Psalms of Worship
One of my favorite praise songs from the 1970’s was based on Psalm 92:1-2; “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name O Most High, to proclaim you love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” If we take a closer look at these verses, we can see three groups of audiences who are listening to our praise.
First of all, I am listening. When I say, “it is good,” I am speaking to my own soul. I need to remind myself of my beliefs all the time. A man once said that we need to, “preach the gospel to ourselves.” I need to be reminded of the good news, that I am worse than I think I am. I am more selfish and think about my own good too often. I need to be rescued from my own self-centeredness. “It is good” to be reminded that it’s not about me.
Secondly, when I sing “ to make music to your name,” my creator and redeemer is listening. Look at these passages: “Your throne was established long ago, you are from all eternity” (Ch.93:2). “Your love has supported me” (Ch.94:18). “For you, O Lord, are the most high over all the earth, you are exalted far above all gods” (Ch.97:9). I am reminded of God’s character as I sing to him in worship. I am reminded that the story is all about Him and not about me. I am reminded that even though I am broken, He pursues my heart. At the cross, I was purchased and restored through faith. When I worship Him, I offer him the adoration and thanksgiving He deserves.
Lastly, we sing to “to proclaim your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night.” We are telling it to the world around us. Look at Psalm 98; “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.”
This word “salvation” is perhaps more comprehensive than the way it is used today. It included victory over enemies. Because there were always nations attacking, Israel saw God’s restoration for their physical lives. Salvation also included reconciliation between God and His people. He remembered his love and restored folks by His grace. It is a small wonder that we must sing to the Lord and remind ourselves, the nations, and our neighbors, of God’s goodness. So, what song is stuck in your head today? And whom are you singing it to?
Tips for Reading- (Interpretation tip # 17)
Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It has been building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over past weeks to get the whole picture.
This is our last tip from the interpretation category, but hopefully you will keep going back and trying to reuse the tips over and over again (I can’t remember them all so I will be doing the same!). One good resource, if you really want to get this down pat, is the book, “Living by the Book,” by Howard Hendricks, one of my favorite professors at Dallas Seminary. He really should get the credit for anything in these tips that is helpful.
Here are a couple more figures of speech to finish off this section of the Psalms. The first figure of speech we will address tends to be popular, and it is the metaphor. This is a comparison in which one thing represents another. For example, “You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14) Obviously, we are not the light, yet when our faces reflect God we are representing His light. A rhetorical question is another figure of speech used for emphasis. It is a question that requires no response because the answer is obvious. “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11). Paul uses this technique regularly in his arguments. Another way to emphasize the truth is to use a paradox. This is a statement that seems absurd, self-contradictory, or contradictory to logical thought. For example, Jesus said, “Whoever wished to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:25) Instead of just saying, “I will make it worth your while to follow me.” Jesus said it in such a way, that the truth is more compelling and picturesque. Continue looking for these figures of speech and I will see you next week, when we explore the book of worship for the New Testament, Hebrews.
Notes from David’s Journal
Please read Psalm 91 carefully! It's magnificent! It's one of my favorites. I'll say no more.
Psalm 100 holds a special place in my heart as well. As a child, the church my Dad pastored did a special children's program. Someone took a picture of me as a shepherd boy, dressed up like David. Perhaps it's because I share his name. Perhaps it's because Dad was the pastor. Anyway, I had to memorize the 100th Psalm (and the 23rd) and recite it as my picture came on the screen. It's truths still ring true in my heart today. We are to make a joyful noise to the Lord, everywhere! We are to serve the Lord with gladness. We are to enter His gates with constant thanksgiving. For our God is good and His mercies continue to every generation. I'll never forget these eternal truths I memorized that season of life. I hope you won't ever forget them either!