What does it say?
Psalm 81 claims Asaph as author and is written to reflect on the Feast of Tabernacles celebrated at harvest time. This psalm calls upon the nation to reflect on God’s promise of provision for those who obey him and laments how they have often rebelled against God.
It is impossible to associate Psalm 88 with a specific historical event, but we see that Heman the Ezrahite, contemporary with Solomon, is the author. Some call it the gloomiest of the psalms, as the psalmist believes himself to be at death’s door.
Psalms 92-93 are anonymous and a stark contrast to the darkness of Psalm 88. Psalm 92 is like a starburst of worship, praise and thanksgiving to God. Psalm 93 celebrates God’s sovereign reign over all his creation.
What does it mean?
Paul reminds us that all these things are written for our example (1Cor 10:11), so we must never forget that behind the fascinating lives and stories in the Old Testament are living examples for us that are part of the same story and mission.
For example, Psalm 81 highlights the harvest time in Israel and reminds us that we are sowing the seed of God’s word and trusting him for the harvest. God will ultimately accomplish his mission, of course, but when we see lean times in the harvest we should be aware that disobedience on our part could be a major part of the problem.
The desperation of Psalm 88 is a vivid foreshadowing of what Jesus must have experienced on the Cross. Psalms 92 and 93 are templates to guide us in our own thanksgiving and praise. The one thought that should ever be present, however, is that innate emphasis of the psalms on community. As precious as the psalms are to us personally, their primary application is for the believing community.
How will I respond?
Today, I will take whichever of these three psalms best describe my current state and I will pray them back to God. Then, in some way I will share what I have learned with at least one other person in the spirit of seeing the Psalms in the context of community.