What Songbook Did Jesus Sing From?

Jesus had a favorite songbook.

THINK ABOUT IT. Jesus was a Jew—and when He and His first-century Hebrew peers engaged in vocal worship (cf. Mat. 26:26-30), they used a songbook of sorts. Of course, there were obviously no spiralbound or hardbound songbooks to read from, and there were no electronic Paperless Hymnals to display on a screen like we use in the 21st century.

So what specific hymnal did the Jews employ? Was it some form of OT Christian Hymns III, or Praise for the LORD, or Great Songs of the OT Church, or OT Church Gospel Songs and Hymns? All kidding aside, the songbook of the Jews was—the Psalms (cf. 1 Chron. 16:8-36), written and collected from Moses to Ezra over a period of a thousand years, which were then committed to memory. The English title “Psalms” comes from the Greek word meaning “a sacred song or hymn—a Psalter,” while the Hebrew title, Tehillim, means “praises,” and every Psalm except the 88th contains some form of that fervent action. So when the Jews offered up the sacrifice of praise (cf. Psa. 27:6; Heb. 13:15), they didn’t simply quote the Psalms, they joyfully sang and shouted them, and THAT was the songbook our Lord used when He sang as well.

But this then begs yet another question. Since the Psalms served as the songbook of the Jews, who wrote and authored all of these psalters? Peter says, “Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21b), and yet the Holy Spirit received His words from Jesus (cf. John 14:14-17; 16:13-15)!

Here’s ONE lesson I’m learning: Jesus sang from the songbook which He wrote Himself—and one of His favorite subjects was—are you ready for this(?), THANKSGIVING to His Father!  Watch the repetitive refrain in the following Psalms: 

“Therefore I will GIVE THANKS to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, and sing praises to Your name” (Psa. 18:49).

“Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, and GIVE THANKS at the remembrance of His holy name” (Psa. 30:4).

“To the end that my glory my sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will GIVE THANKS to You forever” (Psa. 30:12).

“I will GIVE YOU THANKS in the great assembly; I will praise You among many people” (Psa. 35:18).

“Offer to God THANKSGIVING, and pay your vows to the Most High” (Psa. 50:14).

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with THANKSGIVING” (Psa. 69:30).

“We GIVE THANKS to You, O God, we GIVE THANKS! For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near” (Psa. 75:1).

“So we, Your people and sheep of Your pasture, will GIVE YOU THANKS forever; we will show forth Your praise to all generations” (Psa. 79:13).

“It is a good thing to GIVE THANKS unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto Thy name, O most High” (Psa. 92:1).

“Let us come before His presence with THANKSGIVING; let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms” (Psa. 95:2).

“Rejoice in the LORD, you righteous, and GIVE THANKS at the remembrance of His holy name” (Psa. 97:12).

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be THANKFUL to Him, and bless His name” (Psa. 100:4).

“Oh, GIVE THANKS to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psa. 106:1).

“Save us, O LORD our God, and gather us from among the Gentiles, to GIVE THANKS to Your holy name, to triumph in Your praise” (Psa. 106:47).

“Oh, that men would GIVE THANKS TO THE lord FOR His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men” (Psa. 107:8, 15, 31)!

“Oh, GIVE THANKS to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psa. 118:1, 29).

“At midnight I will rise to GIVE THANKS to You, because of Your righteous judgments” (Psa. 119:62).

  • Jesus sang.
  • Jesus sang from the psalmbook which He had written.
  • Jesus offered the praise of thanksgiving to His Father.

In a world where we are tempted to complain and fuss about the current state of affairs, I’m learning from Jesus that I need be more thankful, and one of the best ways to do that is by singing with a heart of zealous gratitude as He did (Heb. 2:12):  “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, GIVING THANKS always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 5:19-20).

How Does A Congregation Pick Its Preacher?

crop_02

Calvin Miller’s book, “The Empowered Leader” addresses ten keys to what he calls “servant leadership.”  In chapter one (pp. 11-12), he addresses our general propensity to select men (i.e., preachers) based upon faulty, yes – even worldly, structures.

