Yahweh, My Shepherd
Psalm 23 is a "Confession Psalm" and may have been written when David crossed the Jordan, fleeing from Absalom, and when Barzillai brought him and his men an abundance of food and fed him bountifully in the presence of his enemies (2 Samuel 17:27-29).
This Psalm can be broken into four units of thought:
1) Yahweh pilots (1-3)
2) Yahweh preserves (4)
3) Yahweh provides (5)
4) Yahweh persists (6)
Purpose: To show us how to pray after times of reflection as we watch God pilot our life through difficulty, preserve our life through death, provide for our life through danger, and persist in our life through love.
Yahweh the Sovereign Lord of the Universe
Psalm 24 is a "Wisdom Psalm" and was likely written for the ceremony surrounding the newly captured fortress of Jerusalem, or possibly even for the Ark being returned to Zion (2 Samuel 6). It is a song written for one part of the Levitical choir to chant a question and the other part to sing the answer.
This Psalm has three distinct sections:
1) The King over the city (1-2)
2) The King's kids who ascend the city (3-6)
3) The King of hosts Who enters the city (7-10)
Observation: The Psalm builds as people ascend up to Zion, first in praise to Yahweh who is over all (1-2), then in description of those who are making their ascent up to the city gate (3-6). Then all stops as the procession reaches the gates of the city and the gates are summoned to open and admit, not David, but the true King of the city, "the King of Glory." Those who guard the gates are challenging the right of any who would enter; the one who seeks entry is not merely a victorious warrior but the sovereign over the whole universe, "the Lord of hosts."
Purpose: To show how to pray when inviting the Lord to come and take His throne in your heart or circumstances.
Yahweh, My Deliverer
Psalm 25 is a "Lament Psalm," probably written during the time of David's fleeing Absalom. It is written as an acrostic, meaning each half-verse, in the case of Psalm 25, begins with one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, thus the twenty-two verses. Writing a Psalm in an acrostic form was a poetic way of saying the subject being offered was covered from A to Z.
[Oddly, in this Psalm, the first letter of the the Hebrew alphabet is used twice and the second letter is omitted altogether. Second, the Hebrew letters “w" and “q" are omitted, while two verses begin with the letter “r." At the close of the Psalm, after the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet, a verse begins with the Hebrew letter “p." This disorder in alphabet is likely used by David to express the disorder of the times and circumstances surrounding his writing of the Psalm.]
This Psalm can be divided into four sections:
1. Prayer of confidence in Yahweh (1-3)
2. Prayer for guidance by Yahweh (4-10)
3. Prayer for pardon from Yahweh (11-18)
4. Prayer of redemption through Yahweh (19-22)
Purpose: To show how to thoroughly pray (touching on the subjects of trust, direction, forgiveness, and protection) when facing an overwhelming and insurmountable circumstance.