Psalms 147

Steve Viars November 6, 1993 Psalms 147:

- this Psalm, just like many of the others we've studied,
   brings up a new subject for us to think through biblically
   - the subject of music.

- let's read the psalm together - READ Ps. 147

- before we look at the verses individually, I believe it
   would be wise for us to back up and ask:

Why do we need to study what the Scripture says about music?
  (when we talk about music, we're talking about all forms of
   music -- music in public worship <which is probably what's
   emphasized here>, music in our homes//cars, music that we
   sing to ourselves, etc.

INPUT?

1) Because of what a person's music reveals.

    - one writer on these verses said, "Different types of
      music originate from various types of emotions."
    - INPUT - how would you evaluate that phrase?

        - (there may be an element of truth in it, but it
           misses the more important point that "different
           types of music originate from different types of
           theology.")

        - you can tell much about a person's view of God by
            what their music.
        - you can also tell much about a person's view of
           themselves.

    - that’s why it's so important to evaluate the words of a
       song to determine whether they're accurate
       theologically.
    - that’s why it's so important to be sure that the music
       that accompanies the words do not fight against the
       message the words are trying to communicate.

    - bad music reflects bad theology.
    - feeling oriented music reflects a feeling oriented
        approach to life.
    - shallow music reflects a shallow approach to life
    - depressing music reflects a depressed outlook on life.

  - the point is, a person's music reveals a lot about them.

2) Because many of us developed wrong/bad music habits as
    unbelievers.

    - one of the most important principles of NT growth is
       the Put off/Put on principle.
    - The first step in benefiting from this principle is
       being willing to identify what needs to be put off.
     - Prov. 28:13 - He that covers...

     - since most of us "came into the Christian life with
       some bad/wrong musical baggage", the question now is -
        - what are we going to do about it?

     - INPUT - what should be some answers to that question?

        - be willing to admit it
        - be enthusiastic about studying the Scripture
        - be ready to change

3) Because music can help us purify our heart.

  - last week we talked about the heart from Psalm 138

  - recently, someone at a conference asked, "how do you
     change your heart?"
     - that was an excellent question.
     - I think she was saying that she could understand how
         you change behavior--because that’s something you can
         see -- but how do you change on the inner person?
     - there are a number of answers to that question...
       - it surely involves changing the way we think
       - it involves evaluating our desires and bringing them
            into conformity with Christ
       - but another important component to changing our
          hearts is the kind of music we "feed our hearts."
       - that’s especially true because much of what goes on
          in the heart is HABITUATED.
          - after we've thought, and wanted things SO LONG
             and SO OFTEN -- those thoughts and desires
             become automatic--they become habit.
       - our music will have a great effect, either
          positively or negatively, on the condition of our
          hearts.

- cf. Eph. 5:19-21.

4) Because we don't always benefit from the music in our
    church services the way we should.

    - as we mentioned earlier, these verses in Psalm 147 are
       speaking first and foremost to the music that’s part of
       our corporate worship.
    - they're going to tell us about the benefit that comes
       from singing together as the redeemed people of God.
    - but that assumes we're being "good stewards of the
        music service."

- what are some other things that might be happening in our
   minds during the music service that could get in the way
   of what the Lord is wanting to accomplish with that time?


- this Psalm is very easy to divide because it falls very
   naturally into three parts:
- note verses 1, 7, 12 - in each one, we're commanded to sing

- we'll use that same division in our outline today.


I. Singing About God's Care For The Meek and Mourning - 1-6

  A. The command to sing - 1

    - as we said a moment ago, there are three commands to
      sing in this Psalm.
    - the first one, "Praise ye the Lord" is actually one
       word in Hebrew--the word hallelujah.
         (jah - Lord, hallel - praise)

    - you've heard, of course, the "hallelujah chorus."
       - it's often sung around Christmas
       - usually in a public building, folks stand when it's
           sung
       - but many probably don't know what the word means
          that they're standing to--it literally menas,
          "praise the Lord."


    - in this first command, the writer gives some reasons
       why we should put emphasis on praising the Lord.

    1. it is good

        - we ought to want to praise the Lord because it's
          the right thing to do.
              (John White)
            - it's acceptable to God
            - it's beneficial to us
            - it stimulates those around us

    2. it is refreshing

       - verse 1 says - singing praises to God is pleasant
       - Psalm 135:3 says the same thing - "sing praises unto
           his name, for it is pleasant."

         - the Hebrew word has the idea of being sweet or
            cordial.
         - singing about God, and to God has a refreshing,
             pleasant effect on you and me.

         - contrast that to the effect the world's music has
            on people.
         - INPUT - what are some of the negative ways the
             world's music affects people?

             - commit suicide
             - leave your wife
             - hate your job
             - be depressed

- we ought to love to sing to God because it's so refreshing.

