Bible Study, Week 4 – Thy Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven
Wisdom Psalms – 1, 37, 49, 73, 91, 112, 119, 127, 128, 133, 139
Liturgical – 15, 24, 134
Prophetic Exhortations – 14, 52, 53, 75, 81, 95
Historical – 78, 105
Out of all of creation, we are the only ones with the ability to choose ways that are not God’s ways. We have free will. And so, we need to choose carefully, trying to align our lives with God’s will for us.
In order to help us in making these choices, we have the wisdom, liturgical, prophetic exhortations and historical psalms. They focus on God’s law and the need to keep those laws.
The wisdom psalms are a collection of wise sayings, similar to the book of Proverbs. Sometimes they are loosely held together through a poetic structure, other times they follow an organizing theme. We hear in the first psalm, “Happy are those who do not follow the way of sinners . . . rather the law of the Lord is their joy.” They offer us reassurance that those who follow God’s ways will be blessed.
Included among their number is Psalm 119, an acrostic masterpiece. An acrostic is a form of Hebrew poetry where each line, couplet or stanza begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In Psalm 37 each couplet begins with a letter of the alphabet. Psalm 119 is composed of twenty-two stanzas of eight lines. Within each stanza, each of the eight lines begins with the letter of the alphabet associated with that stanza.
The liturgical psalms offer instruction to God’s people within the context of worship. They answer the question, “Lord, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy mountains?” (15:1, 24:3) The prophetic exhortations remind the reader how God saved the Hebrew nation from slavery and gave them the commandments. We are reminded how “fools say in their hearts, there is no God.” (Psalm 14:1 & 53:1) We are exhorted to heed the Word of God.
Finally the historical psalms remind the people of their history and how God has watched over and guided God’s people. “He brought his people out with joy . . . he gave them the lands of the nations, the wealth of the peoples to own, that they might keep his laws and observe his teachings.” (105:43-45)
Discerning God’s will for our lives is truly a life-long process, one we need to take seriously. If all of the world were following God’s will, what a difference it would make. We need to do our part by not only praying for God’s will, but doing God’s will in our life. Then God’s will may be present on this earth as it is in heaven.
Copyright 3/13, Robertson