The Psalms and Their Meaning for Today

By Samuel Terrien | Go to book overview

2
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

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The Psalms and Their Meaning for Today
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Foreword v
  • Preface - The Psalms in The Life of the Western World vii
  • Contents xv
  • 1 - The Origin Of The Psalms 17
  • 2 - Hymns Of Praise 35
  • I - Worship of The Lord of Nature 37
  • 2 - Worship of The Lord of History 65
  • 3- Worship of The Lord of Zion 93
  • 3 - Prayers In Time of Crisis 123
  • I - National Laments 125
  • 2 - Personal Supplications 143
  • 3 - Penitential Prayers 166
  • 4 - Songs Of Faith 189
  • 2 - Psalms of Trust 212
  • 3 - Psalms of "Wisdom" And Communion 239
  • 5 - Their Meaning For Today 265
  • Suggested Readings 276
  • Index to Psalm References 277
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