High-Fiving God. Fivefold seperation of Psalms (Psalms blog 2)

When was the last time you gave someone a high five?

Most if not all of us are familiar with the ‘high five’ hand gesture. It occurs when two people simultaneously raise one hand each and slap the flat of their palms together.

Apparently, the first high five occurred between Dusty Baker and Glenn Burke in Dodger Stadium on October 2, 1977,Fit young woman high fiving her boyfriend after a run

A journalist who attended the game reports that,

‘It was a wild, triumphant moment and a good omen as the Dodgers headed to the playoffs. Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. “His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back,” says Baker, “So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do’.

This reminds me of a moment in Scripture when Abram made a solemn oath. Abram thrust his hand way up over his head and declared,

‘I have lifted my hand to the Lord, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth’ Genesis 14:22 NIV

This is what I call a devotional ‘high five’. Abram raises his hand to the creator of the universe and affirms a vow.

This ‘high five’ image helps me understand something about the psalms and my relationship with God.

Look in a Bible and you will see that the psalms are numbered into five books. This fivefold division was made by the Hebrews to complement the first five books of the Bible. These five (Genesis to Deuteronomy) are sometimes referred to as the Pentateuch. The ancient Hebrews considered these first five books of scripture to be God’s voice to man. This is the traditional answer as to why the Hebrews divided the psalms into another five books.

Book 1 Psalms 1-41

Book 2 psalms 42-72

Book 3 psalms 73-89

Book 4 psalms 90-106

Book 5 psalms 107-150

The fivefold division of the psalms was made as a reverent act to imitate the Pentateuch. But it’s to be noted that the five books of the psalms have a different emphasis.

The Pentateuch is considered to be God’s voice to man. But the psalms are seen as man’s response to God.

This is what I call a devotional ‘high five’.

God’s five (the Pentateuch. Man’s five (the Psalms). All 10 books inspired by the Holy Spirit. The voice of God Most High speaks in the Pentateuch. The voice of man raises highest praise to God in psalms. Just like a physical high five there’s a two way connection. If ever there was such a thing as a spiritual ‘high five’ its found in the book of psalms.

Dictionary.com defines ‘high five’ as

‘a gesture of greeting, good-fellowship, or triumph in which one person slaps the upraised palm of the hand against that of another’

Throughout the fivefold division of the psalms we discover

‘gestures of greeting, good-fellowship, and triumph’ for man and God.

‘High fiving’ God’ may be an irreverent terminology for some believers.  But for me I’m happy to respond to the Lord by raising a hand in worship. I’m blessed as I lift, my hands to God in praise.

But of course, it’s not about the posture of our hands but the positioning of our heart which is lifted towards the Lord. When we read a psalm devotionally, our soul rises from earth to have fellowship in heaven.

Want me to blog about a particular psalm or any particular psalm verse? Send your request.



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