When President Bush tried to comfort the American people after the tragic terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, he quoted from the 23rd Psalm: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…” That’s where we go when we need comfort – to the Psalms.
When you read through the Psalms, you discover that they address every human emotion and every response of the human heart. That’s why people go to the Psalms when expressing either their sorrow or their joy.
In Ephesians 5:19 we are told to “be filled with the Spirit,” and to speak to ourselves “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” This is an exhortation to go to the Psalms when expressing our feelings to God.
The word “psalms” here is the word for a song of praise or a sacred ode. But it’s also the Greek word used to refer to the collection of books known as “The Psalms.”
So in the New Testament, there is a close affinity between the song of praise and a psalm. In the worship of Israel, Psalms were set to music. They were sung by congregations and choirs as the means of praising God. Also, throughout much of the history of the church, the Psalter as the church’s hymnbook. Christians today are not so used to singing the Psalms. But that is not to say that the Psalms are not revered and loved in the contemporary church.
When America faced the horrific events of the terrorist attack on September 11, many churches held special services on the following Sunday. I suppose our pastor was like many pastors. He set aside his regularly scheduled sermon and spoke from the Psalms, using Psalm 46. It was a great encouragement to all of us who attended that service. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms” is certainly an important part of ministry in the worship of the Lord.
Now you know the real meaning of the word. Say – Have you discovered the Psalms? They are absolutely wonderful for every circumstance of life!