Sing Praises With Understanding (Psalm 47)

Psalm 47

1 To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! 2 For the LORD Most High [is] awesome; [He is] a great King over all the earth. 3 He will subdue the peoples under us, And the nations under our feet. 4 He will choose our inheritance for us, The excellence of Jacob whom He loves. Selah 5 God has gone up with a shout, The LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God [is] the King of all the earth; Sing praises with understanding. 8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on His holy throne. 9 The princes of the people have gathered together, The people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth [belong] to God; He is greatly exalted.

PSALM 47:1-9


I told my son the other day that I was proud of him. He wanted to know, “for what?” He has people in his life that tell him things like that all the time. They just mean to generally encourage him, but he comes from a generation who doesn’t take much at face value. The words aren’t enough for him, he always wants to know the meaning behind it. It isn’t enough to know that I am proud of him, he wants to know why I’m proud of him. I generally always note why I’m proud of him, even if I remind him that I’m proud of him in a unique way because he is my son.

Sometimes when it comes to singing praise to God, we can be guilty of just saying the words. Truth be told there is a lot of hype getting mislabeled as praise these days. Real praise is offered in response to who God is and what he has done. Praise is a TESTIMONY not just a warm fuzzy. It’s rooted in the multifaceted fact that God is worthy of our worship; it’s not a manipulation of feelings. It’s power is found not in the chords that are played, but the truth that is displayed about who God is. Our praise should be mindful meditation on God’s word/ character, not mindless chanting of words over and over again. In short, real praise requires contemplation.

The LORD is Awesome in the fullest understanding and expression of the word! He is worthy of all the instruments we could bring to play in concert with one another. He is worthy of our concentration. He is worthy of our real and righteous emotions that flow out of a heart filled with gratitude guided by grace. Our hearts must meditate and reflect so that we offer more than crumbs of our attention, but we must give him praise out of our concentration.


Father, You are worthy of all our praise and adoration. I am grateful for your kindness to me. You are sovereign Lord of all creation! You will come and set all things right. I pray for your kingdom to come and your will to be done. I pray for you to be glorified in my heart and life. I ask Lord that you would help me to come to you in humble contemplation of your greatness. You are worthy of all praise, honor, and glory! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Praying and Praising God For Healing (Psalm 30)


(1) A Psalm. A Song at the dedication of the house of David. I will extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, And have not let my foes rejoice over me. (2) O LORD my God, I cried out to You, And You healed me. (3) O LORD, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. (4) Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. (5) For His anger [is but for] a moment, His favor [is for] life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy [comes] in the morning. (6) Now in my prosperity I said, “I shall never be moved.” (7) LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain stand strong; You hid Your face, [and] I was troubled. (8) I cried out to You, O LORD; And to the LORD I made supplication: (9) “What profit [is there] in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth? (10) Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; LORD, be my helper!” (11) You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, (12) To the end that [my] glory may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

PSALM 30:1-12, NKJV


God is a God who heals! We should rejoice in that fact. We should also note that it is not always his will to bring healing to a person in a given situation this side of heaven. God used the Apostle Paul to heal many people and in one instance there were so many healings happening that they could just take a handkerchief that Paul had touched and it would bring healing to a person (see Acts 19:11-12). Yet we also need to note that Paul himself suffered from illnesses (See Galatians 4:13-15, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10) and there were close ministry partners who suffered from illness ( See Philippians 2:25-30, I Timothy 5:23, 2 Timothy 4:20) where a handkerchief for healing wouldn’t do.

David had prayed for healing and he was healed and so he rejoiced. There was an instance in my life where I was sick, prayed for healing, and I was healed and I delight in rejoicing in God’s goodness. I think healing in these circumstances should point us toward Heaven where there won’t be any more death or pain (See Revelation 21:4). We should rejoice and be eager for that day all the more when we see miraculous healings take place in our midst.

We must also realize that sometimes God choses not to heal in the way that we might expect or want. Sometimes He allows us to go through suffering ( See Philippians 1). In those instances we must trust in God’s plan and provision for us.

