By Pastor Uche Nwosu
The Psalms are not mere prayers or songs. They are prophetic utterance originating from the Holy Spirit and being spoken or sung by a prophet. This is why songs that are Psalms have a unique anointing that sets them apart from any other form of expression like hymns and other spiritual songs. You will find that even contemporary Christian songs whose words are taken out of the Psalms are especially anointed.
Psalms are a blueprint for seeking the Lord. If you observe, they are full of praise, thanksgiving, as well as testimonials of God’s gracious as well as righteous deeds. The petitions made in the Psalms are always according to God’s will because they justify Him and cite His word.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14-15). The testimonials boost our faith whilst demoralizing the devil.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death (Revelation 12:10-11).
A most profound hidden treasure in the Psalms is that the Son of God literally speaks in a number of Psalms. Indeed, because these Psalms were mostly written during David’s era, Jesus was not yet born. We know He has always existed alongside the Father as the Word of God. In the Psalms, He begins to prophesy about His birth, life, ministry, trial and crucifixion, death, resurrection, and even ascension. He foretells His coming trials and tribulations in the flesh, and demonstrates how spiritual warfare should be fought and won in the process as He responds to these circumstances. Can you imagine that David and Asaph and company were praying and singing these Messianic Psalms even before our Saviour was born.
That is why He is described as the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. The work of salvation had actually played out in the spirit realm before it became manifest. This is why the Psalms are timeless in relevance and application. When you realize that you are in Him, the word of God spoken in a Psalm with regards to God’s child is applicable to your situation.
Psalm on conception and birth of Christ
(This is Christ before His earthly birth prophesying by the Holy Spirit in the psalmist about how He was going to come to save us). The Son was talking to the Father.
Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
(Psalm 40:6-8, See Hebrews 10:1-10)
Paul’s interpretation of that Psalm sheds more light. He interprets “my ear has thou opened” as preparing a body. The formation of a fetus to a baby is complete when the ears have become functional.
5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God (Hebrews 10:5-7).
Psalm on Ministry of Christ and His glorification – Jesus emphasizes the power of praise – He uses the word praise instead of strength in verse two of Psalm 8 (See Matthew 21:16). Can you imagine that the Lord is citing a Psalm? What does that tell you? They are the words of God. They are prophetic praise and worship designed to defeat satan.
O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength (praise) because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still (stop) the enemy and the avenger (Psalm 8:1-2, See Matthew 21:16, Psalm 106:47, Revelation 12:11, Psalm 81:10, Nehemiah 8:10)
Psalm 8 also reveals the fact Jesus gave up His divine nature for the weak human nature in order to die for our sins. He accomplished our salvation by His Blood and death for sin, and as a result the Father gave Him all authority over heaven and earth. He now wants us to celebrate His work with our mouths in order to crush the serpents head – defeat the devil.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:3-6).
Psalms on resurrection of Christ and eternal life
8 I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:8-11).
21 The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! 2 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. 4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.
5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. 6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance….
11 For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
(Psalm 21:1-6, 21;11).
Trial and crucifixion
Read the entire Psalm 22, which was a vision received by David
The next Psalm is one of the most powerful in the Bible. In Psalm 27, Christ prophesied about His arrest prior to the crucifixion. He did so by His Spirit upon David. This is hundreds of years before His birth. He spoke of how they would fall to the ground, expressing His confidence in the face of death. Psalm 27 verse one is worth memorizing. Read verse one to three.
Psalm 22 Study
This is without question the most profound Psalm in all of Scripture. Here David, under the power of the Holy Spirit, is speaking the literal words of Christ during His travail on the cross. There is no indication whether he saw the crucifixion in a vision, however what is apparent is prophesying the words and thoughts of the unborn Savior when He was betrayed and mercilessly slain by sinners. Let’s begin by looking at the first verse.
22 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (Psalm 22:1)
These words spoken in this verse are exactly what Jesus spoke on the cross centuries later fulfilling God’s word in the Scriptures.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)
Jesus speaking these words confirmed He was the Lamb of God, the Savior of the world. It became clear to all the Jews after the crucifixion. However, the focus here is how the Lord in the body of a man fights the fight of faith and wins. Remember He told us we can overcome the world just as He did if we follow after Him.
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Remember we are looking at how the Psalms can help us in spiritual warfare. It reveals how we should approach God in our prayers and devotions. Now we will get the ultimate example in Psalm 22 because the Son is crying out to the Father. The first lesson in verse one is that we should be transparent with God about our feelings. Job is a very good example of this. He told the Lord exactly how he felt. Here the Sin of God is asking the Father “why have you forsaken me.” This is keeping it real as they say. The subsequent verses clearly show He knew the Father was not forsaking Him.
2 O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
Something else we must keep in mind is there is great benefit in telling God as much detail of your problem as possible. He knows everything, yet He likes to hear it from you. He wants intimacy with you. Here you see the Son crying out to ABBA Father about the persecution, oppression, and outright cruelty of the unbelievers and enemies of God that are about Him. Even as we wait for the Lord to solve our problem, we need comfort and reassurance so that we don’t go crazy or fall into temptation.
