Chapter 47: Sing with Intelligence
To the chief Musician, A Psalm for the sons of Korah.
“O CLAP your hands… shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (Psalms 47:1)
I hope that no one takes offense to this post, because my thoughts are only those of trying to understand why certain people or groups praise God the way they do.
This first verse in this Psalm clearly says to clap your hands and shout unto God. I am sure that this is where some of the Bible and Evangelical churches get the idea to have loud music and to scream while throwing their hands in the air clapping ‘praising’ Jesus. Don’t get me wrong, I am not insulting these people. I am a firm believer that everyone has freedom of religion and freedom to worship the Almighty in any way they wish. In fact, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” (Articles of Faith #11) I just don’t understand why these groups do this, and for this purpose I am bringing this Psalm to the spotlight, to break it down and understand.
Should we rejoice and triumph in the Lord? Absolutely! But this very same Psalm tells us that we should “…sing ye praises with understanding.” (Psalms 47:7), this is where my constructive criticism begins…
I honestly do not believe that most of the praises are done with understanding. I do believe that most praises to the Lord are actually made with misunderstanding and ignorance. I am not however attacking the churches that praise God in this manner, because I do believe you can shout with joy toward the heavens, and God will listen! However, as respect for the Lord, I don’t believe shouting and screaming his name is appropriate.
Joshua mentions that we “…shall not shout…” (Joshua 6:10) and Isaiah speaks of the screaming man in the streets; “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” (Isaiah 42:2) Elijah even mocked the prophets and priests that worshiped Baal, because they were also screaming to a ‘god’ without much understanding; “…Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awakend.” (1 Kings 18:27)
Elijah knew that they were worshiping a false god and that he knew they were making fools of themselves. In the very next chapter of Kings, we learn why Elijah was mocking these people. Elijah was commanded by the Lord to go upon a mountain and wait for the Lords instruction. Elijah himself was probably a little shocked that “… the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord: but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Elijah was waiting for the Lord to give him instruction, and he too was probably shocked that the strong winds, earthquake and fire were not actually the voice or the instruction from the Lord. Instead the instruction the Lord was going to give him was from a “still small voice”. So what does this tell us? The Lord does not make huge spectacles to answer our prayers nor will he speak with thunder from the heavens… the Lord will use his spirit to speak with a “still small voice”.
I sincerely believe that the ‘spirit’ people feel from loud music and screaming is adrenaline. Let’s be clear, that the Lord CAN speak to us in any way He wishes. But He does not need to yell at us, and He is most definitely not deaf. He can hear us! I think that when we scream and yell we lose the reverence that the Lord demands. After all, would we scream at our earthly parents? No. So why scream at our Heavenly parents?
When we sing and shout praises, we must make sure that we understand completely what we are saying. We must sing with intelligence, reverence and joy towards our God, and our Heavenly Father. Either way, He will listen. But I get a feeling that He enjoys a nice, calm, light hearted conversation of intellectual value. Speak with the Lord, prayer is our TWO-WAY communication with Him. We speak, He listens, He responds and WE act!
Chapter 48: God Never Changes
A Song and Psalm for the sons of Korah.
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God… Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion…” (Psalms 48:1-2)
Great is the Lord and great is the city of Zion. They are the joy of the whole earth, and shall be established forever.
We are also reminded that God never changes and is there for us always, and forever. “For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death” (Psalms 48:14)
God NEVER CHANGES, He is the “…same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)