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Psalm-times a Song

by Alan Allegra  
8/24/2018 / Devotionals

“Mow, mow, mow the lawn, gently down the street. Noisily, noisily, noisily, noisily, mulching can’t be beat.” That’s what pops into my head when I’m doing mindless chores, like moving the lawn. No, that’s not a typo; I meant moving the lawn. Moving it to the street, the neighbor’s yard, the driveway, and the flowerbed, in large clumps of damp green confetti.

One of my never-to-be-realized goals is to write an album of songs for homeowners, with catchy titles like, “Please Don’t Let Me Die Raking Leaves,” “$200 to Clean the Gutters?”, “Wallpaper Paste Has a Bitter Taste,” and the #1 DIY hit, “Who Needs a Manual! Watch This!”

It has been said that music is the universal language, understood by everyone. Cultures have their own distinct styles, and music by itself, even sans lyrics, can express and evoke feelings and images with great power.

I recently watched a program featuring songwriters with different styles in different genres. Some of the songs reached me, and some fell short. Few songs have universal appeal. To be effective, a song must resonate with a person’s soul, and speak a familiar language. This would look (or sound!) different to different cultures in different ages.

Only one lyricist has achieved the pinnacle of writing words that appeal to every person who ever lived and lives and will live: God. He has written 150 psalms that He offers us royalty-free. Tapping into universal humanity, there is something there for everyone: sinner, saint, pauper, king, parent, child, Jew, Gentile, hopeful, hopeless, penitent, proud, curious, complacent, widow, orphan, powerful, puny, humble, and haughty. You and I are in there somewhere!

The first song on this holy album begins, “Blessed is the man” (Psalm 1:1) and the final cut ends with, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” It begins with a blessing and ends with a heart of praise. Everything in-between backs up those two thoughts.

The Psalms are not just Tin Pan Alley pop songs; they are precious metal: “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times” (Psalm 12:6). They are truly timeless: "Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). The Psalms are even prophetic; Jesus referred to them to verify his identity as the Messiah predicted centuries before he came into the world: “Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled’” (Luke 24:44).

The Psalms provide more than entertainment value; they are mandatory for growing in faith. The Bible says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17). The word of Christ is the main ingredient in the banquet of the soul. The great “chef” and apostle, Paul, says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). Paul also persuades us to move from the silly songs of the souse to the spiritual songs of the saints when he advises, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18–20).

If you are looking for help with expressing your feelings, especially to God in prayer, get into the Psalms and let them get into your soul!

Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!

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