FREE THEME WEEK – Psalms!
This week we’ve been looking at seven different types of psalms, musical prayers that have been used for thousands of years first by the people of Israel and then by the Church as part of our worship and devotional life. The first two types of psalms we looked at were wisdom and royal psalms. The second two types of psalms were lament and imprecatory, these were a bit more challenging- not all of the psalms are about happy themes.
Today we are going to look at much happier psalms, the psalms of thanksgiving. These are, perhaps, some of the better known psalms as they speak joyfully in praise of God.
The very last psalm, ends the psalms in a resounding crescendo of praise and thanksgiving”:
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. These psalms speak for themselves about the joy of worshipping our great and powerful God. God is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.
Romans 1:21 gives the consequences of one who fails to offer to God the thanksgiving God deserves: “ For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” How tragic to fail to give to God the glory and thanks he so richly deserves. A number of Biblical theologians see in this passage Paul’s reference to the rebellion of Adam and Eve in the garden, who failed to show thanks to God for the good gifts of creation and chose instead to listen to the voice of the serpent calling them to aspire to be like god. Failure to give thanks to God is the original sin of humanity. It may also be referencing Israel’s original story of the Exodus. After God frees Israel from slavery in Egypt, they enter the wilderness, and while God is giving his instructions to Moses on Mt. Sinai, his people are down below making a golden calf to worship. They trade the worship of God for idols made by human hands. When we choose to worship anything in place of the one true God we are guilty of idolatry.
Throughout the psalms we are called to reject the original sin of not giving thanks to God and to worship God alone. Worship is one reason that the Church gathers regularly. We are not to forsake gathering as the Church for the purpose of worshiping God (Hebrews 10:24-25). The psalms provide a rich and extensive songbook for us to use in our worship, both as a Church when we gather and in our times of private worship. I read the psalms everyday as it helps me to join that several thousand year old congregation that joins together to worship and give thanks to God.