.

In many Bible reading plans there is an attempt to read five Psalms and one chapter of Proverbs every day, thus covering these two books in one month. For herein is wisdom and herein is experience. The Psalmist gives us a key—it is the same key that was at the heart of Job’s experience.

Trust in the Lord

“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Ps.118:8,9).

For faith will be answered by the faithfulness of God;

“I will sing of the loving-kindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth” (Ps.89.1).

The Psalter

The Psalter is divided into 5:

            Book 1 - Psalms 1 to 41:

            Book 2 - Psalms 42 to 72 :

            Book 3 - Psalms 73 to 89 :

            Book 4 - Psalms 90 to 106 :

            Book 5 - Psalms 107 to 150

Each book ends in a doxology and either an Amen or a Hallelujah.

Book 1 ends with: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen.” (41:13)

Book 2 ends with “Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. (72:18–19) Then it adds, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” (72:20)

Book 3 ends with: “Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and Amen.” (89:52)

Book 4 ends with: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, From everlasting even to everlasting. And let all the people say, “Amen.” Praise the Lord!(106:48)

Book 5 ends with: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!(150:6)

These verses encourage us to always say “Amen” to the will of God, for that must be followed, perhaps not immediately, but eventually, with Hallelujah, that is, “Praise the Lord”.

The Psalter is a very large book, and deals with a multitude of subjects, and as always, any grouping will have severe limitations. The suggested themes have been selected to bring to the fore certain truths, but the multi-faceted wisdom that is found in its pages cannot be confined to any structure imposed from without. Nevertheless, the pattern suggested here, under the blessing of God, may help some. May it be so.

 To help us group them under subject headings it is sometimes suggested that we align them to the five books of experience. Five books that, among other things, describe five aspects of faith.

Book 1 is aligned to Job (faith struggles); Key Psalm—22

Book 2 is aligned to Psalms (faith prays); Key Psalm—51

Book 3 is aligned to Proverbs (faith understands); Key Psalm—84

Book 4 is aligned to Ecclesiastes (faith meditates); Key Psalm—103

Book 5 is aligned to Song of Songs (faith sings); Key Psalms—120-134

Another way of expressing these aspects of faith:

Book 1 : Faith that struggles (the conflict of faith).

Book 2 : Faith that prays (the cry of faith).

Book 3 : Faith that rests (the quietness of faith).

Book 4 : Faith that meditates (the contemplation of faith).

Book 5 : Faith that praises (the conquest of faith)
Book 1 : The Conflict of Faith  (Faith that Struggles) (Ps. 1-41)
If God’s minimum is faith, and there is nothing for unbelief, then faith will be attacked by Satan the adversary. Faith is the cord that connects us to God and he would like to cut that cord. Satan is the deceiver—he is dishonest, duplicitous, insincere and a liar. He is a slanderer who would, “separate intimate friends” (Prov, 16:28).
In the Garden of Eden he succeeded in separating Adam and God. After the entry of sin, Adam hid from God; but the end of sin is where God hides from man. Hell is the final separation; therefore Satanic temptations are aimed at separating man and God.
The key psalm of this first section is 22, which includes, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (v.1) When Christ uttered the cry of dereliction it was when He was bearing the sins of mankind. He really was ‘God-forsaken’. For those who have received Christ as their Saviour they have the comfort of a great Scriptural promise for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”” (Heb. 13:5); but the Devil will insinuate that He has, that ‘God has forsaken us’.This is at the heart of the conflict of faith. Job said, “Oh that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat!” (Job 23:3). What can we do in these circumstances? Answer: Pray!!!
This is the next section of the Psalms—the prayers of David.
Book 2 : The Cry of Faith  (Faith that Prays)      (42– 72)
When we are oppressed what can we do but cry unto the Lord. Prayer in its essence is crying unto the Lord. Not making sermons; not making well rounded sentences; but crying unto the Lord. You are shut in a room of doubt and   despair and you must make someone hear – cry unto the Lord. The hero in Pilgrim’s Progress was shut up – he agonised for hours – and then remembered he had a little key in his pocket – the key was faith – and soon he is in the open air again.
Book 2 is introduced by Psalm 42, As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God; When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”” (vv.1–3)
The picture seems to be of an animal in distress. The Psalmist is saying, ‘unless I can get through to God I am finished’. He is being taunted—they say to him “Where is your God?” Satan will say ‘God is not there’.  Verse 9 sums it up: I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
The key Psalm is 51, Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.” (v.11).
The answer to the conflict of faith is the cry of faith. Asking God for things is minor. The essence of prayer is seeking God.
‘My goal is God Himself,
not joy, nor peace, not even blessing;
but Himself my God’. 
This section ends triumphantly,
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” (Psalm 72:18–20)