Day 163: Psalms 49-54; A Prophetic Oracle

Today’s reading covers psalm 50 which is considered to be a “prophetic oracle” psalm.  In this Psalm, the writer speaks the words of the Lord towards the people.  This is the main thrust of prophecy, the delivery of the Word of God to a people at a certain time regarding a certain message.  Many Christians tend to lump prophecy into the books of the prophets and often think of it in terms of the visions of Daniel or the revelation of John in the New Testament.  Along with these thoughts come the plethora of weird and crazy imagery that comes with this particular genre of Biblical reading.  These writings are both marvelous and confusing, leaving us guessing as to what their true meanings are and how we are supposed to interpret them.  To be honest though, most of the things that come to mind when we talk about prophecy actually fall into their own category of Biblical literature called “apocalyptic literature.”

Still, it seems that the word and idea of prophecy has been co-opted into a much greater (not necessarily better) meaning by the contemporary culture and the culture of years past as well.  What do you think about when you hear the word prophecy?  Some people think of Nostradamus or the Mayan calendar.  Perhaps the first thing that jumps to you mind is the ‘prophecy’ of Harold Camping about the end of the world.  Maybe something along the lines of the “Left Behind” book series comes to mind as well.  While these are all different interpretations of ‘prophecy,’ whether gleaned from the pages of Scripture or ‘received’ by the Spirit, we need to make sure that we know what prophecy really is, what it is doing in the Bible, and how exactly we should interpret prophecy in the words of the Bible and also what we should do with the ‘prophecies’ that we hear about in the world today.

The first important point about prophecy is that the prophecy found in the Bible was directed first and foremost, primarily at a target audience from that day and age.  There are some that would say that there are secret messages contained within Biblical prophecy that needs to be unlocked, a notion that is in itself non-biblical.  The prophets were people called and sent by God, empowered to give a message to a particular group of people , centering around a Word from the Lord that needed to be delivered to the people.  Thinking that the prophet would stand up before a crowd and deliver a message that would have made no sense to the audience to whom he/she is speaking.  No, the words of prophecy would have been understood by the people of Israel.

While it is true that we believe that the Word of the Lord is living and active, and we believe that the Lord speaks to us through His word, we need to make sure that we are hearing what God wants us to hear rather than what we want us to hear.  What is more important than that is that we need to always be looking for the truth, the hope, and the trust that lies in each of the prophetic writings.  Even though these prophecies were written to an audience of another time and culture doesn’t mean that God is not able to speak through the Word of scripture none the less.  Ultimately, as we read and interpret the prophetic writings, we need to be making sure that it is God who is being raised up and glorified in all things and that we are not looking first to ourselves and using Scriptural texts to honor ourselves and life up our own motives.

PSALM 49 is a Psalm of Wisdom written by the Korahites. As the wisdom psalms always have, there is a very particular didactic quality to this Psalm as well.

PSALM 50 is a prophetic Oracle that was written by Asaph.  This is also a psalm of praise that is didactic in nature as well, something that is natural for prophetic writing.

PSALM 51 is a penitential psalm of lament that is written by David.  It was written after the prophet Nathan came to David after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, a narrative recorded in 2 Samuel 11-12.

PSALM 52 is a psalm of lament that is also didactic in nature.  This psalm is written by David and was written after the high priest Ahimelech had been executed by Saul for helping David, a narrative recorded in 2 Samuel 22.

PSALM 53 is also a psalm of lament that is didactic in nature.  It too was written as a lament of David and is basically a repeat of psalm 14 but includes the phrase, “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God'”

PSALM 54 is a psalm of lament that is also an imprecatory psalm that was written by David.  This psalm was written while David was hiding from Saul.


9 Responses to “Day 163: Psalms 49-54; A Prophetic Oracle”

  1. Thanks for our connection and your selection of…, “UNDERSTANDING THE PROPHETS – THE UNFOLDING OF BIBLICAL ESCHATOLOGY” Its a excellent study of Prophets and biblical eschatology we need more of it to crystallize – form our understanding of complex codes of symbolism, signs, and tokens – covenants. Many are not deep thinkers of the biblical facts and the messengers of Yahuah’s logos. Keep me informed of any new studies that will enhance my understanding of spiritual encounters of prophets with their Creator, Amein!!!.

  2. […] Psalm 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. […]

  3. […] Psalm 49:7-9 – No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough— so that they should live on forever and not see decay. […]

  4. […] Psalm 49:7 – No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— […]

  5. […] Psalm 50:14-16 – “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” […]

  6. […] Psalm 51:3-4, 17 – For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. […]

  7. […] Psalm 50:14-15 – “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” […]

  8. […] Psalm 50:14 – “Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, […]

  9. […] Psalm 51:1-7 – Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. […]

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