I’ve taken the liberty of amending a few paragraphs in his book to help us see how many times congregations in the Lord’s church tend to pick their preacher(s) by superficial first impressions and appearances.

You might not agree with everything he says, but there are a few helpful mustard seeds to be gleaned here.  Give Miller’s work a few minutes of your prayerful thought and consideration:

“WE OFTEN ARRIVE at preacher selection by imitating the actions of the prophet Samuel (1 Sam. 16).

Samuel went to Bethlehem to look for an evangelist.  Jesse of Bethlehem presented Samuel an all-star line up of preacher candidates.  His applicants appeared to be rugged, minister types.

But in the process of sorting though their appearances, Samuel saw a need to read their resumes more closely.

How unlike Samuel we are when we choose.  All too often we “line up” our potential perspective preachers, eyeball their credentials, and vote them in or out on their appearance after a Bible class and a couple of sermons.

The mistake of Jesse is a universal fault.  He called Samuel in to begin his search with Abinadab.  Jesse’s most impressive preacher candidate seemed the place to begin.

But the Bible holds a vital lesson on preacher selection.

Each time a congregation plays this image roulette, they opt for leadership by relativismRelativism is the way a congregation and eldership compares resumes to arrive at the most ideal.

Every congregation has its pecking order.  But selecting a preacher of God’s Word is not simply a matter of comparing the best virtues of all the assembled contenders.

The old prophet discovered a faulty system.  The right candidate was not even present – the contest was not inclusive enough.

God’s chosen man is sometimes not even in the line-up.  In this case, David was out tending sheep and serving in another capacity in another location.

It’s often that way.

We’re not altogether sure when leadership is present, but we are always sure when it is absent.

When England needed a king, there was a sword in a stone.  Excalibur was the magic sword that belonged to the leader in that day.

We often ballot our choices for preachers, picking and choosing in our relativistic way.  But history repeatedly teaches us that running through stack of resumes is often a faulty way to look for a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Only the real king can wrest the sword from the stone.

The holder of the title preacher sometimes comes from the shadows of obscurity.

On such unsuspected persons the mantle falls.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!”–Mike

WHERE is Salvation? #5

Is there ever a time—in all of the Bible—when God restricted salvation—to just ONE location?

River Jordan

THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT the following question please:

Is there ever a time—in all of the Bible—when God restricted salvation—to just ONE location?

Let’s explore this together with an open mind and open Bible (cf. Acts 17:11).

Please read the following chapter and then answer the questions listed below—2 Kings 5:

  • WHAT was physically wrong with Naaman? v. 1

 

  • HOW did Naaman find out about a possible cure for his ailment? vv. 2-4

 

  • WHAT two kings were involved in Naaman’s story? vv. 5-7

 

  • WHAT prophet heard about the king of Israel’s actions and Naaman’s illness? v. 8

 

  • WHERE did Naaman go to get instructions on to how to be cleansed? v. 9

 

  • WHERE exactly did Elisha tell Naaman to go in order to be cleansed, and WHAT exactly was Naaman to do when he got there? v. 10

 

  • HOW did Naaman feel when he heard Elisha’s directive? vv. 11-12

 

  • WHAT two other places did Naaman think were better than what Elisha had commanded? v. 12

 

  • WHO helped Naaman get a proper perspective about what he needed to do in order to be cleansed? v. 13

 

  • WHAT exactly did Naaman do in order to be cleansed? v. 14; cf. Acts 2:37; 16:30
    • WOULD Naaman have been cleansed if he had dipped in either the Abana or Pharpar rivers?
    • WOULD Naaman have been cleansed if he had dipped in the Jordan only six times?

 

  • WAS Naaman cleansed before or after he had dipped in the Jordan seven times, and HOW does the Bible describe his skin when he obeyed Elisha’s word? v. 14; cf. Psa. 51:7

 

  • Since God said (through Elisha) that Naaman’s cleansing (i.e., salvation) was found ONLY in dipping in the Jordan seven times, would it be arrogant or unloving say that our spiritual cleansing today can ONLY be received when a person obeys the gospel? 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4, 17-18; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet. 3:21

 

  • WHAT does the Lord do today with obedient believers who obey the gospel? Acts 2:47, 37-38