Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Praise Him! - Psalm 150:3

Strike Up The Band

Tea And Trumpets

Trumpets are musical instruments that were used in the temple service. Only the priest was permitted to sound the trumpet loudly to call the people together for religious assemblies. The trumpet was also used in battle. Trumpets led the way when the ark was returning to Jerusalem. They notified God it was time to knock down the walls of Jericho. They were used to celebrate. Trumpets called out to God to fill the temple. They cry out to God. They accompany sacrifice. Just as you use breath to play the trumpet, we should use our breath to praise God. How many ways can you think of the praise the Lord using your breath?

Let’s take a look at several of the references made to trumpets in the Bible. Look up the following scriptures. Trumpets have seen some action! (Numbers 10:8-10, Joshua 6:1-20, Judges 7:1-22)

The Bible tells us in these passages that the Israelite priests were to blow the trumpets. The Bible also says that when the Israelites went to war on their own soil, they should sound the trumpet and God would remember them and rescue them from their enemies. Trumpets were to be sounded to signify rejoicing at feasts. Trumpets preceded the ark when Joshua fought the battle of Jericho. Gideon defeated the Midianites with 300 men, trumpets and empty jars!

For more scriptures on trumpets, look up the word “trumpet” in a concordance or find a Bible software program that lets you search the Word for a word.

Let’s move on to more personal application. Are you loudly calling others to worship like the trumpet? I’m not saying that you have to have a voice like Ethel Merman. But to borrow a phrase from Steven Curtis Chapman, are you “living out loud”? Do people see a difference in you?

I get chills when Barbossa says in Pirates of the Caribbean: “So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle until Judgment Day and trumpets sound?” Check out the references to trumpets in the book of Revelation. There are twelve to be exact. Pay particular attention to the final reference found in Revelation 11:15. I have included it below.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever."

That phrase brings tears to my eyes. I can almost hear a multitude of voices loudly proclaiming that Jesus’ reign on earth has begun. This is our future, not some work of fiction. We have a lot to look forward to.

Lyre, Lyre, Harps On Fire!

What is a lyre, anyway? Look it up in the dictionary. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to see a picture.

The harp and lyre were both played with the fingers. We should use our fingers to praise Him. How would you do so? Playing in the praise band at church? Helping someone tie their shoes? Signing your name to that tithe check?

Which instrument better describes you? Are you more like the harp? Soothing and mellow? Or are you more bold and flamboyant like the lyre?

The harp was David’s instrument. It was soothing and brought relief. See 1 Samuel 16:16-23. David played the harp to calm King Saul when the evil spirit from God came upon him. The harp was also used to thank and praise the Lord. This is referenced in several places including 1 Chronicles 25:3 and Psalm 43:4.

The lyre is a bolder instrument. The Bible tells us that it has ten strings (Psalm 33:2) and mentions that it is used to praise God (Psalm 71:22). In fact, the lyre is mentioned twelve times in the Bible and only one of those references does not include the harp.

These two instruments are as different as they are similar. Sounds kind of like the body of Christ. Some of us are bold and outspoken. Others are more quiet and meek. The Bible calls both instruments “melodious” in Psalm 81:2. To me, this means that there is a place for both the bold and the meek in worshiping God. The instruments can work independently, but the music is sweeter when several devices work together.

Why Music?

Our faith, love and devotion are music to God’s ears. It is not necessary to have a soprano singing voice or the ability to play a musical instrument to participate in praise. Do we praise with music because it is a way we can help draw others into participating in without them having to risk standing out?

The use of instruments in Psalm 15 to declare how we should praise the Lord illustrates a good point. Besides being taken at face value, it produces a powerful metaphor. To make the beautiful music, we must be in harmony with each other. Have you ever heard a band play when they weren’t in tune with each other? Have you experienced several musicians playing different songs all at once? It’s confusing and unpleasant. We, as believers, must be in sync with each other. We can’t be playing our own tunes, we must be following Christ. That is how we make beautiful music and stay in harmony with each other.

John 17:23 and Romans 15:5-6 speaks of unity within the body of Christ. I encourage you to make this a point of prayer everyday. Ask God to unify the members of the body of Christ so that we would better glorify Him by not being at odds with each other.

If you’re taking the Challenge, review Psalm 150:1-2 and memorize Psalm 150:3

Recommendations for Praise

Music: Nicole Nordeman, Jeremy Camp
Devotions: Day By Day with Billy Graham

That’s praise?

Keeping God in mind, do one or more of the following as an act of praising Him. Or come up with ideas of your own. What has the Lord taught you from the experience? (Bring donuts to work, Write a letter for someone who can’t, Help a child color or paint a picture, Apologize for something you’ve done that you are sorry for, Let someone with fewer items go ahead of you in the store checkout line, If you borrow a car, fill it with gas)