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About

"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Singing OT Psalms in the New Covenant

Tonight we were reading Psalm 83-84. Something I've reflected on a few times in the last couple of years is whether we ought to sing OT Psalms without any reference to Jesus and the New Covenant.

I heard a new (I think) Hillsong song a couple of times over the weekend on the radio. It was musically a great song... and most of the words were straight from Psalm 84.
Blessed are those who dwell in Your house
They are ever praising You
Blessed are those whose strength is in You
Whose hearts are set on our God
I think that I understand what this would have meant for the person living in the Old Covenant... and also how we ought to understand it this side of the cross. However, more often than not, when we sing OT Psalms there isn't always a reference to Jesus and what he has done and the hope we have in him.

Mark Peterson had a song a few years ago called Wonder. I thought it was good because it reflects for a verse or two on Psalm 8 but the final verse was all about Jesus.

I'm sure that you can sing an OT Psalm and still understand your Biblical Theological context... but does that mean you need to explain it to the congregation before you sing it? What then of the person leading the song who doesn't understand the context?

It may even extend to any OT song. When we sing Pharaoh Pharaoh with youth group I try to say something like this: "This song reflects the way that God rescued his people in the OT but we have an even greater rescue in Jesus..."

I'm not suggesting that we don't sing Psalms. Ephesians 5 says to... but my question is ought we not qualify the OT Psalm this side of Jesus? Maybe it's even like the sermon that doesn't mention Jesus...

Question: Can we sing OT Psalms verbatim without any reference to Jesus and the New Covenant?

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  • Anonymous daniel says so:
    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 9:48:00 am  

    I asked a similar question in the comments over here

    In this case the example was Ps 51 and Kieth Green's "Create in Me a Clean Heart". I reckon the line in this song "take not thy holy spirit from me" is potentially dangerous for Christians to sing. top

  • Blogger Andy M says so:
    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 3:47:00 pm  

    Hhhmmm ... good question. This popped up a few years ago at our old church. The minister cracked down on us singing a song that I think was also based on Psalm 51, not the Keith Green one though. He took the position that we could sing it, but only with adequate explanation before hand pointing to Jesus.

    At the time I thought it was perhaps a bit harsh. I thought, "well, it's still scripture isn't it?"

    But I guess it's perhaps equivalent to practicing the OT sacrifical system on basis that it's in scripture. Yes it is, but it's a precursor to and shadow of Christ, and is now superseded.

    There's probably an element of that with the Psalms, though perhaps not to the same extent because the expressions and longings of the psalmists can still be the expressions and longings we have, though of course fulfilled in Christ. top

  • Anonymous John Dekker says so:
    Tuesday, May 30, 2006 5:25:00 pm  

    Except that all OT Scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

    The thing is, OT narrative and poetry is part of the Bible. We don't need to be embarrassed about it - and that includes feeling the need to explain everything, and feeling the need to always mention Jesus.

    Why not just allow people to get excited about the God Who Redeems?

    And Christians should certainly not have a problem with praying "take not thy holy spirit from me." The fact that God has promised that his Spirit will remain with us should make us pray that all the more - aren't we supposed to be bouncing these promises back to God? top

  • Blogger CraigS says so:
    Wednesday, May 31, 2006 4:26:00 pm  

    Actually, the Psalms were all Calvins original churches sang.

    Where is the podcast up to? top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 12:31:00 am  

    daniel.

    i think john has a good point
    "And Christians should certainly not have a problem with praying "take not thy holy spirit from me." The fact that God has promised that his Spirit will remain with us should make us pray that all the more"

    but i can see your point
    i like what you've said on that other blog. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 12:35:00 am  

    andy m

    like your eg of ot sacrificial system. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 12:40:00 am  

    John: Except that all OT Scripture is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

    Not denying that at all by my question.

    The thing is, OT narrative and poetry is part of the Bible. We don't need to be embarrassed about it - and that includes feeling the need to explain everything, and feeling the need to always mention Jesus.

    Not saying that i'm embarrassed by it. it still comes back to the question can you have an OT sermon without Jesus in it??? Yes you can learn something about God and who he is... but it still must ultimately point to Jesus.

    Why not just allow people to get excited about the God Who Redeems?
    absolutely. but israel got excited about a shadow... we are to get excited about the reality that the shadow points to.

    dave top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 12:42:00 am  

    Actually, the Psalms were all Calvins original churches sang.
    did calvin hop up b4 or after the song and point to Jesus?

    Where is the podcast up to?
    when you wrote this this arvo it would have been #6... at the moment it's 8.
    it's being jumping between 6 & 11 for the last day or so.

    i'm just about to launch a talk podcast. top

  • Anonymous daniel says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:16:00 am  

    @John - yep, you've got a good point. We have great assurance that God will never take his Spirit from us.

    However for some Christians, they would sing this line and whilst hastily applying it to themselves, think that their salvation is always on a knife-edge.

    And regardless, I don't think the removal of God's Spirit was a "salvation" issue for David, rather a kingship issue. top

  • Anonymous John Dekker says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:43:00 am  

    it still comes back to the question can you have an OT sermon without Jesus in it???

    I think it does come back to this, but the answer is not obvious. We've actually discussed this at length in class (I'm at Theological College) and even took a vote on it. :) It was tied. top

  • Blogger David says so:
    Thursday, June 01, 2006 8:53:00 am  

    goldsworthy in 'preaching the whole of bible as Christian scripture' kicks off talking about that very issue.
    i think (from memory) he argues that if all of the scriptures find their fulfilment in JC... why wouldn't you want to speak of him in an OT talk top