The people of Israel are called to worship, recalling the mighty acts of God on their behalf (vv. 1-12); similarly, one individual comes before God to offer his or her thanksgiving for God’s blessings (vv. 13-20).
The two parts of this psalmA psalm is a song of praise. In the Old Testament 150 psalms comprise the psalter, although some of the psalms are laments and thanksgivings. In the New Testament early Christians gathered to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. More are precisely parallel, demonstrating how what God does for the community is echoed by what God does for one, and vice versa. The structure shows the relationship:
A All the earth worships (vv. 1-4)
B “Come and see what God has done,” say the people, remembering the exodus (vv. 5-7)
C “Bless our God,” say the people (vv. 8-12)
A’ “I” come to worship (v. 13)
B’ “Come and hear…what he has done for me,” says the one, recalling his own deliverance (vv. 16-19)
C’ “Blessed be God,” says the one (v. 20)
The commonalities are striking. The psalms convey both the voice of the people and the voice of the individual; they provide for both communal worship and personal devotion–and they see these two things to be completely in line with one another. What God does for one is reminiscent of God’s great acts for the people; what God does for the people is recapitulated in what God does for each believer.