Sunday, February 07, 2010

Why Those Little Words at The Beginning of a Psalm are Important...

I shared with you a few days ago that we would find out who the author of the Psalm we're studying together (Psalm 77) is, and today is the day!

Do you know why we didn't find that out first? Why we didn't start our discussion there?
I have a really good reason for it....can you guess?

Because I didn't know!

See...I'm learning right along with you! And I'm excited too!

Often in the past when I've wanted to write and just gush out all I was learning, I couldn't because I knew that women in the class I was leading were reading my blog and I wanted them to dig out the goodies for themselves.

But I'm not leading a class right now!

So, will you be the class I get to study with for the time being?

This is so rich, ya'll!

What I learned from the Word today left me weeping.


I pray it will touch your heart too.

Let's pray, and then we're going to dig!

"Most High God,
We adore you. We thank you for your love for us, and for sending Jesus Christ as the complete and total payment for our sin debt. Father, I pray that if one person reading this right now does not know You through Christ Your Son, that they will stop all reading and bow before Him...that they will repent of their sins, turn from them to follow you, and accept Your free gift of grace through the sacrifice, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

Father for those who do know You, but may not know Your Word, or even where to begin, I pray that You'll bless their desire to know You through Your Word, and that You will lead us all by the power of Your Holy Spirit, Who indwells those who belong to You, both now and forevermore.

Dearest Lord, won't you please anoint this time as an offering before You...that as we all grow to know You more, we may in turn glorify You more. Please make that our heart's desire.

Thank you for loving us with an everlasting love.

We love you back!


So, please open your Bibles to Psalm 77.

I realized that when I wrote the last post about our study of this Psalm, I committed some cardinal errors as a Precept leader.

1. We didn't start with finding out who wrote the Psalm, but we did at least try to discover his intentions, what he knew about God, and what was compelling him to write this Psalm.

2. I fired way too many questions at you. I confess, that's how my mind works when I'm studying the Word. Once it's time to get in front of a class and lead a discussion, I've pared my list of questions down by at least 3/4, or should I say, the Holy Spirit has.

So forgive me, I dearly hope that you weren't overwhelmed.

3. I forgot to talk with you about key words. Sorry....we'll get to that too, but today is going to be about who this Psalmist was.

I want to encourage you sweet friends, don't neglegt those first few words that are found at the top of many of the Psalms. They will tell you much more than you could have ever imagined.

Thus is the case with Asaph.

Are you game?

Will you do some homework?

It will be so worth it!

Ask God to pierce your heart. Tell Him you don't want to close your Bible until you've learned something about Him that is going to pierce your heart.

Then, stay in it until He does.

Chandy asked me recently how I get the "want to" to read my Bible. I'm paraphrasing her words, but you can find her exact comment by looking a few posts back.

The above is my answer. I just beg Him to make me so hungry for HIM through His Word, that I won't be able to stand it many days without my time with Him.

He is gracious. His Word beckons me. When I am battling not wanting to read it, I am reminded of where that comes from. It's certainly not my Awesome, loving Father who is trying to convince me not to spend time with Him.

Besides, I am the one who gets cheated when I avoid Him. ME. here's your assignment for the next day or two. When you start leaving me comments, then I'll know that you're digging in, and that I can post some more.

I just don't want to overwhelm you.

But, remember...we learn as we discuss, and that discussion can happen through comments. You learn one thing from the Word that maybe the rest of us didn't....then we all learn. :)

It's imperative that we know who Asaph was. Today we are going to focus on cross-references, as they will lead us to learning at least a little bit about his history.

Turn to 1 Chronicles 15. I want you to read this chapter, but I'm going to give you a little background. As in everything, God has an order. So it was with the Ark of the Covenant.

God's order dictated that only the Levites were to carry the ark of God, yet in 1 Chronicles 13, David had consulted with man, not God, and had taken almost a poll or a group consensus about going up and taking the ark of their God back.

But his zeal, he forgot about God's order...someone who was not a Levite was handling the ark, and none of them were carrying it as God's commandment to carry it had been, instead they carried it on a cart.

Oh, they were beside themselves with excitement! 1 Chronicles 13:8 "David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, even wtih songs and with lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals and with trumpets."

And then somebody died.


Read verses 9-10.

And remember, God has order. He had ordained the Levites as priests to Him. That was a high orderly calling, and not even a King like David who loved God so much, was given permission to bypass God's order. forward a few chapters to 1 Chronicles 15.

David has decided to get the ark, has prepared a place for it, and pitched a tent for it.

And YAY for David....look at him laying it out in verse 2. See his change of heart throughout chapter 15. How is he treating the handling of the ark of God now?


Love that!

Don't miss his confession and humility in v. 13.'s your turn.

