Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Song of the Word
...the hymnody of heaven in a pilgrim land



“Thy statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.” –Psalm 119:54

The true sojourner for Christ is never without a song to sing every step of his earthly journey. Though some days our way may be fraught in the valley of trials and affliction, while other days lived on the mountain top of blessing, whatever our earthly state we have a heavenly song to sing to encourage our souls to glory in the Lord. Paul and Silas understood this well as they found themselves in prison, beaten, flogged and put in stocks for spoiling a fortune tellers profit by setting free a young demon-possessed woman. As faithful ambassadors of the gospel of Jesus Christ their incarceration did not dampen their spirits or rob them of their joy. Instead, they sang hymns of praise to the Lord in the night that shook that inner dungeon and led to the salvation of their prison guard (Acts 16:25).

Where does this heavenly song come from that brings comfort in our darkest hour; that strengthens in our every need of each day; that brings grace when sin has raised its ugly head; that stirs our dry hardened hearts where the fallow ground has appeared; that confronts us when compromise sneaks in, or when self-reliance confounds, or where self-esteem deceives; and consoles us when fear overcomes? David tells us, “Thy statutes…” – the Word of God. Think of it beloved, His statutes - our songs; His Word - our music; His theology - our doxology; His Lawbook - our songbook! “Let the Word of Christ dwell richly within you with all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). “With the statutes of God in your hand and in your heart, you are furnished with a song for every step of your way” says Charles Bridges.

And where is this song to be sung? “… in the house of my pilgrimage.” This world is not our home; we’re just a passing through. We are looking for a better country (Hebrews 11:10, 14-16); a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14), and longing for Christ’s return (Philippians 3:14). Though we are citizens of earth, may we never forget that we are first and foremost citizens of heaven. Pilgrims, sojourners, aliens, foreigners; we are strangers in a strange land, homesick for heaven longing to be with the Lord.

“My heart is steadfast O God; I will sing, I will sing praise with my soul. I will bless the Lord at all times—his praise shall continually be in my mouth” (Psalm 108:1; 34:1). He has given us a “new song” (Psalm 40:3) to sing while making our way through this world; and may we, the redeemed people of God, “say so” (Psalm 107:2).

So are you discouraged today? You have a heavenly song to sing. Are you lonely or brokenhearted? You have a heavenly song to sing. Are you underneath the load of trials and cares? You have a heavenly song to sing. Are you downcast and feeling hopeless? You have a heavenly song to sing. Are you depressed, weighed down, and heavy burdened today? You have a heavenly song to sing.

Listen:

"I will also praise You with a harp,
Even Your truth, O my God;
To You I will sing praises with the lyre,
O Holy One of Israel.
My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You;
And my soul, which You have redeemed."
(Psalm 71:22-23)

"Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
(Psalm 73:25-26)
As we are on this journey to the Son, may our daily offering to the Lord be, “let my tongue sing of Thy word, for all Thy commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172).

7 comments:

donsands said...

Music is such a wonderful gift from the Lord. And's a powerful source to go to at all times. Even when we are down and discouraged, the right somg can help a burdened soul.

Thanks for the songs. They were uplifting. The lyrics especially, but also the melody.

Keep on singing my brother. You're a gift to the Body of Christ.

ann_in_grace said...

Thank you for your songs, Steve.
Thank you for their music and for their lyrics, thank you for making my first steps with the Bible full of poetry and depth.
Thank you for making my everyday steps with the Bible a joy in music.

Diane said...

Thank you for ministering to us through your posts and songs. They are blessings to me.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement. The Word and Worship in song go hand in hand... amen?

As we hide God's Word in our hearts, may our lives be living sacrifices to Him--which is our just and spiritual worship.

Steve

Marcia said...

Thanks for sharing these songs...they are lovely.

I have been on a real journey with my faith...not my basic belief, but figuring out doctrine and theology and what matters. I've said before that I wander all over cyberspace.

I think that this blog is presented lovingly to readers and most of all to God.

However, I have also said that some of the commenters do not come across that way. I would really like people like myself who are searching to be able to come here and discuss posts without being told someone will be in hell for what they believe, or that they are a heretic, or other negative things.

I believe that the truth can be spoken in love and that this blog has so much to offer that way, but it gets lost when different viewpoints are posted in the comments and are meant with what comes across as hostility.

Again, I am not talking about what Mr. Camp posts but about some of the "regulars."

And I am only saying this because I do believe that there is a lot of good here, and that if viewpoints were viewed and expressed with more compassion instead of a need to be seen as "right," then more people could be taught.

JMHO.

SJ Camp said...

Marcia:
It's very important for all of us to daily learn to speak the truth in love. Sometimes love will be tough, confrontative - other times comforting - it is finding and knowing the balance that is key here.

Paul's words to Timothy give us the multifaceted views of grace in the ministry of the Word: "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" (2 Timothy 3:16).

Teaching: what does it mean; reproof: stop doing what is wrong; correction: start doing what is right; training in righteousness: being daily conformed to the image of Christ.

There's the balance.

I appreciate your words and may we all exercise Christlikeness in what we say in the meta on any blog including this one.

Grace and peace,
Steve
2 Cor. 4:5

Marcia said...

Sometimes love will be tough, confrontative - other times comforting - it is finding and knowing the balance that is key here.

I think you personally do a wonderful job at that.

Sometimes reproof is needed, no question.

But I sometimes feel that love is lost behind the need to win an argument.

(Again, I am only talking about *some* folks here, and again, I only bring it up because I believe there is so much to offer here.)