Sing, Meditate, Be Glad

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“I will sing unto Yahweh as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet; I will be glad in Yahweh.” Psalm 104:33-34

Here is one of my favorite texts in all of the Bible. How precious are these words, and all of this psalm. Surely you can feel the exuberance of the psalmist in writing of our “very great” Creator (v. 1). Indeed, all creation loudly proclaims Yahweh’s praise (v. 24). Note in our text that we are to sing “to” the Lord, meditate “of” him, and be glad “in” him! Those little words describe experimental Christianity about as well as words possibly can. Correct? Surely, by the Holy Spirit’s blessing, you see this and feel its spiritual power!

The elect of God are not afraid to sing. They may not have great voices or have much harmony, but they still sing “to” the Redeemer (he’s our audience). We often “sing to the Lord” riding down the road, don’t we? We sing in our homes, we sing at work, as well as in church services with other believers. We humbly sing “as long as we live.” We cannot do otherwise.”Let those refuse to sing who never knew our God” (Isaac Watts). We cannot sing unless we truly know Christ! Without Christ we only sing the world’s ditties. But true children of God get excited about the songs of Zion, which bring joys, gladness, and holy rejoicing to God’s people beyond expression (1 Peter 1:8). Our meditation “of” the Savior is a daily delight, the psalmist calling it “sweet.” Holy meditation is never sour or boring, though some may think it is. For sure, John Newton was right when he wrote, “Solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion’s children know.” Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is known from quickened hearts!

“Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19). The psalms are full of Yahweh’s praise (like Psalm 104), so we gladly sing them. We regularly sing hymns like “How Great Thou Art,” and “Holy, Holy, Holy.” What a wonderful spiritual song is “Amazing Grace,” one of the most beloved of God’s children. How precious are the “spiritual songs” of the Old Testament (Exodus 15, Deuteronomy 32, 1 Samuel 2, etc.). All true hymns truly praise “HIM” who is the Savior!

Come, poor sinners, come away;
In meditation sweet,
Let us go to Golgotha,
And kiss our Savior’s feet.

Him, your fellow-sufferer see;
He was in all things like to you.
Are you tempted? So was He.
Deserted? He was too.
                   Joseph Hart

Jesus, before Thy face I fall,
My Lord, My Life, my Hope, my All;
For I have nowhere else to flee,
No sanctuary, Lord, but Thee.
                       Samuel Medley

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A Scripture Meditation by W. F. Bell (1948-2018)

Above Our Reason

When we grapple with the wonders of God our minds are quickly blown by His “Divine Glories.” Isaac Watts (1674-1748), the hymn-writer and thinker, penned the hymn below about our Wondrous, Mysterious King. 

In addition to hymns, Watts wrote a text-book on logic with a lengthy title appropriately named Logic, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard Against Error in the Affairs of Religion and Human Life, as well as in the Sciences.

Watts’ Wikipedia page states, “This was first published in 1724, and its popularity ensured that it went through twenty editions.”  And later it states, “Isaac Watts’ Logic became the standard text on logic at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale; being used at Oxford University for well over 100 years.”

With this background on Watts, and his logician abilities, come feast on his hymn entitled:

The Divine Glories Above Our Reason

How wondrous great, how glorious bright,
Must our Creator be,
Who dwells amidst the dazzling light
Of vast infinity!

Our soaring spirits upwards rise
Toward the celestial throne;
Fain would we see the blessed Three,
And the Almighty One.

Our reason stretches all its wings,
And climbs above the skies;
But still how far beneath thy feet
Our grov’lling reason lies!

Lord, here we bend our humble souls,
And awfully adore;
For the weak pinions of our mind
Can stretch a thought no more.

Thy glories infinitely rise
Above our lab’ring tongue;
In vain the highest seraph tries
To form an equal song.

In humble notes our faith adores
The great mysterious King,
While angels strain their nobler powers,
And sweep the immortal string.

God the Thunderer

Isaac Watts (1674-1748) wrote this hymn during a strong thunderstorm. The storm reminded him of the power of God and His coming judgment.

He titled it “God the thunderer; or, The last judgment and hell” and then added the following note:

[Made in a great sudden storm of thunder, August 20, 1697.]

Sing to the Lord, ye heav’nly hosts,
And thou, O earth, adore;
Let death and hell through all their coasts
Stand trembling at his power.

His sounding chariot shakes the sky,
He makes the clouds his throne;
There all his stores of lightning lie,
Till vengeance darts them down.

His nostrils breathe out fiery streams
And from his awful tongue
A sovereign voice divides the flames,
And thunder roars along.

Think, O my soul! the dreadful day,
When this incensed God
Shall rend the sky, and burn the sea,
And fling his wrath abroad.

What shall the wretch the sinner do?
He once defied the Lord;
But he shall dread the Thund’rer now,
And sink beneath his word.

Tempests of angry fire shall roll
To blast the rebel worm,
And beat upon his naked soul,
In one eternal storm.

Behind the lines

We often sing of God’s grace, mercy, and love, but we should also sing of His attributes of justice, holiness, and wrath. For when we clearly see the later three, it makes the first three all the sweeter.

Some of Watts most loved hymns are, “Joy to the World,” “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” and “Alas! and Did my Savior Bleed.”

The Christian Classics Ethereal Library has made available a free PDF of the “Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts” and you can download it from their website. 

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