I want you to read 1 Chronicles 15:17 & 19; and all of chapter 16, and underline (in a color you'll remember for him), every time you see the name of Asaph.

Make yourself a brief list describing who he was. How important was his job?

Now...go back to chapter 15:25, 28, 29. How is Israel responding to having the ark of God with them, in the city of David?

Skip to 16, v.4 - there's a list you see that the Levites were appointed by their King...but for what?

Number their responsibilities...

Alright, now we're about home....see that semicolon at the end of 16:4?

WHAT comes next?

Underline that all important name we're researching....underline it in the rest of chapter 16.

AND DON'T MISS THE CRESCENDO THAT HAPPENS IN V. 7, and what results from it in verses 8-36.

Can you even IMAGINE?!

Your King asks you to pray, and out pours THAT!

You'll  see Asaph a few more times in this chapter, so don't miss underlining his name.

It will be crucial to our "getting it" when we are back in Psalm 77.

But I will close with this, do your work, dig out the truth, be led by God's Spirit, and then take a day or two just to soak it all in.

What does it all mean about who Asaph was, and about why he would write a Psalm like the 77th Psalm?

Also, catch Jeduthun mentioned in 16:41...keep that in your memory, as we'll come back to him, too.

I want to encourage you that you can do this! You can learn God's Word for yourself. He is gracious, and He WILL teach you, if only you'll give Him the time He so longs for, He so deserves of you.

If you really want to go deep, mark any instances 0f the word God, along with any synonyms for God,  in 1 Chronicles 16:7-36. You can either mark them right in your Bible, or go to and print off copies of the Scripture passages right there for free. Be sure to select the NASB version, if you want to be using the same version that I do.

Otherwise, I'd suggest the KJV or the ESV.

Make another list...
What did Asaph know about the LORD, to be able to pray a prayer like that?

Making a list here is pretty easy...

You just mark every instance of the word God, or synonyms for God, with a triangle.  I use red.

Then you make a list of what you learned about God, similar to our list above. I'll give you an example:

16:7 ..on that day David first assigned Asaph and his relative to give thanks to the Lord.
Asaph prays:
v. 8 thanks are given to the LORD - all Israel is led in thanks to the LORD
v. 8 His name can be called upon
v.8 His deeds were to be made known among the people

You get the idea now. If you're confused, I'm here for you...just drop me an email and I'll help you any way I can. My email address is in the sidebar.

After you do your research on Asaph, our discussion of Psalm 77 is really going to be good!

But, don't be sneaky and hold your comments until that post.

Remember, I want to hear all about what God is doing in your heart through His Word.

I love you all so....I am BURSTING to tell you what God showed me through all of this today, but I want you to dig, dig, dig for yourselves first.

I Love Ya'll All the Way to TEXAS, which you do know was once it's own country, and might just be again one day. :)


I am some TIRED I'm not proofreading. If I look foolish when I read it in the morning, I'll fix it then. :)

I trust ya'll love me too,


Stephanie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie said...

Hey Jes, I'm gleaning a lot from 1 Chronicles this morning. :) Question for you... are you understanding that Asaph wrote the prayer in ch 16? KJV says (v7): Then on that day David delivered first [this psalm] to thank the LORD into the hand of Asaph and his brethren.

To me, that indicates that David wrote the prayer.

Love you! So happy to be studying with you again. xoxo

Jes said...


So good! This is why I love studying with others...discussion makes us think, reason....I love it!

When I picked up my Bible this morning, blurry eyed and tired, I read through the passage again and thought, "Wait a minute...I think that in another translation this might read more like David said this prayer in Chronicles."

Then I hear a little beep on my phone, indicating that I have an email, and there's your comment.


I'm wondering if it was David that wrote that, too...

Now, what to do with this blog post if that's the case?


See why I was nervous to start writing about the Word, and what I'm learning?

It leads me back to the old oak tree story....

I'll have to see if Candee can write that out for me to post here. It's a wonderful story about observation, and why we need to spend SO MUCH time observing the text.

Love you girl!

I have a precious present to send to you...I'll get it out asap.


Stephanie said...

Well, there is still plenty we are learning about Asaph in these chapters even if he didn't write the prayer. We know he's the son of Berekiah. He's a musician (cymbals). He was appointed the chief. He was appointed to sound the cymbals. He's quite a guy to be appointed chief! Plus, it seems that the cymbals kind of start off the other musicians. He's leading all over the place here.

Oh, you have 5 blanks for responsibilities (v4). I only wrote 4. I'm interested to hear the five you found. :)

This is fun!

Deb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

Thanks for leading the way...
I would have not had a clue to go to 1 Chronicles 15/16 to get the background for Asaph or would I have known that Asaph was a very significant figure...and he sure is!
I'm making my lists!

Thanks again, hoping and praying you are doing well.

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