Sunday, April 17, 2016


"Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
Sing the glory of His name;
Say to God, 'How awesome are Thy works!'
Because of the greatness of Thy power
Thine enemies will give feigned obedience to Thee.
All the earth will worship Thee,
And will sing praises to Thee;
They will sing praises to Thy name."
(verses 1-4)
Shout & Sing Praises & Worship

We live in a marvelous time when all we have to do is turn our radio on or, if you are talented with a remote (and you old folks like me know what I'm talking about), you can hit the button, and have worship music on tap to flow through the day.  I must admit I like quiet, the singing of birds with the occasional distant hum of someone's lawn mower.  Yet, whenever I drive or whenever  my son or man are home, more than likely music will be on. 

It is no little thing to me that my teenage son prefers contemporary Christian music above all others.  I mean I like country music with its harmonies, and there are some other worldly tunes which are considered to be good, but the only question we face at our house is which Christian music station to turn to.  Remember that old song, "Turn Your Radio On"?  Yep.  That's us.  There is so much talent out there which we can tune into, people like David who have written lyrics and melodies to praise God.  We can sing along whenever we wish.  Amazing.  We are blessed to join in singing, "How amazing (KJV, how terrible)are Thy works." 

(Forgive us that when we go to Nashville, that we aren't hitting the music scene.  I mean, we might buy a bluegrass CD to give a little flavor to our wanderings, but we don't care too much about seeing where Johnny Cash or Elvis--and we are fans--got there records produced.")

"In all His doings towards the children of men he is terrible, and to be eyed with a holy awe."
(Matthew Henry)
"Come and see the works of God,
Who is awesome in His deeds towards the sons of men."
(verse 5)
"The joys of our fathers were our joys, and we ought to look upon ourselves as sharers in them."
"Let every man lay God's wonderful dealings with us to heart."
(Adam Clarke)

"He turned the sea into dry land;
They passed through the river on foot;
There let us rejoice in Him!
He rules by His might forever;
His eyes keep watch on the nations;
Let no the rebellious exalt themselves."
(verses 6-7)
Throughout Scripture, we are reminded of the miracle of the parting of the waters as the Hebrew children escaped.  "This was plain miracle; no human art or contrivance could do this.  Even in the bed of the waters they did rejoice in Him."(A.C.)  

In 1812 the New Madrid caused the mighty Mississippi to flow backwards.  Eyewitness account said, "rudely awakened after 2 am and found their boat going upstream at 'the speed of a fast horse--had to hold my hat on'-while trees continued collapsing in the river."  Some eyewitnesses reported 6' to 12' vertical walls in the river for a short time and large holes (12'-33') mid-river with water pouring into it.  'Underground horrible thunder and lightning."  It was felt 1,000 miles away, from Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia  rippling out to North Carolina and more.  "In a moment, so great a wave come up the river that I never seen one like it at sea.  It carried us back north, up-stream, for more than a mile...We believe we must surely die."  God has power in His hands, lest we not forget. 

Perhaps we are feeling a little shaky ourselves with tender-footing around walking through a bed of waters that  is a little scary.  But God is providing a way.  "There,"  right there, on the spot walking through on dry land in the middle of walls of water, "There" we are told to "rejoice in Him!"  Were there some scaredy cats among the Israelites who might have clogged up the escape route saying, "I'm too afraid?"  Let us be carried along by the praise of others then, if our own is caught in our throats.  Let us remember what God has done in the past to help us face our futures.
Do you know what I mean?

"Bless our God, O peoples,
And sound His praise abroad,
Who keeps us in life,
And does not allow our feet to slip.
For Thou hast tried us, O God;
Thou hast refined us as silver is refined."
(verse 8-10)
"He holdest our soul in life." (KJV)
"...His providence is a continued creation.
It is not existence, but happiness,
that deserves the name of life."
(Matthew Henry)

The metaphor of refining silver is used here : "afflictions and trials of various kinds are represented as a furnace where ore is melted, and a crucible where it is refined.  And this metaphor is used especially to represent cases where there is doubt concerning the purity of the metal...So God is said to try the Israelites that He might know what was in them." (Adam Clarke)
"This will be our unspeakable advantage, for thus we are made partakers of God's holiness." (Matthew Henry)
Yet it is also said, "He suffers not our foot to be moved."  "And does not allow our feet to slip."
This brings to mind when parents are holding a child's hand and suddenly picks them up and swings them over a puddle so that they may not splash or slip.  The point is, hang on to God's hand.

Red Sea un-parted
"We went through fire and through water;
Yet Thou didst bring us out into a place of abundance."
(verse 12)
"and thou out lede us fra tribulacyon"
the old Psalter.
I like the view from the other side, don't you?  You know, when He "out lede us fra tribulacyon." I much prefer looking back on "travails" then seeing them out in front of me.  "Thou didst bring us out into a place of abundance," "into a wealthy place into a well-watered place (so the word is), like the gardens of the Lord, and therefore fruitful.: (M.H.)  These are the green pastures that David writes of in the 23rd Psalm, meant to restore our soul.
"I shall pay my vows with my lips."
(verse 12)
"Come and hear, all who fear God,
And I will tell of what He has done for my soul.
I cried to Him with my mouth,
And He was extolled with my tongue."
(verses 16-17)


(Matthew Henry)
"Christ is our temple, to whom we must bring our spiritual gifts,
 and by whom they are sanctified...
The incense typifies Christ's intercession." (M. H.)
This is the heart of Christ towards us.
"If I regard wickedness (iniquity) in my heart,
The Lord will not hear; 
But certainly God has heard;
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. 
Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer,
Nor His lovingkindness (mercy) from me."
(verses 18-20)

"It was not my prayer that fetched the deliverance,
but His mercy that sent it."

Is it not a comfort to know that God will hear,
will heed the voice of our prayers,
will not turn away from them?
How could we indulge in wickedness,
or love iniquity in our hearts when so much better is offered?

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