Friday, November 28, 2008

My heart is stirred by a noble theme...

Psalm 45:1
My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

The difficulty of using Psalm 45 to kindle our worship is that some portions convey a secular emphasis. It is a true wedding song and the occasion is a true wedding of a true earthly king with a true earthly bride. How could we possibly use a “secular” song to serve as a fuel for our worship?

Yet other portions of the psalm suggest a sacred extension. And by the benefit of a completed canon, we learned that some portions of this Psalm have been quoted in the New Testament to emphasize the supreme position of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ultimate application of this Psalm then is about the Messiah—he is obviously more majestic than any earthly king. He is greater than David, Solomon and all other kings in history combined.

In verse 1, the Psalmist shares the condition of his heart upon the composition of this Psalm. He says that a noble theme moves his heart to recite his verses. He literally says that there is a boiling over in his heart. If he shall try to restrain himself from speaking, it will be a failure- because he cannot contain himself. He can’t keep it in. The heart of course, in biblical usage encompasses our intellect, volition, and emotion. This noble theme fills his thoughts and consequently his feelings. His mouth is unstoppable at this point- it must speak forth what’s inside.

Some say that that the noble theme that fills his hearts is the wedding. Maybe that’s true, but it is only a part of the whole truth. The next verses reveal that his heart is moved not just by the event but also by the majesty of the king. In verse 2, the psalmist praises the king for his excellence compared to the rest of men. And that the king’s lips are full of grace. In verses 3-4, he praises the valor of the king. He goes engages himself into warfare but only for worthy causes. The king fights for truth (he is against lies); he fights for humility (he is against pride); he fights for righteousness (he is against wickedness). In verse 5, this king is triumphant, subduing enemies. In verse 6, this king’s reign will not end. He will rule forever.

Goin back to verse 1, He also says that his tongue is the pen of a ready writer or as the NIV has rendered it, “my tongue is a pen of a skillful writer.” Its like saying, what you are about to hear is like a well written & finely edited work. You are about to hear a masterpiece. The he proceeds to recite his verses...
We don’t usually find edification or excitement in examining literary structures. But let’s think about this, 40%, almost ½ of the OT is poetry. A biblical writer uses poetry to express in imaginative terms lofty thoughts or impassioned feelings. There are noble themes and strong emotions for all poetry in the Bible.

As early as Moses and Miriam, when they have just witnesses how YHWH parted the Red Sea and later sweeping the Egyptian Armed Forces into the sea, they were awed by God’s power and greatness. How did Moses and Miriam expressed their lofty thoughts about God? Through a song. Through poetry recorded in Exodus 15. One verse of that song says,

Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
Who is like you--
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?”

When the Spirit of God was poetic, He inspired His word upon the writing of all 150 Psalms. He gave us the Books of Job, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes. Some poetry is also found in the Prophets—These he gave us to cover all arrays of human experience. Grief. Sorrow. Distress. Fear. Celebration. Praise. Excitement.

Ok, now that the time has come for us to sing songs to each other and to the Lord, I want to leave two things.

1st, I asked our worship leader to prepare songs about the Beauty and Majesty of Christ for that is the theme of verses 2-9. As we sing this songs, let us examine ourselves. Are we still awed by the Lord’s beauty and majesty? Do noble themes move our hearts? Or do we sing these songs mindlessly. When we sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, does it spring from a spirit-filled soul, mind, and heart? Or we sing songs because it is a ceremony that has become a part of Guiding Light Christian Church’s tradition that has developed through the past 10 years?

And when we are alone, when we see wonderful things about God in Scripture meditation and life application, are we not overwhelmed in our hearts and minds that it must find its expression with our lips.

2nd, and this is just the other side of the same coin. Do we reserve our best words for the praise and worship of our God and King. Or do we reserve our best adjectives for lesser things in this world. There are too many people in the world vastly skilled in the craft of speaking and writing, but they use if not for the glory of God but for their own glory and for the glory of lesser things. That should not be the case among Christians. We must reserve our best words and the best of our creativity for the giver of all good gifts. It is tragic, for our hearts to be moved by the aroma of the coffee, the sweetness of the ice cream, the scenery of Boracay, the speed of Pentium IV Dual Core, the voice of the diva, the charm of the campus crush, the sensation of sex, the power of money, if our hearts are not moved by the beauty and majesty of our Lord.


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