This is not a post about exclusive Psalmody (only using the Psalms in Church worship), I’m sure there will be a post on that somewhere along the line.
Although I would much rather praise God in song by singing to him the songs he gave us through David, and others, in the book of Psalms.
That is not to say that I do not enjoy singing and hearing hymns/contemporary worship music. I don’t think many will doubt the depths of beauty, pain or joy that is to be found in songs like “Amazing grace” and “Jehovah Tsidkenu”.
And the mixing of Psalms and other songs in worship is not a reason for divides in Churches or to divide a fellowship of Christians.
This post is more of a personal post giving reason as to why I do prefer Psalms over other forms of sung worship, as always comments are welcome.
Please note this post is more my own thoughts than anything else, test what I say against scripture.
The first, and most important reason that I prefer Psalms to ‘Worship music’ is that the Psalms are the very words of God. My minister the Rev Iain T Campbell put it like this :
“When we look at the Psalms we see a conversation taking place. Firstly it is God speaking through his living word. Secondly the words of the Psalms are the words of the church pleading with, and giving praise to God…”
Gods word is complete, and yes he may still guide us in what to say and write, but it is not in the same way as it was with the Psalmists. Amongst other extraordinary things, God used the psalmists to show the Christ that was to come, not just show that he was coming. But they also described his suffering and death ,to see this click here.
They were being directly led by the Holy Spirit in order to convey the exact words of the living God.
It is not the same for us, like I said before of course God still leads us, he leads the minister as he writes his sermon the same as he leads the songwriter who writes praises to him. But our material is not being written for the Bible , it is not infallible and we will so often go wrong, or not convey the right things in the right way.
Secondly, whilst reading through even one Psalm we are presented with such a wide variety of situations and responses to these situations, both from God and man.
We get to see both the human side and the heavenly side of the situation. Modern day song writers can only talk from the side of man, as we said before the Spirit of God is not leading them the same way as he was leading the authors of Scripture. The Psalms were written by God, our modern songs are written to God.
Thirdly, in the Psalms we get to see large amounts of time by pass in the life of the Psalmist. In the Psalms That David wrote we can see him going from praising God to being in deepest sin. We can see him going from ruling victorious to being in fear of Saul or of his own Son.
And yes we can get this in worship songs to a certain extent, but more so with the psalms , we can see the writers life’s develop, and see how God works in and through their life.
Fourthly, the Psalms don’t just deal with the happy smiley side of our walk with God. They look at every part of the Christians walk. They deal with Gods Sovereignty, his wrath, his hatred of sin and his just judgements. They also deal with the lowest times in Christian life, sadness, backsliding, faithlessness and hopelessness. Psalms 50 and 80 being examples that spring to mind.
Other worship songs, at least the more modern worship songs, tend to only look at the happy and easy going side of Christian life. They tend not to show all sides of the Christians experience.
And lastly, there’s the fact that you can’t get bored of a Psalm. My current favourite worship song “10 thousand reasons” by Matt Redman is a great song, its based on the opening verses of Psalm 103.
But I’m slowly growing bored with it, as we all do when we hear a song too much.
It’s simply not so with the Psalms, take Psalm 23 – how many times has that been sung by generations of brothers and sisters ? But it still holds an incredible poignancy and attraction. It is the same with all the Psalms, this is simply because the Psalms are the word of God. And the Word of God is living, it will never become irrelevant or boring.
The question must then be asked:
“Why do many young Christians prefer other worship songs over Psalms ? ”
The answer, I think, is simple. The Psalms are views as some deeply unattainable complicated doctrinal statements, and yes the Psalms are packed full of incredible Biblical doctrine, but they are also the simple songs of simple men who lived and breathed, experienced pain and loss, passed through the mountains and valleys of faith and who simply loved their Lord.
So that’s my few thoughts on Psalms compared to other forms of sung worship. But as with all things concerning God it is the heart that is of most importance.
We can sing the most generic and simple worship song with a humble heart and our eyes set on our Lord and Saviour. Just the same as we can sing the most beautiful Psalm with no real care or with a distracted mind.
God looks on our heart and our real intentions.
If you do find the psalms a bit complicated have a wee read of the same Psalm in the “Sing Psalms” version. Same psalms , but written in a slightly easier way :