PSALMS OF TRUST
THE personal laments and the songs of thanksgiving have led us to the core of faith. As the tribulations and deliverances of Israel are mirrored in the life of individuals, so also the faith of the people, which endures from generation to generation, is reflected in the faith of the ordinary man, living from day to day.
In a sense the laments intoned from the depths may well be called "Psalms of Trust," for they would never have been composed had their poets remained jaw-locked in sin or paralyzed in isolation and despair. Thus, there is legitimate ground for Gunkel's classification according to which the psalms of trust are to be considered as a subtype of the individual laments. Nevertheless, the songs of faith differ greatly from the prayers of crisis. Although they originate without exception from men who have passed through narrow straits, the word "lament" can in no wise adequately designate the peculiarities of their form, the serenity of their feeling, and especially the certainty of their thought.
These psalms constitute a separate class. To be sure, they are subtly tinged with the memories of fears gone by; they betray the scars left by hard-won fights; they foresee the possible resumption of "the battle! That solves every doubt; " but they reveal a resolve to face calmly any eventual crisis. Because they come from men who have known the gall of misery, they are devoid of arrogance. Unlike the laments, however, they emerge from spiritual security and abundance.
Some, like Ps. 27, stand out vividly in an atmosphere of peril and they naturally conclude in the form of request. Others, like