Not everyone likes poetry. But there’s hardly anybody who doesn’t like music; and the lyrics of music…well, they’re just poetry with a tune.
In our English Bibles, Psalm 23 has a superscription which says, “A Psalm of David.” But in the original Hebrew text those words are actually the beginning of the Psalm.
The word “Psalm” is the Hebrew word, mizmowr, which means “a song for musical accompaniment.” You see, a psalm was meant to be sung. It is a poem set to music. The root of this Hebrew word actually has the idea of “striking with the fingers” – to touch the strings of a musical instrument.
Can you picture David out in the fields of Bethlehem with the sheep playing music on his harp—his fingers plucking the strings as his voice rings out with the melody of a song? “The Lord is my shepherd…” he sings.
In Ephesians 5:19 we read, “And be filled with the Spirit…speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs…” You see, one of the evidences of being filled with the Spirit is that He puts a song in your heart. You want to sing the praises of the Lord. And among the things the early church sang were Psalms. Well, we’re not sure what melody David sang as he plucked the strings of his harp; but you can be sure it was a joyful tune.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul…” My! What a beautiful song. It is a Psalm of David.
Say – maybe we ought to learn how to sing the Psalms again. They were meant to be sung, you know.