Preparing for Worship - July 7, 2019
Join us this Sunday as we continue in our series in the Psalms. This Sunday we look at Psalm 91, which was likely a psalm used during warfare. It expresses confidence that God will protect his people from every enemy and trouble. This Psalm is also quoted by Satan to Jesus as he suggests that he should throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple. His rationale is that the Scripture says that the angels will “bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.” This Psalm certainly applies to us as all Scripture is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. But how does it apply? It’s clear that God does, at times, allow us to strike our feet against stones in life. So how can both things be true? Join us as we attempt to unravel these mysteries. Here are the songs we’ll sing together:
1. Rejoice (Come and Stand Before Your Maker)
Style: This is a contemporary, up-tempo song that is perfect for a call to worship.
Song Info: This song was written as a collaborative effort between two of my favorite worship artists: Stuart Townend and Dustin Kensrue. It first appeared on Kensrue's 2013 album The Water and the Blood - in my opinion one of the greatest modern worship albums released in a long time. This song calls us to rejoice in the Lord, our maker. It leads us to sing and meditate on God's infinite perfections. It's appropriate here because we should come to God first with praise and adoration. Before we confess our sin, before we acknowledge our needs, before we make any requests we ought to first praise God and adore him for who he is.
2. Be Thou My Vision
Style: We will sing a contemporary version of this hymn that will be very familiar. The version we're singing is likely the most commonly known version. It is low-tempo and contemplative.
Song Info: This is a traditional Irish hymn of unknown authorship that probably dates to the eighteenth century, though possibly comes from the sixteenth century. This hymn has been translated into dozens of languages in its lifetime and remains one of the most popular hymns ever written. The subject matter is certainly appropriate for this moment in worship. The song is about asking and allowing God to be our "all in all". As we sing, we ask God to be our vision, our wisdom, our shield, our treasure, and our comfort. That we would ascribe all glory to God, look to him for all our needs, and find all of our desires fulfilled in him is the true heart of worship.
3. Great is thy faithfulness
Style: We will play this song in its traditional style. It is low-tempo and melodic.
Info: This popular hymn was written in America as a poem in 1923 by Thomas Chisholm. It was set to music shortly afterward by William Runyan. It is based on Lamentations 3:22-23 - "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." This truth was called to mind by the prophet Jeremiah after Jerusalem was destroyed and his people taken into captivity in Babylon. The faithfulness of God is called to mind in the midst of tragedy and punishment in order to inspire hope that God will again be gracious and will not leave his people even as he is chastising them.
4. We Will Feast In The House of Zion
Style: This is a contemporary, mid-tempo song that comes out of Nashville. It is prayerful and has a folk-rock flavor.
Song info: Appearing on her 2015 release Psalms, this song is a favored tune from Sandra McCracken. Since its publication is has enjoyed such honor as being The Gospel Coalition's official anthem for their 2015 annual conference. The entire album, including this song, was wrought out of a season of grief for McCracken as she struggled through the dissolution of her marriage due to infidelity. Many of the songs on Psalms are lament songs - songs expressing grief and pain to God. This is appropriate because most of the Psalms are Psalms of lament. Songs like this teach us how to direct our grief, anger, and sorrow toward God who is our healer.
This song is not based on any one Psalm but draws on themes from many of the "songs of Zion" that are found in the Psalter such as Psalms 46, 48, 76, 84, 87, and 122. This song also draws on themes found in Psalms of confidence such as Psalms 115, 125, and 129.
5. For the Cause
Style: This is a contemporary hymn with an upbeat tempo.
Song Info: This song has recently appeared on Stuart Townend’s 2018 release Courage. This song focuses on the mission of the Son of God and how he continues to carry out his mission through his disciples on earth.
See you Sunday!