There is something about music, particularly praise songs, that seeps deep into our souls. A few months back my grandfather passed away. During the funeral, my grandmother sang along with every hymn without looking at the words. Not unusual until you understand that she has dementia. She barely understood why she was in church that day. She easily gets stuck in loops of thought, like asking umpteen times how old my newest granddaughter is. Repeatedly reading the Sunday funnies. Calling just about every male in our family “dad” and always desiring to “go home” even though she was at home. But she did not get stuck during the hymns and sang all of the verses to “It is Well” without glancing at the hymnal. It reminded me of Psalm 33:1-5.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous!
For praise from the upright is beautiful.
Praise the Lord with a mellow acoustic guitar;
Make melody to Him with a boisterous electric guitar.
Sing to Him a new song;
Play skillfully with a shout of joy.
For the word of the Lord is right,
And all His work is done in truth.
He loves righteousness and justice;
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
(Psalm 33:1–5, NKJV paraphrased)
I hope you will forgive my bit of poetic license, being a guitarist I couldn’t resist. Praise from the upright is beautiful. There is something beautiful when our song of praise matches the condition of our heart. A few decades ago it was not uncommon for popular artists to record an album of hymns, Elvis recorded several gospel albums. But sometimes those pairings seem strange instead of beautiful; the song being at odds with the artist’s public persona. But when the upright sings God’s praises – oh my. It doesn’t matter how off tune or out of rhythm the sound is, there is a sweetness of the heart that nothing can match.
Not sure what to praise God about? Don’t see anything praiseworthy in your current situation? The Psalmist suggests four reasons to Praise God. The word of the Lord is right. God does not lie. His promises never return empty and void (Isaiah 55:11). His word is our daily bread (Matthew 4:4) and an anchor for our soul (Hebrews 6:19). When nothing else is trustworthy God’s word remains steadfast. All of His work is done in truth. God does not deceive or manipulate us. He doesn’t dangle a baited hook before our eyes. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6, NASB95) We may not always understand the why for our situation but we can trust God in all of His ways. He loves righteousness and justice. There is so much of world that seems unfair. Bribery, corruption, favoritism abound. Justice is perverted for political expediency or political correctness. But God is just, and that is what some are afraid of. One time Gene Fowler, noticing a Bible in W. C. Fields’s library asked, “What the hell are you doing with that”? W.C. being an atheist. Fields replied, “Been lookin’ for loopholes”. In God’s justice there are no loopholes, but there is a redeemer for our soul. The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. That alone can fill volumes. The delicious crisp sweet tartness of an apple. The majesty of a snow-capped mountain reflected on a still pond. The sparkling infinity of the stars on a clear moonless night. The love shared between husband and wife, parents and child, creator and creation.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! It doesn’t matter if you sing, play an instrument, write a story, or paint a picture. The point is to express praise to God, to rejoice in who He is and what He has done and is doing. So what are you waiting for? Get praising!