Do you access any of Google’s groups? Have you ever created a Facebook group and shared it with your friends? Are you partnering in a buddy group at work or have you studied in a learning group at university? Maybe you’re about to book a group holiday through a travel agent?
The world is a conglomerate of groups. Assembled people. Clustered thoughts. Amassed data. All located and gathered together.
Jesus was a master of group dynamics.
Before He fed 5,000 people Jesus said to his disciples,
“Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each’ Luke 9:14.
Groups of 50’s were practical for distributing the food. Made it easy for the disciples to carry out their waiter services.
However, for me the emphasis is not on the number fifty. I’m focused on the fact that Jesus created groups.
God groups things together. As the people sat in their groups of 50, Jesus rendered three blessings to His audience. He,
1. Provided for the people (The crowd were hungry he gave them food)
2 Performed a miracle for the people (Jesus catered for 5,000 customers with 5 small bread rolls and two mini fish)
3. Personalised the moment for each group member. (The fish and bread was ingested individually by everyone who ate on the big day out)
Make no mistake about it. If God creates a group there’s a blessing on the way.
We need to keep this foremost in our mind when studying the book of psalms. Psalms is a book of group dynamics. As previously noted psalms is helpfully divided into five books (find out more blog 2 https://wp.me/p9kkri-vb ) The grouping of the psalms is a work of the Holy Spirit as the Bible has been inspired. Find out more https://bibleblogger.online/2018/03/03/the-bible-2/.
The grouping makes psalms easier to read, study and discuss. It also helps us understand the steps in the formation of the psalms. But the main point for me is Jesus and the Holy Spirit are group makers.
What excites me in particular is the fact that before the fivefold division of the psalms was made there existed several original separate collections. God in His providence had already started grouping psalms together.
Before the fivefold division of psalms as we have now in our Bible, there were eight previous existing groups. Previous psalms groups include,
- Completion of David’s psalms with a doxology at the close, consisting of psalms 3- 41
- Completion of a second group of David’s psalms with a doxology at the close consisting of psalms 51-72
- Completion of a collection of psalms entitled, ‘of Asaph‘ probably a guild of Temple singers Ezra 2:41. Psalms 50 and psalms 73-83. It’s been suggested that this collection of psalms originally belonged to the sanctuary at Bethel.
- The compilation of a collection of psalms entitled ‘Of the Sons of Korah’, likewise probably a guild of Temple singers 2 Chronicles 20:19. This group consisted of psalms 42- 49. It has been suggested that this collection of psalms belonged to the sanctuary of Dan.
- Elohistic psalms 42- 83. These are psalms which the editor generally but not constantly substituted the name of God. He deliberately used God’s name Elohim for God’s name Jehovah. Apparently, he was working at a time when the sacred name of Israel’s God was no longer pronounced because it was considered too sacred for pronounciation. Therefore the compiler of the group of psalms substituted as far as possible the name Elohim for Jehovah.
- This group of Elohistic psalms was increased by adding further psalms 84 – 89.
- Compilation of a collection of psalms entitled ‘Songs of Ascents’ which are psalms 120-134.
- Last group compilation of psalms 90-150.
Page 510 of the Abingdon Bible commentary outlines the table of these eight groups of psalms.
That these groups previously exsisted is understandable. I already mentioned the writing and categorising of psalms was a gradual process https://wp.me/p9kkri-vV.
A significant change in this process was that the eight groups, were divided into only three groups,
Group one Psalms 1- 41,
Group two psalms 42- 89,
Group three psalms 90- 150
Another significant change came about when these three groups were then redivided to make five books of psalms as we have them now.
Tradition says that the Jews made exactly five books of the psalms to imitate, the first five books of the Bible. Find out more https://wp.me/p9kkri-vb.
I’m blessed when I think of the grouping process of psalms.
First a group of eight,
then a group of three,
and finally, a group of five.
Easy to remember like a security pin number 8-3-5
Like Jesus’ groups of 50s, the emphasis is not on the numbers. It’s on God’s personal, and miraculous provision.
If like me however you’re curious and wonder do the biblical numbers 8-3-5 have anything to tell us, I’d say yes they do.
number 8 in the Bible is the ‘new beginnings‘, number.
number 3 is the number of unity, accomplishment and of course 3 represents the trinity. God is triune and reveals Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Number 5 is the number of grace. Find out more about these three number 8-3-5 in my ‘consecrated numbers’ blog, https://wp.me/p9kkri-FU
The biblical numerology for psalms groupings is very suggestive and attractive. In a sentence the book of psalms suggests,
‘a new beginning’ (8),
with ‘the Father, Son and Holy Spirt’ (3),
in a ‘season of grace’ (5).
It’s no surprise therefore that of the 283 quotations which the New Testament takes from the old, 116 are from the psalms.
Jesus himself quoted from the psalms, and used the psalms in prayer and explained the psalms to his disciples. Mathew 5:4; 7:23; 21:16,42 26:30,27:46. Luke 24:44.
Christ’s followers imitated his example. Acts 1:20; 2:25-28,30,34 and Acts 4:11, 25.
Paul and James both advised Christians to use the psalms in community worship Ephesians 5:19. Col 3:16, James 5:13.
Why did Jesus, the Apostles and the early church focus on psalms?
Because psalms is a manual for ‘a new beginning, with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in a season of grace’.
- Read the psalms for ‘a new beginning’ everyday.
- Read the psalms, for your encounter with the Holy Trinity
- Read the psalms to thrive with God’s amazing grace.