Why Singing the Psalms Is a Matter of Life and Death

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March 9, 2021

Psalm 70

To the tune of “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” S.M. Sing it at seedbed.com/soundtrack

1 O God, deliver me;
O Lord, make haste—help me!
2 Let those ashamed and humbled be
who seek my life wrongly. 

May all who seek my end,
who in my hurt delight;
Be turned back in disgrace, O Lord;
dishonored in Your sight. 

3 May all who say to me,
“Aha, Aha!” in spite;
May they be turned back in their shame;
hear me, O God of might. 

4 But may all who seek You;
be glad, with joy abide;
May those who love salvation say,
“Let God be magnified!”

5 Still I’m afflicted, Lord;
make haste, O God, I pray;
You’re my deliverer and help;
O Lord, do not delay!

CONSIDER THIS

Over the years I have made many trips to the Abbey of Gethsemani for days of spiritual warfare. I always join the monks as they sing the Songs (Psalms). I learn from them what it looks like to put on the full armor of God. Every two weeks they systematically sing through all 150 Psalms, gathering seven times a day, seven days a week. Every single time, they begin their singing prayers with the opening lines of Song 70. I can hear their chant now as they sing these words: “O God, come to my assistance; O Lord, make haste to help me.”

Have you ever considered that the Psalms are Scripture’s strongest strategy of spiritual warfare? These songs train us for the unconventional warfare of the Holy Spirit. In singing them, we heed Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesians: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:10–11).

The chief scheme of the devil is to convince us that our enemy is other people and lure us into an offensive attack.To be sure, our enemy does come in the form of other people. Because these enemies have become the unwitting and unknowing pawns of darkness, we must learn to pray, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34 ESV). Paul reminds us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).

God is not looking for people to fight for him. Remember the word from Moses on the Egyptian shore of the Red Sea: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again” (Ex. 14:13). The warfare of the Spirit teaches us to stand firm. (In Ephesians 6:10–14 we see this call to “stand” four times in the span of five verses.)

“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Eph. 6:13).

And what is this armor? Truth. Righteousness. Peace. Faith. Salvation. The Word of the Lord. It is primarily in singing these songs of deliverance that we put on this invisible yet impenetrable armor.

Perhaps the most pressing lesson of these Songs comes from the words of the one who wrote so many of them. Facing an opponent twice his size, against all odds, David, without armor, shield, or sword, spoke to the giant Goliath, “The battle belongs to the Lord!” (See 1 Samuel 17.)

I repeat, spiritual warfare is not fighting with some kind of jihadist ethic against Satan. It is about standing firm in the full armor of God. Singing these songs makes us strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Are you getting this?

There is an absolute urgency to singing these songs. It’s not a nice devotional exercise. It’s a matter of life and death.

Ask Yourself. Share with Another.

Have you considered the Songs as tactics of spiritual warfare? Will you?

P.S.

I’m doing a live Daily Text Zoom session every Wednesday morning at 7:30am (CST). 30 minutes tops. I would love to see you there. Zoom link here. Be warned– I sing! ;0) Password if requested is 123456

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this. For the past couple of years I have been reading, praying, singing five Psalms per day which gets me through them each month. They are inexhaustible. God never runs out of things to bring out of the Psalms to help me grow and change. One of the things I do (not an original thought to me) is when reading and praying about human enemies, to think of them as puppets in the hands of the “spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” It helps me to take the fight where it belongs. I will be adding “Forgive them Father for they not no what they do.” Thank you very much. Read an enlightening article in an old edition of “The Herald of Gospel Liberty” Oct 25, 1917 by S.D. Gordon called “The Driving Power of Prayer.” Wonderful stuff. God less you and your ministry.

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