Psalm Singing


This has really been ministering to me lately. I love hearing the Psalms sung- God has wrapped all of the Christian experience up into 150 perfect songs. We should thank him for that!

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The United Presbyterian Psalter of 1912 is available for free download here. This is a copy from Harvard Divinity School and was the first reprint of 1913. This edition has a very nice introduction that gives some background of its making. It also has responsive readings in the back so that you can play ‘high church’ during family worship.

Psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law;
yea,
shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me to go in the path of thy commandments;
for therein do I delight.
Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity;
and quicken thou me in thy way.
Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
Turn away my reproach which I fear: f
or thy judgments are good.
Behold,
I have longed after thy precepts:
quicken me in thy righteousness.

God is pleased with the joy of His children. It is His will that they delight themselves, value the benefits, fully trust in His Word and in His promise, and jubilate, leap for joy, and sing His praises with joyful and singing lips. Cheerfulness and joyfulness are a delight to Him. “But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” (Psa. 22:3-4); “Thou meetest him that rejoiceth” (Isa. 64:5). Is it your desire to do something which is pleasing to God? Is God’s nearness, His presence, and your familiar encounters with Him, your desire and your delight? Accustom yourself then to live joyfully by faith (II: 463-464).

The tune is Ajalon. The selection number in your UP Psalter is 140.

JG Vos was an interesting theologian. He was called the ‘people’s theologian’ because he believed that theology was for the common man; not for the ivory towers. I whole-heartily agree. He was also Christian Reformed as a child, and later became a Reformed Presbyterian, after his father began teaching at Princeton seminary (back when that meant something).

Here is his article on Christian worship. He deals with some of the objections to Psalm singing and answers them in a very pastoral and humble way. Our position on worship is not a popular one in today’s Christian milieu, which makes it all the more important to use care and a pastoral approach to dealing with these differences. If the position is biblical and offensive to some Christians; then the Scriptures should do the offending, not the messenger. I would recommend that you read it before the Lord’s Day.

Part of my internship is leading the “prayer and praise” during summer Wednesday evenings. We gather at the home of one of our members and sing and pray. We use the United Presbyterian Psalter of 1912 in our congregation so the following numbers correspond with this book of praise. Last week we went through ‘the Church’ in the Psalter and looked at some of the ways that she is described as well as some of her duties. This discussion and Psalm sing led to some very good prayer for the church and her faithfulness. We will be looking at some other themes as the summer continues. If you would like to join us feel free to email me and I will give you further directions. I hope that the following copy of the handout can be helpful to your own family worship or private worship.

THE USE OF CHURCH IN THE PSALTER

50: Diverse, faithful, everlasting.

63: Redeemed from adversity.

69: Secure, peaceful, and happy.

125: Regal, loved, and wedded.

205: Christ’s inheritance, saved by grace.

224: Fought against by God’s enemies.

260: Rejoices over God’s work on earth.

368: Shouts with joy and is Christ’s glory.

373/374: Indwelt by God & sings His praise.

375: Praises and blesses God’s name.

403: Built, cared for, and blessed of God.

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