    3. it is beautiful

        - verse 1 also says that praising God is beautiful or
           "fitting".
          - NASB - it is "becoming"
          - it's the natural thing for believers to do.
          - you sing praises to the Lord and you say,
          "this is right--this is what believers ought to do"
- so the point is -- it's good to sing praises to the Lord.

- so let me ask you--is that the way you respond when Pastor
   Lopez (or someone else) leads us in music.
   - it'd be perfectly appropriate, when Pastor Lopez
      announces the hymns this morning, for you to respond
      in your heart -- "good idea--I like to do that, I need
      to do that--I'm glad we're doing that--let's sing!"

- now, in verses 2-6, the writer gives us a number of truths
   about the Lord that ought to motivate us to praise the
   Lord.
- this is the pattern throughout the whole Psalm--a command
    to sing, followed by truths about the Lord that ought to
     motivate us to do so.

  B. The reasons for singing - 2-6

    1. God cares for the broken and dispersed - 2

        - read

        - the idea in this verse especially emphasizes the
           physical aspects of God's care.
        - he's speaking here about the Lord's physical care
           of Jerusalem.
            - the Lord gave them the promised land.
            - after the Babylonian captivity, the Lord sent
              Zerubbabel and Ezra back to rebuild the temple.
            - he sent Nehemiah back to rebuild the walls.

        - the children of Israel knew that God was concerned
           about them physically.

        - of course that’s true of you and I today
           - Phil. 4:19 - "But my God shall provide all your
              need according to his riches in heaven."

        - see, why should we praise the Lord?
           - because of His provision for us physically.

       - INPUT - let me ask you this before we move on.  How
           does the subject of thankfulness fit into our
           topic this morning?

           - If a person isn't very interested or excited
             about singing praises to God, what might that
             reveal about the condition of their heart
             especially as it relates to thanksgiving?

    2. God cares for the troubled - 3

        - read

        - we're not just talking about the Lord rebuilding
          and repairing the walls of a city
            - we're also talking about Him rebuilding our
              lives, and our inner persons, and our
              relationships.

 

   - can you imagine what it would be like to live today if
     you didn't have a God who had healed your broken heart
     and bound up the wounds caused by sin?
     - can you imagine what you would be like on the inside?
     - can you imagine how that would effect the joy of your
        heart?
     - can you imagine what your marriage would be like?
     - can you imagine what other relationships would be
        like?

- we'd be in sorry shape for sure, if it wasn't for the way
   the Lord ministers to our inner man  through forgiveness,
   and grace, and truth.

- but can I ask you this morning--is it possible that we get
    to the place where we take that ministry for granted?
    - is it possible that we're not as motivated to sing as we
       ought to be because we're not appreciative of the
       ministry that God has (or wants to have) to the inner
       man?

- let's try to get the other four ideas from this section "on
    the floor" and then we'll summarize them.


- INPUT - how would you summarize verse 4?

    3. He cares for the universe - 4

- INPUT - what about verse 5?

    4. God cares with complete understanding - 5

- INPUT - Verse 6?

    5. God cares for the meek - 6a

    6. God casts down the wicked - 6b

- see, the overall point is that there are many, many reasons
   why our praise and our singing ought to be genuine.
   - we're not talking about being asked to do something that
       is forced -- or unnatural because there's no content
       behind it.

   - the more we know God, and the more we understand about
     Him and the nature of our relationship with Him, the
     more we ought to desire to sing and praise.

- that same line of argument is found in the remaining
   verses.
     - remember, we said verse 7, and verse 12 repeat the
       command to sing.

- I'm going to divide you into groups, and ask you to "scour"
   the remaining verses, to find as many reasons as possible
   for enthusiastic praise and worship.

(divide into groups - come back together and complete
   outline)


II. Singing About God's care For The Needy - 7-11

    A. The command to sing - 7

    B. The reasons for singing - 8-11

        1. God provides rain - 8

        2. God provides food - 9

        3. God is not influenced by earthly power - 10

        4. God delights in those who trust Him - 11

III. Singing About God's care For His Chosen People - 12-20

    A. The command to sing - 12

    B. The reasons for singing - 13-20

        1. God's protection - 13

        2. God's peace - 14

        3. God's promptness - 15

        4. God's perpetuity - 16-18

        5. God's pronouncement - 19-20

Steve Viars

B.S. - Bible, Baptist Bible College
M.Div. - Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min. - Westminster Theological Seminary

Pastor Steve Viars has served at Faith Church since 1987. He and his wife Kris were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and two grandchildren. Pastor Viars’ gifted teaching ministry, enthusiasm for the Word of God, and organizational skills are instrumental in equipping Faith Church. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith ministries and serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video