6 Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
"We make and offer art because we worship; we should not make it to lead us into worship. We can carry [this concept] into the weekly corporate gathering. Since Christians come to such gatherings as continuous worshipers, it should now be obvious that it is erroneous to assume that the arts, and especially music, are to be depended on to lead us to worship or that they are aids to worship or tools for worship.
...Music and the arts have a kind of power in themselves that can be falsely related to or equated with Spirit power, so much so that the presence of God seems all the more guaranteed and the worshiper sees this union of artistic power and Spirit power as normal, even anticipated. This thinking lies behind comments of this kind: 'the Lord seemed so near during worship time.' 'Your music really helped me worship.' And to the contrary: 'I could not worship because of the music.' Senior pastors, ministers of worship and worship teams must do everything to correct them. If we are not careful, music will be added to the list of sacraments and perhaps with some Christians become another kind of transubstantiation, turned into the Lord's presence. Then the music, not the Holy Spirit, becomes the paraclete ( lawyer) and advocate(one speaking in ones place). God is reduced to god (g) and music is raised to Music (M). Thrones are exchanged, lordship reverts to its fallen hierarchy, and conditioned reflex replaces faith."
Harold Best (Unceasing Worship, p. 119)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
"In this petition, we pray that God's name may shine forth gloriously, and that it may be honored and sanctified by us, in the whole course and tenor of our lives. It was the angels' song, 'Glory be to God in the highest;' that is, let his name be glorified and hallowed. This petition is set in the forefront, to show that the hallowing of God's name is to be preferred before all things. 'Hallowed be thy name:' it is the first and great petition; it contains the most weighty thing in religion, which is God's glory. When some of the other petitions shall be useless and out of date, as we shall not need to pray in heaven, 'Give us our daily bread,' because there shall be no hunger; nor, 'Forgive us our trespasses,' because there shall be no sin; nor, 'Lead us not into temptation,' because the old serpent is not there to tempt: yet the hallowing of God's name will be of great use and request in heaven; we shall be ever singing hallelujahs, which is nothing else but the hallowing of God's name. Every Person in the blessed Trinity, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, must have this honor, to be hallowed; their glory being equal, and their majesty co-eternal. To admire God's name is not enough; we may admire a conqueror; but when we say, 'Hallowed be thy name,' we set God's name above every name, and not only admire him, but adore him; and this is proper to the Deity only."
Thomas Watson (THE LORD'S PRAYER, p.43)
Praise ye the LORD: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.
"And we can at once see there is something unselfish in praise. You can suppose prayer to have a great deal of selfishness in it, and the Lord is quite aware of that; but He does not object to a kind of selfishness in our prayers, that is, that kind of seeking that we ourselves may be receivers of His blessing. But praise is more unselfish, more heaven-like, more, therefore, like Jesus; it is a giving forth of what we have received. And further--I think you will all agree in this, only sing praise truly, and there will be little discontent. I do not know a better remedy for discontent than praise, true praise. Where are your murmurs when your are singing praise? Oh, if those that fret and are discontented at little things or at great things, if they would only substitute for all that, praise, they would soon know it is good to give thanks!"
Dr. Andrew A. Bonar (Sheaves after Harvest, p. 18,19)
1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
"That the best music in God's ears is devout and pious affections, ... not a melodious string, but a melodious heart. Praise God with a strong faith; praise him with holy love and delight; praise him with an entire confidence in Christ; praise him with a believing triumph over the powers of darkness; praise him with an earnest desire towards him and a full satisfaction in him; praise him by a universal respect to all his commands; praise him by a cheerful submission to all his disposals; praise him by rejoicing in his love and solacing yourselves in his great goodness; praise him by promoting the interests of the kingdom of his grace; praise him by a lively hope and expectation of the kingdom of his glory."
Matthew Henry (Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible)
1 Corinthians 10:14,31-33
14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
"Even Christian artists may succumb to pride for the recognition of their work. There is a reason for this: it is the best things in life that threaten to steal our worship, and art is such a wonderful gift that those who love it sometimes forget to praise its Giver...
