Feeling Down? Time for Praise Songs.

Apr 14, 2010 No Comments by

By Ron Ross (14th April, 2010)
Life is turbulent for so many today. Many experience the instability of extreme ups and downs. In the midst of the battle the search for answers can cover a wide spectrum of possibilities. When writing about it all, the Jerusalem-based analyst Michael Freund says, “The only place Israel can look is up!” That is key advice for us all.

I have witnessed the Jewish passion for the Word. When the world targets Israel or the Jewish people, the Bible is their reliable source of inspiration and comfort.

You and I are blessed by bible personalities, mostly Jewish, who also coped with tremendous difficulties.

One of the most powerful weapons which inspires and energizes Israel is their commitment to praise. The Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible is called `Tehillim’ which means `praise songs.’ They were songs accompanied by `stringed instruments’ but over time the definition settled simply on `praise songs.’

Not all the writers of the psalms are identified. Some that are, include, David who it is thought wrote 73 psalms. David also invented some musical instruments. Asaph, Korah and Solomon are also among the identified writers.

I want to single out Psalm 89 as a source of inspiration. The great theologian Charles H. Spurgeon introduced his teaching on Psalm 89 this way:

“We have now reached the majestic Covenant Psalm, which, according to the Jewish arrangement closes the third book of the Psalms. It is the utterance of a believer, in presence of great national disaster, pleading with his God, urging the grand argument of covenant engagements, and expecting deliverance and help, because of the faithfulness of Jehovah.”

In a sweeping summary, Spurgeon points to the summer and winter to be found through the 52 verses. (One for every week of the year, he points out).

The poetic Ethan begins with the faithfulness of God. He emphasizes God will fulfill His covenant promise to David because God cannot deny Himself. As Ethan proclaims the character of God his heart is filled with praise. Moments ago his focus was on the circumstances facing David and the people.

After establishing the bottom-line, which was the Almighty power and strength of God he goes from praise, to problems and finally to petition. It is truly a sweeping change of pace.

Ethan is mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31; 1 Chronicles 15:17-18 and described as a man of great wisdom surpassed only by the legendary Solomon.

At the time Ethan cried out to God, David must have been in a great battle or suffering some debilitation. David was certainly up against it in some way. It was a serious situation and enough to stir Ethan.

He looked on this struggle and turned his mind to the great things God promised David. Those promises given to David seem impossible to achieve seems to be how Ethan sums it up.

We sometimes forget David had a humble start. He was a shepherd and the promises made concerning him were grandiose. But right now David the King appeared to have little going for him and his loyal fellow worshiper took the situation to the right place.

We have all known an Ethan-moment. This is when we question God and ask “HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE YOU REIGN VICTORIOUSLY? The enemy seems to be winning? Why God?”

We might even cry, `Where are you, Lord?’

This psalm speaks like it was written for today. The enemy is actively aggressive today around Israel. Terrorist groups are accumulating Qassam rockets and some may even have access to nuclear weapons in the new future. Where are the promises of God? But even more important, where is the God of the promises?

Faith does not come from the media or news reports or from wild rhetoric, but it comes from God. That inspired faith begins for us with worship.

It is important to understand, worship goes beyond singing. In the Psalms we learn to worship when dealing with the law, or with history, or when we observe the power and certainty of biblical prophecy being fulfilled.

Worship should be identified as something we do in the face of every day circumstances. Have you ever been so touched by the beauty of a tree, a flower, an animal or something as wondrous as the Grand Canyon or the beautiful Sydney Harbour?

The worshiper sees the hand of the Lord and worships the Creator who made things in so sweet and articulate detail.

Do you look for God in the news stories of the day? Do you see bible prophecy being fulfilled? Is God in control? Are you in awe as we see thousands of Jews returning to their land in direct fulfillment to the promise of God? Or do you even nod knowingly when you hear of increased incidents of anti-Semitism even now?

The faithful are steadfast even when crisis situations happen and they are not just dreamy wishful thinkers, they are people of faith. That faith does not come from thin air. It comes by standing on the Word.

Things are not necessarily what they seem.

We serve an awesome God and Ethan says it all in the closing verse: ‘Blessed be the Lord forevermore! Amen and Amen.’

Bible Blog

About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
No Responses to “Feeling Down? Time for Praise Songs.”

Leave a Reply