Learning from the Psalms – Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering, part 12 of 20

The premise is that Sunday morning worship music should fit what we have gathered to do; to worship the King of kings and Lord of lords. So what kind of music does God like? Does He have a preference? Those two questions should be the kinds of questions we should be asking, don’t you think?

And He is a musical God, by the way, after all He sings (Zephaniah 3:17) and very early in biblical history He was gifting men to create music (Genesis 4:21). Not suggesting that we know whether God likes country over pop or that He winces at hip-hop; but we do know He likes whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8). We also can glean His musical tastes from the Psalms—the Bible’s inspired song book.

What do we learn about worship music from the Psalms? On one end of the spectrum there are psalms of praise; at the other end there are psalms of lament—and in between these two extremes is a full range of emotion expressing man’s relationship with God. There always is a content or reason, however, expressed which lies behind the praise, or in the other case, the lament. In psalms of praise, God is lauded for His acts, His attributes, and His supremacy; and in psalms of lament, He is beseeched and pleaded to rescue and relieve us from distress. No matter the type of psalm, however, it is always one of content; that is, reasons are given to praise and reasons are given to lament.

And therein lays the critique and criticism of what passes off as worship music today—there is so little content to it. Many of the “praise songs” (as they are called) are in the form of a secular love song to Jesus; repetitious songs of so little content that if we strike the Son of God’s name from it and insert “Betty’s,” the song still makes sense. Betty might blush but God is not hallowed. They are often written from the feminine point of view, as well; Gene Vieth calling them “Jesus-is-my-boyfriend” songs. If the switching out of Jesus’ name now qualifies it to be on “Love Songs with Delilah”—we probably ought not to be singing it.

Here is another “content test” to consider: Can a Muslim or a Hindu or some cult sing this worship song to their deity? If they can, it probably doesn’t have enough content to warrant its use in Christian worship.

The point being that the One True God in Whom we worship is so worthy of our songs of praise and our cries of lament, they should be bursting and heavy laden with reasons why we do so. Not sure they always are, however, in an age where worship is too easily characterized as little more than “Some Choruses, a Pep-talk, and an Offering.”

Pastor Rich Hamlin
January 20, 2011

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