Does this sound familiar? "Enjoy 150 greatest hits all in one collection. The best of the 1440's - 580's B.C. Original songs as written by Moses, David, Solomon, Asaph and that ever so talented group, Sons of Korah." Sounds like some late night infomercial doesn't it?
Actually, the truth is, the book of Psalms is the greatest collection of worship ever written. We know that songs are poetry set to music. Over the last two weeks, the Psalms has been included in our chronological study of the Bible. We know David was a musician and he wrote poetry. David was probably the King of Worship (today we label artists, the king of pop, king of rock, etc.) if there had been a label. He wrote most of the Psalms. David definitely wrote from the emotion of his heart. There are Psalms of joy and victory as well as songs of confession or a broken heart. Much like music today. It's interesting that most of David's life, he spent fighting some kind of battle. Whether is was with another nation or within his own family, poetry was his expression of the situation. He was an emotional man.
Rarely do we ever think about the Psalms being set to music. Yet often when I read them, familiar worship songs come to mind. For example Psalm 84:1&2 "How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! 2 My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh cry out for the living God." Do you recognize those lyrics? That song we sing today was written by the Sons of Korah. Or maybe you go way back to Psalm 8:9, originally written by David, that says, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" Whose well-know voice suddenly shows up in your head? Sandi Patty maybe? A popular one we sing today is Psalm 106:1 and Psalm 107:1 & Psalm 136, which the author is anonymous says, "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever." Today, Chris Tomlin has taken this Psalm and set it to music that can be appreciated in our generation. I sometimes think that the harp David played was similar to music artists today who pick around on their guitars. Can you just imagine David sitting in his room on the edge of his bed, writing what he was feeling at the moment. I wonder if that is why in some of the Psalms he mentions his bed. Psalm 149:5 "Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds."
How many times can I go to the Psalms and find a song that meets me right where I am. Much like listening to the soft rock radio station that plays oldies. Maybe I haven't heard a song in years, but instantly it can take me back to a place and an emotion I felt. I believe that is God's purpose for this collection of worship. He was there when they were written and He wants to share them with us today. He wants to let us know that David had the same emotions then as we do now and experienced the same struggles and victories that we do today. I once heard that the reason there isn't any music to go with the Psalms is because God wants us to make the music relevant to us in our time of life, because the word of God's lasts forever. (Isaiah 40:8)
Today, God has given us song writers today who write music that is God inspired. But many of these songwriters go back to the Word of God and set new music to old words. These words that stand the test of time and can still speak life into our spirit. Take some time each day to read from this collection of God's greatest hits. The Psalms say the right thing, at the right time in your life.