How can artists avoid making this mistake? By acknowledging their artistic ability as a gift from God. The composer Igor Stravinsky wisely said, 'I take no pride in my artistic talents; they are God-given and I see absolutely no reason to become puffed up over something that one has received.' Artists also avoid idolizing the arts by resisting any temptation to isolation and instead living in the Christian community, where worship is given to God alone, where a God-center orientation to life is the basis for daily discipleship, and where every earthly calling finds its true significance in relation to the higher calling of God. Artists also avoid idolatry by offering their art in praise to God. It is when we create things for God's sake that our work most clearly promotes his glory, rather than threatening to compete with it. Thus the true purpose of art is the same as the true purpose of anything; it is not for ourselves or for our own self-expression, but for the service of others and the glory of God. Or to put all of this another way, making art is an expression of our love--love for God and love for our neighbor."
Philip Graham Ryken (ART FOR GOD'S SAKE: A CALL TO RECOVER THE ARTS, Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2006, pp. 48-50)
I will praise thee , O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.
"Praise should always follow answered prayer; as the mist of earth's gratitude rises when the sun of heaven's love warms the ground. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined His ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise Him as long as thou livest. Let the ripe fruit drop upon the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Deny not a song to Him who hath answered thy prayer and given thee the desire of thy heart. To be silent over God's mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is to act as basely as the nine lepers, who after they had been cured of their leprosy, returned not to give thanks unto the healing Lord.
To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master's service.
To bless God for mercies received is also the way to benefit our fellow-men; 'the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.' Others who have been in like circumstances shall take comfort if we can say, 'Oh! magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together; this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.' Weak hearts will be strengthened, and drooping saints will be revived as they listen to our 'songs of deliverance.' Their doubts and fears will be rebuked, as we teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They too shall 'sing in the ways of the Lord,' when they hear us magnify His holy name. Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels pray not, but they cease not to praise both day and night; and the redeemed, clothed in white robes, with palm-branches in their hands, are never weary of singing the new song, 'Worthy is the
C.H. Spurgeon (Morning by Morning, Oct. 30, p. 304)
3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
5 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
"It is idolatry, not only to worship a false god, but the true God in a false manner"
Thomas Watson (The Ten Commandments, Banner of Truth, Carlisle, 1981, pgs. 26, 27).
1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it , and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.
"America is not experiencing revival today as a nation. If anything, we are in the midst of a false revival--another reason to question the validity of much church music which has resulted from it. How can great congregational songs be produced in such a spiritually dead climate? Only as God sends genuine revival to individuals or individual churches can we experience times of real spiritual awakening. This has been and always will be the catalyst for composing the great congregational songs that will stand for generations to come. Someone once said, 'A great hymn is not something that has been manufactured for the market, but it is a creation of the soul who has had communion with God'. " (Unknown).
Tim Fisher (Tim Fisher is founder and president of Sacred Music Services in Greenville, SC., quoted from the article, Where Are the Great Congregational Songs of Our Century? Part 2)
Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the LORD: for great is the glory of the LORD.
"The unspoken but increasingly common assumption of today's Christendom is that worship is primarily for us--to meet our needs. Such worship services are entertainment focused, and the worshipers are uncommitted spectators who are silently grading the performance. From this perspective preaching becomes a homiletics of consensus--preaching to felt needs--man's conscious agenda instead of God's. Such preaching is always topical and never textual. Biblical information is minimized, and the sermons are short and full of stories. Anything and everything that is suspected of making the marginal attender uncomfortable is removed from the service...Taken to the nth degree, this philosophy instills a tragic selfcenteredness. That is, everything is judged by how it affects man. This terribly corrupts one's theology."
Kent Hughes - Senior Pastor of the College Church in Wheaton, Illinois
I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O LORD, will I sing.
"Everything in God's dealings with us may fittingly become the theme of song, and we have not viewed it aright until we feel we can sing about it. We ought as much to bless the Lord for the judgment with which he chastens our sin, as for the mercy with which he forgives it; there is as much love in the blows of his hand as in the kisses of his mouth. Upon a retrospect of their lives instructed saints scarcely know which to be most grateful for---the comforts which have cheered them, or the afflictions which have purged them."
CH Spurgeon--(Treasury of David, Vol. 2, p.404)
1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.
