Journal Ps 83-84 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” (Ps 84:10-12)
Observation: Songs of worship should lead us to the Scriptures. Scriptures should lead us to singing songs of worship.
Worship should align with the Word of God.
Analysis: Psalm 84. I remember singing this Psalm fondly. While you can still google the lyrics, I have it on vinyl. The Courts of the King was published in 1977 and contains 13 cuts of tremendous songs of Worship, mostly written by Ted Sandquist and arranged by Phil Keaggy.
Worship songs should draw us into the Scriptures, either by direct arrangement or by doctrinal purpose.
All believers are theologians. “Theology is the study of God” I used to teach my 7-10 year old Sunday School students to prepare them to find the finger of God in the lesson. “Always search for His Voice, His Finger, His Breath, His Presence in the lesson.” The Bible is God’s self-revelation, and He wants to make himself known.
In the 1700 and 1800’s, guys like John and Charles Wesley, to make the Word of God known and easy to understand deep truths (biblical facts), wrote Doctrine to folk and bar tunes. Charles Wesley wrote over 6,500 hymns over his lifetime (Amazing Grace, Rock of Ages, How great thou art, Morning has broken, O God Our help in Ages past, and more).
Isaac Watts was a prolific song lyricist (and his songs are so truly relevant today—because they are not situational relevant but eternally relevant). 750 hymns—When I survey the Wondrous Cross, Joy to the World (which was not intended as a Christmas hymn), and more. There are so many more Old Dead Guys that I should be more familiar with.
Here is something I didn’t know: “Frustrated with the heartless psalm singing of his time, young Watts sometimes criticized the singing at his church. Listening to his concerns one day, Watts’ father challenged him, “Well then, young man, why don’t you give us something better to sing?” He rose to the challenge by writing his first hymn.” (Britanica.com)
Therefore, the point for today is to be purposeful in engaging to sing worshipfully. Find songs of worship that point to God Almighty and not so much to myself. For the Word is true:
“He alone is worthy to be praised.” (c. Ps 18:2 and 2 Sam 22:4)
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the lessons in hymnody in my past. Being a jack-leg theologian only shows me how deficient I am in knowing You.
You create this hunger in me, O Holy Spirit. I would like to identify with David, “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” (Ps 63:1), but that is too high for me. I only know I want to know you more…
Ricky Two Shoes