Of course we know that Jesus Himself was no stranger to suffering. He asked God to let the cup of His wrath pass from Him, but that if there were no other way, He would drink it. He just wanted the Father’s will to be done (see Matthew 26:39). I think this instructs us on how to pray when we are praying for ourselves and others who are sick/suffering. We can pray with what we think or hope God might do (healing?) and be ready to accept that God might move in a different direction.

That brings us back to this Psalm. David had prayed for healing and he was healed! Part of his rational in prayer was that He couldn’t praise God for healing if he wasn’t healed. He knew God was able. He knew God was worthy. So he prayed with boldness for healing and he was healed.


Father, Thank you that you are a God who is able to do the most incredible of things. Thank you that you are are God of healing. Thank you for the healing that has taken place in my own life! I am grateful for the ways you demonstrate you’re amazing love and grace for us. I pray for those I know who need healing today. I ask for you to do what only you can do in their situation. I rejoice at every glimpse of heaven we see in your healing hand. I also confess my trust and dependence upon you to do your will. We trust you to guide us through suffering and death (Psalm 23) as much as we do in healing and life! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

How You Pray Will Determine Your Praise (Psalm 28)


1 [A Psalm] of David. To You I will cry, O LORD my Rock: Do not be silent to me, Lest, if You [are] silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit. 2 Hear the voice of my supplications When I cry to You, When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary. 3 Do not take me away with the wicked And with the workers of iniquity, Who speak peace to their neighbors, But evil [is] in their hearts. 4 Give them according to their deeds, And according to the wickedness of their endeavors; Give them according to the work of their hands; Render to them what they deserve. 5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD, Nor the operation of His hands, He shall destroy them And not build them up. 6 Blessed [be] the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplications! 7 The LORD [is] my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. 8 The LORD [is] their strength, And He [is] the saving refuge of His anointed. 9 Save Your people, And bless Your inheritance; Shepherd them also, And bear them up forever.

PSALM 28:1-9, NKJV

How You Pray Will Determine Your Praise

David comes back to thank the Lord because he know that God had heard his prayer.  HOW OFTEN DO WE COME BACK IN THANKSGIVING FOR ANSWERED PRAYER?  We are good about coming to God with our AGITATIONS but what about our ADORATION. HOW YOU PRAY WILL DETERMINE HOW YOU PRAISE.  

In Luke 17:11-19 10 Lepers are cleansed, but only one came back to worship at the feet of Jesus. I’m sure the others were grateful to some varying degree, but the one who came back was fully bought in to Jesus. Too often we don’t mind pestering God with a wish list of our wants when part of our job in prayer is to recognize that God has moved in the past. He has heard and He has answered prayers before and we should be grateful. Those who only come to God tired and numb in the middle of an emergency are missing the fullness of His Grace. In a large way their relationship has become transactional instead of relational. Like a homeowner coming to the contractor with a bunch of job orders and requests, we have lost sight of the grace of God that has brought us this far in the first place.

A good practical place to practice gratitude is to journal (prayers) and to go back and then see how God answered them. I admittedly am not that great at it. But it does wonders to help me remember everything that was going on at a certain point in my life.

Finding yourself low on praise? Start thinking about all the ways the Lord has blessed you over the years. Think about the prayers you have prayed. How has he answered. How have those times been good or bad. How is God’s grace evident in your life today?


Father, thank you for your great grace. I see every day your kindness to me and have experienced an abundance of your blessings. There were many times where I go t myself in a jam and you were faithful to see me through. There were times when I was lured away and enticed by sin and you called me back to faith and repentance. There were parts of my life that have been hard, but you have always been present. Thank you for hearing my prayer. Help me to be intentional about turning back my prayers into praise. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I’m reading and blogging the Psalms Through The Summer. I’d love for you to join me. You can find out a little more here.

Does God Like Our Music? (The Object, Quality, & Background)

Worship Music

God is the Object of Music Offered as Worship

There is something distinctively different about the music in the Bible and the music in our culture and the difference is mainly the content of the songs. In order for a song to be a Biblical or Christian song is should come from the scriptures or be a response to God. Every song in the scriptures teaches us who God is, pleads for him to act, or celebrates what He has done. Even in the Song of Solomon you have the celebration of marriage which is an institution created by God.