2 The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein.
3 His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.
4 He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.
"The rule for every aspect of worship given by the apostle Paul (whether singing or hearing the Word) is -- 'Let all things be done unto edifying' (see 1 Corinthians 14.26 ). The word edifying (in its various forms) is Paul's key word in worship texts. It refers to the erection of a building, but Paul uses it exclusively to mean the building up of the understanding. Every element of worship must be understood, to be valid. We are spiritually moved, not by melody, beauty or spectacle, but by what we understand."
Peter Masters -- (from his article "Worship Is For Edifying")
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
"Well, Scripture makes clear that worship is something that we do, not just something we attend. It is not merely an issue for the pastor and other ministers. It is not just an issue for the musicians and those who will plan the service. It is an issue for the entire congregation, for worship is something we do together. It is our corporate and common responsibility to worship God as He desires."
Al Mohler-- president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky (The Whole Earth Is Full of His Glory: The Recovery of Authentic Worship, Part One, taken from a series on his website - www.AlbertMohler.com)
Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.
"Happy is the heart which finds its joy in the commands of God, and makes obedience its recreation. When religion is set to music it goes well. When we sing in the ways of the Lord it shows that our hearts are in them. Ours are pilgrim psalms, songs of degrees; but they are such as we may sing throughout eternity; for the statutes of the Lord are the psalmody of heaven itself.
Saints find horror in sin, and harmony in holiness. The wicked shun the law, and the righteous sing of it. In past days we have sung the Lord's statutes, and in this fact we may find comfort in present affliction. Since our songs are so very different from those of the proud, we may expect to join a very different choir at the last, and sing in a place far removed from their abode."
CH Spurgeon -- Treasury of David (Vol. 2, p. 132)
28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
29 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
"Worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose -- and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin."
William Temple (1881-1944) "Readings in St. John's Gospel"
By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.
"It is a common misconception of evangelism that worship is evaluated by whether or not one "gets a blessing." Worship is first giving to God; any really significant "blessing" we may receive will be the result of that self-giving. It is proper to ask the people of God, the full congregation as well as the "appointed" musicians: What has it cost you to offer to God your "sacrifice of praise?"
Donald P. Hustad -- Jubilate! Church in the Evangelical Tradition ( p.74, Hope Publishing Company, 1981.)
And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; 11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
"Perhaps contemporary believers put too much emphasis on Christian rather than Christ. When we focus on man, we are frustrated for no man is untouched by sin. The problem with so much of contemporary Christian music (CCM) is that the focus is on the contemporary Christian. It is argued, "We need to tailor our music and message to the problems of today's world. We need to reach out to people where they are." Although these may be sincere statements, our attention needs to be on the unchangeable Christ and His Word. This does not engender a disregard for the lost; rather, it gives the unsaved world an opportunity to see correctly the contrast between their ways (of the flesh) and our ways (of the Spirit). The more excellent our methods, the greater the contrast. Philippians 1:10 reminds us, "That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ."
Tim Fisher -- "What is Christian Music?" (The Battle for Christian Music - Chapter 3 © 1992)
10 For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.
11 Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
"Being good, he is said to be ready to forgive: being great, he works wonders: we may blend the two, for there is no wonder so wonderful as the pardon of our transgressions. All that God does or makes has wonder in it... Our God is not to be worshipped as one among many good and true beings, but as God alone; and his gospel is not to be preached as one of several saving systems, but as the one sole way of salvation. Lies can face each other beneath one common dome; but in the temple of truth the worship is one and indivisible."
C.H. Spurgeon -- Treasury of David (Vol. 1, pp.102-103)
22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
"True Christian musicians must realize that paramount to the issue of popularity is the overriding demand for ministry. Even if we have the right music standards and prepare for a quality performance, it means nothing if there is no ministry involved. The true Christian performer is first and foremost a minister, and as such has certain restrictions on his lifestyle and behavior. In this context character, attitude, and example must be placed above talent, style, and marketability.
We know that the priests prepared well for their musical duties. We can be sure that their musical style was pleasing to God--yet God rejected their performance on the basis of their character. Amos 5 lists God's many grievances against the priesthood, and none of these complaints had to do with musical problems or performance styles. It came back to the heart of the performer. God revealed His attitude about the importance of music in worship in the Old Testament by entrusting it to the Levitical tribe. God considered the ministry of music as important as the ministry of the Word and sacrifice in the temple structure.
