The book of Psalms is broken up into five sections. Each section ends with a doxology, hymn of praise. We have come to the end of the first section with Psalm 41:13, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen!” And so we prepare to begin another section. But what does that mean?
There is no real order to the book of Psalms. Whoever put these poems into the psalter didn’t organize them by theme or style. Perhaps the book was divided into five sections to mirror the five books of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The first two sections, through Psalm 72, are alleged to be written by David, but after that it’s anybody’s guess. If considered in terms of Hebrew authorship where works done by a school of writers following one famous individual are given that person’s name, then all the Psalms might be considered by David. But there is no organizing principle.
There are hymns of praise, communal and individual laments, royal psalms, songs of thanksgiving, and enthronement songs, spread throughout the book. They are randomly put together with little rhyme or reason, much like life. One section ends and another begins. There may be times in our life where we can say, “my new life began at this moment; with this new job or that move, I began a new chapter in my life,” still we will carry with us aspects of the life we left behind.
The more things change the more they remain the same. We start new ventures, leave behind old ones, it can be messy; yet there is that within us that remains the same, an indomitable core. All reasons to praise our God. And so the Psalms are broken up into five sections, five endings and beginnings, while still retaining that indomitable core that makes them what they are, the song prayers of the people.
What is your indomitable core, that which remains the same when everything around you is changing?