The primary issue about songs in worship isn’t the style (hymns or Choruses) or even the type of instruments used or not used, at it’s foundation a song suitable for worship must have God as it’s object. Churches that divide between  contemporary and traditional miss authentic worship because they choose style over substance and divide the body over a non-essential. When we insert preference into the mix we have to ask, are we concerned with God’s preference or our own? The issue about what music should be sung for the purpose of worship is simply this… is it a response to God? does it teach truth about God? does it ask God to move? … in essence is it Godward?

The essence of worship places the value on the one being worshiped not the worshiper. When it comes to using songs in worship, the emotional benefits of a song are secondary to the truth of the song. Is should be noted that your emotions can be wrong and misleading. Not that emotion in worship is bad, but that songs must be evaluated for more than how they make you feel. Worship in song in often very emotional, but it should be emotional because of who God is, not because of how much you like the song.

Music Offered as Worship Should be Quality

Those who lead our churches in corporate worship should be quality driven folks. Everyone from the music minister down to the smallest child in the congregation should do their best to understand the music that they are singing in worship.

Take a look at some of the introductions to the Psalms (Psalm 4:1, 5:1, 6:1, 8:1, 9:1, 51:1).  There is a note to the choirmaster about the tune of the song. He should know the song and be familiar with how it is to be played. On some occasions there are notes as to which type of instruments are to be used. Then we also see that the songs have an author and sometimes even a background. The message is clear, “here is a song to be employed for worship. Play it in a specific way, with a specific instrument, according to the design of the author… don’t mess it up.

Today we have songs that were written to be played in arena’s full of people and those written for more intimate settings. It can be quite unsettling when a praise band sets up to play an arena song to a smaller coffee house type gathering. The band may love the song, but it’s not a fit for the size of the community they are leading. It would be helpful if modern worship leaders would include some suggestions on their songs to help others who want to use them.

It is a difficult job to lead a congregation in singing praise to God. Whoever leads looks for the right songs for the moment for the community they are leading. Musicians and vocalists take music home to practice (How do you offer your best to God without practice?). Then they get together to practice, work out any issues, harmonize, etc. Don’t be fooled, they don’t do all of this in order to pull of a flawless production, they do it to exercise their God given gifts and lead you and I in songs of worship so that we can worship God TOGETHER. They do it so that when we have an awesome encounter with a holy and righteous God we have a method and a mode to offer expressions of praise back to Him. They don’t do it just to show off their talents and gifts… They do it so YOU can JOIN THE SONG! It is not about who is on stage and who isn’t. It is about God, who has gifted and called individuals to lead his people in a response to him of authentic worship through song.

Music Offered as Worship has a Background

You can’t help but notice that when you read some of the Psalms that there is a historical background to the song (see Psalm 51:1 for an example). This provides a great template for worship leaders to share relevant background information about the songs we sing in corporate worship. Some great resources for this are the three volumes “Then My Soul Sings” by Robert Morgan.

Even more contemporary songs have background stories. A simple search of the song title, author and the words “background story” will often yield results. Bellow is a video of an interview with Matt Redman who shares the background on his song, “Heart of Worship.” Though it’s not as popular as it once was, it reveals that these songs don’t arise out or mechanical song writing studios, but often arise out of real life responses to God in current situations.

A worship leader doesn’t need to share the background to every song or even share a background every time they lead, but the background does go a long way toward helping the congregation know how this song is a response to God and the appropriate emotions and sentiments that the song carries. Knowing that Martin Luther wrote A Mighty Fortress is Our God in the midst of depression, illness and persecution can help the people in the congregation see how this song can be their response to God as well.

We’ll look more into music and song as an avenue for worshiping God as well as the benefits of singing to God together in the next post. Until then feel free to like this post, share it, comment below, and be sure to sign up to get new posts sent to you via e-mail (on the top right of this page).