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Due to the pandemic and social distancing orders, we are not meeting at least through April. 

February 14, 2020

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year
New American Standard Bible for 2020

Text: Numbers 7
Audio: Numbers 7

Psalm 65 (ESV)

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. A Song.

Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion,
    and to you shall vows be performed.
O you who hear prayer,
    to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me,
    you atone for our transgressions.
Blessed is the one you choose and bring near,
    to dwell in your courts!
We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,
    the holiness of your temple!

By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness,
    O God of our salvation,
the hope of all the ends of the earth
    and of the farthest seas;
the one who by his strength established the mountains,
    being girded with might;
who stills the roaring of the seas,
    the roaring of their waves,
    the tumult of the peoples,
so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.

You visit the earth and water it;
    you greatly enrich it;
the river of God is full of water;
    you provide their grain,
    for so you have prepared it.
10 You water its furrows abundantly,
    settling its ridges,
softening it with showers,
    and blessing its growth.
11 You crown the year with your bounty;
    your wagon tracks overflow with abundance.
12 The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
    the hills gird themselves with joy,
13 the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,
    the valleys deck themselves with grain,
    they shout and sing together for joy.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

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This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Songs of Praise

    Today's psalm, as illustrated by the heading, is a song. The contents of this psalm is praise and as such, this is a song of praise by David to the choirmaster for the congregation of God to sing (both then and now). 

    Did you know there are many denominations, in particular Reformed denominations, that exclusively sing the psalms? According to Hughes Oliphant Old, who was an American theologian and academic, psalms were preferred by the early church and used almost exclusively until the end of the fourth century.

    According to Wikipedia (not often quoted by me but in this context is it accurate), "during the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and many other reformers, including those associated with the Reformed tradition, used hymns as well as psalms, but John Calvin preferred the Psalms and they were the only music allowed for worship in Geneva. This became the norm for the next 200 years of Reformed worship. Hymnody became acceptable again for the Reformed in the middle of the nineteenth century, though several denominations, notably the Reformed Presbyterians, continue the practice of exclusive psalmody."

    Although theologically I am a "Reformed Pastor," and hold to the "confessions of the Reformed faith", I do not share the view of "exclusive psalmody" that some have had in the past (and still do today). 

    Ephesians 5:19 says that believers should address each other, "in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart." 

    According to this verse, psalms are to be sung as are hymns and spiritual songs. An argument can be made as to what constitutes a "hymn" and a "spiritual song" as outlined in this verse, but this is evidence that making melody to the Lord comes from psalms AND hymns (and spiritual songs).

    Is it possible the contemporary songs that focus on the benefits of God (and almost exclusively on His love) fall under the heading of "spiritual songs" despite lacking doctrinal depth? Yes. But we need to remember our Lord Jesus' words in John 4:24, "God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."

    When people sing lyrics which are distortions of clear biblical teaching (or are outright unbiblical), even though they may be "spiritual" in nature, they fall short of "truth" and as such, should be avoided in the context of public worship. 

    I carefully look at the lyrics of each song we sing to ensure what we are singing is biblical truth. Not everything we sing is directly from the Bible but I believe they should have a foundation in Scripture. Just like a sermon is more than quoting Scripture, song lyrics can (and should) elaborate on Scripture but never detach from it or contradict it.

    Lastly, like many things in life, there are various degrees of disharmony (pun intended) within the church on this issue. I intentionally don't get caught up in debatable matters like this because there is not Scriptural basis for such an argument. 

    If God wanted this to be clear, it would be clear. Because the Bible does not include melodies of what notes to sing, details on what psalms we should sing (or what constitutes a hymn or a spiritual song), I lean on Romans 14:1 and do not "quarrel over opinions."

    As Alistair Begg often says, "The main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things."

    ~ Puritan Prayers ~

    "Enjoying the Favor of God" by Robert Hawker

    "Lord Jesus, I seek you and your favor beyond all the riches of the earth, and all the enjoyments of the world. Lord, help me never to forget that it was your favor that brought you down from heaven. Your favor that prompted you to die, to rise again, for poor sinners. Your favor which makes you wash us from all our sins in your blood.

    All of your grace here, all the glories of redemption hereafter—everything was bought and the result of your favor. Precious Lord, please show me your renewed favor, day by day. And let those visits from you be so gracious, so sweet, and so continual, that I may think or speak of nothing else.

    I pray for grace to spend all the moments of my life here, receiving your grace and love, and bringing you love and praise, until you take me home to live at the fountain of your favor."

    (Excerpt taken from Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans) 

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