The following is excerpted from The Way of Life Commentary Series, Psalms, which is scheduled for publication in the second half of 2023.
God’s Word exhorts and commands the redeemed to sing praises. Note that we are to sing “unto OUR King.” To be worshipped properly, God must be known personally through redemption in Christ Jesus. It is amazing that God would enjoy the singing of fallen creatures, even in their redemption. We are so frail in “the body of this death”; our voices are so imperfect; our conceptions of God and the things of God so limited; we are so affected by the “old man.” Yet God has mercifully condescended to and adapted Himself to our frailty. He receives us “in Christ” and for Christ’s sake.
“Sing” is repeated five times in these two verses. Sing, sing, sing, sing, sing! God loves sacred singing issuing from redeemed hearts. The largest book of the Bible is a song book. “Sing” and “song” are mentioned 115 times in the Psalms. Two major passages in the New Testament epistles instruct the churches about singing (Eph. 5:18-19; Col. 3:16).
God made man’s amazing singing voice, and like all things, man’s singing voice is of him, and through him, and to him, and for His glory (Ro. 11:36). In this present world, the most beautiful voices, typically, are devoted to self-pleasure, self-glorification, and unholiness. It is idolatry. Let God’s people refuse to follow the way of the world. Let them use their God-given voices for their Redeemer’s glory and pleasure. Let them never use their voices to satisfy the lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. Let them never seek to glorify themselves as an “American idol.” Let them, rather, present their bodies, including their voices, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God (Ro. 12:1).
The individual believer is to sing unto God. The Christian family is to sing unto God. The New Testament assembly is to sing unto God.
For the redeemed of the Lord, this is not tedious. It is not dead religion. At the very thought of God’s greatness and goodness, the redeemed saint is stirred to praise his God.
There are countless reasons to praise God, but in Ps. 47:7, God’s sovereign authority and power is emphasized. “For God is the King of all the earth.”
Note that we are to sing praises “with understanding.” This is what Paul taught, as well. “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (1 Co. 14:15). In the New Testament assembly, the congregational singing must not be a mindless routine. The songs and hymns must be chosen with wise purpose. They must have solid theological content, and the people must be well instructed in the things of God so they can sing with understanding to God and to one another.
For more on this, see:
“Congregational Singing According to Ephesians and Colossians” "Lessons for Church Music From David’s Temple Worship"
“Singing the Psalms"
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