Psalms is a collection of songs. Many of the songs are attributed to the poet and king David. Others are attributed to Asaph, the sons of Korah, Solomon and even Moses. Many are anonymous.
The songs were meant to be sung, and sometimes they contain annotations suggesting a certain style, tune or instruments. I find that sometimes the structure or words of a psalm suggest that it was probably intended for a soloist, a chorus, or a call and response.
Many of the psalms, especially those attributed to David, deal with the faithfulness of God and the blessed life of those who trust Him. Other psalms suggest that David encouraged, and probably enjoyed, corporate singing of praise to God. David is particularly honest in his prayer-like psalms, and is not afraid to express his anger, disappointment and fear. Even in these moments, he is grateful for God’s mercy.
Several psalms have a messianic message, foreseeing and describing Christ before His coming. Jesus even suggests that these psalms refer to Him, along with other Old Testament scripture (see Luke 24:44).
Other songs were written for, or have become associated with, certain ceremonies. The Hallel psalms (113-118) are sung as part of the Passover celebration. The Songs of Ascent (120-134) are associated with pilgrimages to Jerusalem.
You will find there is a psalm that resonates with almost any emotion, mood or experience. Though the music of these songs is lost to most of us, they still invite us to explore our thoughts and experience, reflect, pray, and connect to a God who cares, who’s mercy is at hand. Even the structure of much of this Hebrew poetry, in which ideas are repeated, compare and contrasted, invites one into meditation.