6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.
10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
When we truly present our feelings, we will move the Holy Spirit to comfort us
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye #^_the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
Efficacy of Psalms Continued
The Psalms are not part of the Wisdom Books such as Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. They are actually part of the books of Prophets like Job, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. As already noted, they are prophetic utterance inspired by the Holy Spirit. We have seen how God’s Son literally spoke to the Father in Psalms like Psalm 22, Psalm 16, and how He is mentioned in others like Psalm 2, Psalm 27, Psalm 110, Psalm 69. These Psalms that have references to God’s Son are called Messianic Psalms.
It had been mentioned that because Psalms originate from the Lord, they are as applicable and effective now as in earlier ages. A Christian that believes it is part of the Old Testament and therefore unimportant to this time is robbing himself of unimaginable blessings.
The Scripture verses or phrases that are found in the Psalms are wisdom, truth, judgment, and precepts of God. They are dictums. A dictum is defined as a formal pronouncement of truth from an authority such as a king. God is the Almighty. His word is final. Therefore when God’s people quote, recite, and sing verses of Psalms, there should be awareness that these are not mere words of man, but eternal all-powerful declarations of the the Lord. It is with this heavenly mindset and anointing that verses of Psalms were spoken and sung by both prophets and apostles.
An early prophet like Job spoke the eternal language of the Psalms. Job’s life was actually a foreshadow of Christ’s, from the standpoint that he suffered because of righteousness rather than because of sin. It is not surprising therefore that identical phrases related to Christ-like suffering is found in both Job and the Psalms. The heartfelt prayer and
supplications originated from the same fountain of living waters. Job’s travail was actually a foretelling of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He was a symbolic “Kinsman Redeemer “. Like Jesus, he prayed for his persecutors and God would forgive them while exalting him (Job 42:9-10, Luke 23:32-34).
Because Psalms are prophetic, they model life’s situations and predict their outcomes. They guide us on how best to respond to trials. The following verses in Job that we find in the Psalms, document how people abandon God’s child when misfortune is upon him. The Spirit of God operating in Job caused him to express his grief about betrayal and alienation in practically the same way as Jesus did on the Cross.
13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. 14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. 15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight
If you compare the verses in Job to those spoken by our Saviour through David’s prophetic ministry, you will find them to be equivalent.
11 I was a reproach (embarrassment) among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without (outside) fled from me. 12 I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel (Psalm 31:11-12)
Why is this important, and how can we apply it to our walk of faith? When we pray, recite, or sing this verse of the Psalms during our travail, we fully identify with the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. He suffered for us and we in turn are willing to suffer for His namesake. Accordingly, we are inviting the comfort of the Holy Spirit working in us. We are also declaring to our enemy, the devil, and his messengers, that we are aware of the underlying spiritual reality of our situation. He will realize that we have taken refuge in our God who will ultimately deliver us, and so he will flee.
Jesus often cited Psalms in a way that suggests they are authoritative. He even mentioned the fact that they talk about Him.
44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me (Luke 24:44)
When Peter confronted the unbelieving Sadducees after the resurrection of the Lord, he pointed them to a Messianic Psalm that had accurately predicted their behavior.
11 This is the stone (Christ) which was set at nought (rejected) of you builders, which is become the head of the corner (the foundation). Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved
Peter actually invoked Psalm 118:22. This is a very important Psalm to study because various verses of this Messianic Psalm have been spoken throughout the ages by several people. Peter used the words found in Psalm 118:22 again in other circumstances, including verses found in other related Psalms (1 Peter 2:2-9).
The Savior Himself quoted Psalm 118:22 to the unbelieving Jews so that they would realize the stupidity of rejecting the Savior sent to them.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Apply age-old principles to your walk and warfare. Next time you are wrongly rejected for a role you know that you deserve, rather than begin to lament or clamor like the people of the world, you can simply declare Psalm 118:22 in your prayer or devotion. You can even unleash it before the persecutors as Jesus did and patiently watch as the Lord directs events towards your victorious outcome. Remember we are “In Him” just as He is “In Us”.
This verse of Psalm 118 is also an appropriate response for a person that rejects your testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ or mocks your faith. We do not wrestle with flesh and blood but demons principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:10-12), means it is actually evil spirits that we are battling. These eternal truths of God are crushing blows against the powers of darkness(Jeremiah 23:28-29). You might be amazed to see someone delivered from their grip in an instant by the most potent anointing of the Psalms. Praise the Lord!
The apostles and the company of devoted followers of Jesus Christ frequently applied the boundless power of the Psalms in their ministry. After Peter and John informed them of the persecution and threats from the unbelieving Jewish leaders, they gathered together to cry out to God. They centered their supplications and prayers requests on Psalm 2:1-2 (Acts 4:25-26 below), because they had observed that the prophetic utterances in Psalm 2 had been fulfilled by the actions of the religious leaders and kings that opposed the Savior.
24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
25 Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
26 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ.
27 For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
28 For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:24-31, See Psalm 2:1-2)