Rediscovering the Psalms

Joe Holland wrote an article over at Reformation 21 about how the Evangelical Church is rediscovering the Psalms. In fact there is a worship conference this year that has this as its main theme.

In this article, Joe explains how he was introduced to Psalm singing. He explains the benefits of Psalm singing and then direction on how to learn to sing Psalms. Finally he makes an observation about the use of hymns and psalms in the church.

You can check out Joe’s blog, Mining Grace, HERE. I’m sure I will be drawing from other articles of his as well. He posts on a host of helpful and relevant topics (like his daily Bible reading considerations).

You can check out his article, Rediscovering the Psalms, HERE.

In conclusion of this post I’d like to share how I was introduced to Psalm singing.

In 1998 I moved to Grand Rapids, MI, to attend a Bible College. I recall sitting next to a guy Randall Pederson, who always had a Puritan book with him (and who later co-authored, Meet the Puritans, with Dr. Beeke). Starving for good preaching, since I attended a church that was going through a 10-part series on Y2K and Left Behind, I asked him where he worshipped. He was a member of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Church. I decided to visit, and not only was I convicted by the preaching, but when it came time to worship in song, I noticed in their “hymnbook” that it was a Psalm – an imprecatory Psalm at that, Ps. 83! Not only was it a novel idea to me at the time to sing Scripture, but my heart swelled as we called upon the Lord to “smite Thy enemies today who in their pride combine!” And how fitting was this, for Dr. Beeke’s text was Matt 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” The Psalms were relevant to the promise of Christ, and the Church was acknowledging Christ’s power against His enemies even today. This was much more powerful, more fitting, more biblical than “Lord I Lift Your Name on High.” And so my first experience was both a worship and a reflective experience.

The next week I visited another church through a mutual friend and here too they used the Psalms. This church was seeking to make a transition to exclusive psalmody which I had never heard of. There was a series preached on worship, by Rev. Ray Lanning (who is my minister today). He was explaining the Biblical doctrine of worship from 2 Kings 17. How God carried the Northern Kingdom into exhile mainly because they had introduced innovations to His prescribed worship for them. When the Assyrian king allowed other Gentiles to move into the Northern territory, God used lions to devour some of them. Wanting to know what manner of God this was they inquired of the Assyrian king, who sent the Jewish priests to go teach them how to worship their God. Well they of course taught them the wrong way, and so the writer sarcastically states that “these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.” Well of course this was the institution of Samaritan worship, which Jesus rebukes in John 4, when He says to the Samaritan woman at the well, “Ye worship ye know not what.

Rev. Lanning wrote an article as well on Psalm singing in the New Testament, drawing from the texts Eph 5:19, and Col 3:16. I then understood the context and content of these passages. Psalm singing was consistent in the New Testament with the ordinance in the Old Testament. My second experience was borth an educational  and enlightened experience.

I am thankful for the inspired Hymnbook that the Lord has given to His Church, and Lord willing this will be a theme I take on this week at Endeavoring Relevant Progress.


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