While I realize that we are under grace and not law in this time, yet we still have a marvelous picture, or example, to follow. Yes, we should practice as fervently as the example the Old Testament priests set for us; we should prepare and organize with as much thought. But if our hearts are far from God, He will not hear us. Just as quality preaching without the blessing of God is vain oration, so quality music without the presence of God is nothing more than showmanship!
Tim Fisher -- ("Our Greatest Threat" reprinted from Church Music Dynamics Vol. 5/Number 6. Nov./Dec. 1995 )
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.
"We have come full circle. From the beginning of time there was music. Even before man existed, Scripture speaks of the "morning stars singing together
" (Job 38:7); and long after the world and mortal man have ceased to exist, there will be singing around the throne of the Lamb. Music is not optional in the New Testament church. Hymns of praise are the natural outpouring of joyful Christian hearts.
Since the Bible has so much to say about music and praise, we need to be diligent in studying the Word of God to learn from its teachings, and thus praise God for His marvelous revelation. John Wesley summed it up well when he said, 'Sing all. See that you join the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing'."
Tim Fisher - Who Should Be Singing? "Reprinted" from Church Music Dynamics Volume 2, Number 6 - Nov/Dec 1992
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.
"Worship is an act of the understanding applying itself to the knowledge of the excellency of God... It is also an act of the will, whereby the soul adores and reverences His majesty, is ravished with His amiableness (friendship), embraceth His goodness, enters itself into intimate communion with this most lovely object, and pitcheth all its affections upon Him"
Stephen Charnock -- The Works of Stephen Charnock, Vol.1 p.298.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
"Most every use of the word worship in the Bible is as a verb, never as an adjective. Worship is an action that we consciously will to do. Both the Hebrew (shachah) and Greek (proskuneo) words most commonly translated worship (over 90% of related references) mean "to bow or prostrate one's self." It is a response to God's infinite majesty and power as He reveals Himself to finite man. I say all of this to point out that the process of worship has nothing to do with music. Music may be a part of worship--certainly that is true--but worship is not a result of music; it is a result of God's revelation."
Worship is Not a Style
by Tim Fisher
"Reprinted" from Church Music Dynamics Volume 5, Number 5 - Sept/Oct. 1995
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
"One of Britain's pioneers of new worship wrote in a magazine article the following sentiments. He recalled how, as a young man, he once wearily rose in his pew at the beginning of a (traditional) morning service --
' . . . resigned to a miserable morning, and thought to myself how dreadful it was that the hymn we were singing had so many verses. Most of the lines made no sense to me at all. Worse still, there were three more hymns like this before the meeting was finished! The whole thing was dreadfully boring. I tried my best to inject feeling into the 'worship', but it was like squeezing a shriveled orange for the last drop of juice, only to be disappointed when nothing came. Worst of all, I kept thinking over what the pastor had said at the start of the service. He told us that we would spend eternity engaged in worship. I couldn't think of a more dreadful prospect. Surely that would be eternal endurance, not eternal life!'
The writer is frank. He is not saying that he found himself in a spiritually unsound or poorly conducted service. He caricatures any traditional worship service. He found, he tells us, liberty and enjoyment in new songs and music which could stir his passions and allow him liberty for the uninhibited expression of his feelings. Leading exponents of new worship now speak strongly against hymns as too cerebral and complex. They want almost entirely choruses, because these, with their minimal truth content, do not get in the way of the music and its effect upon the emotions. They say that 'meaning' obscures 'feeling'!"
Peter Masters - Pastor of Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England
(quoted from article "Throwing Out the Principles" in the Issues Noticeboard)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
"There is no correct worship among evil thoughts"
Dr. Manuel J. Seymour, Sr.
For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
"Jehovah is great in power and dominion, great in mind and act; nothing mean (lacking, inadequate) or narrow can be found in him or his acts, in all things he is infinite. Praise should be proportionate to its object, therefore let it be infinite when rendered unto the Lord. We cannot praise him too much, too often, too zealously, too carefully, too joyfully. He deserves that nothing in his worship should be little, but all the honour rendered unto him should be given in largeness of heart, with the utmost zeal for his glory."
C.H. Spurgeon -- (Treasury of David, Vol. 2, p.338 )
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