Archive for April, 2012



Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis

Today’s post on church music resources is both a recommendation and a request for your input.  The resource in question is a set of paperback volumes of Psalter Hymnal arrangements by Dale Grotenhuis.  I’ll back up a little bit to explain.

Recently I spent a few hours making an inventory of all the papers, booklets, volumes, folders, drawers, boxes, shelves, cabinets, and rooms of choir music at my church (West Sayville Reformed Bible Church).  The sheer amount of sheet music, from the early 1900s to the present day, is staggering—and, if you’re trying to get organized, overwhelming.  But in the bottom of one of the boxes, I found an orange booklet from 1979 which read, “SATB Choir Settings from the Psalter Hymnal, Book 2, by Dale Grotenhuis.”  What a find!

I already own the recordings of these arrangements on a CD set, “Be Thou Exalted, LORD,” from Dordt College.  But since we’ve just started up a church choir again for the first time in decades, having the sheet music at hand was a tremendous plus.  These arrangements are perfect for Sunday services—easy enough to learn, reverent enough for worship, and familiar enough for the congregation to recognize and appreciate.

Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis

Choir Settings by Dale Grotenhuis

I was even more excited to find about twenty more copies of this orange booklet in the back of one of the cabinets.  After I mentioned this discovery to one of our organists, she offered me another volume of Psalter Hymnal choir settings (volume 1, with a blue cover).  Unfortunately, however, I haven’t found any more of these volumes at church, so I am currently trying to learn how I can obtain more.

From some of my research, it seems that there are more volumes in this set—possibly as many as four.  There is no indication that the booklets were officially published by the CRC, nor is there any contact information inside the cover for author or publisher.  A quick search on Amazon.com only turns up a copy of Book Three, which it helpfully adds is “currently unavailable.”  As far as I know, Dale Grotenhuis is now retired, but continues to be a member of a URC in Michigan.  Does anyone know if his arrangements are still available, and if so, how they can be obtained?  Your help in this effort would be very much appreciated!

If this is of any help, below are the tables of contents for Books 1 and 2:

Book 1

  • Lord, Our Lord, Thy Glorious Name
  • The God Who Sits Enthroned on High
  • Since with My God
  • The Heavens Declare Thy Glory
  • Jehovah Hear Thee in Thy Grief
  • All Ye That Fear Jehovah’s Name
  • Amid the Thronging Worshipers
  • The Lord’s My Shepherd
  • Lord, I Lift My Soul to Thee
  • Be Thou My Judge
  • O Lord, Regard Me When I Cry

Book 2

  • Lead On, O King Eternal
  • How Blest Is He Whose Trespass
  • Shepherd of Tender Youth
  • Thy Mercy and Thy Truth, O Lord
  • O Christ, Our Hope, Our Heart’s Desire
  • When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  • I Waited for the Lord Most High
  • Joy to the World
  • As the Hart, About to Falter
  • O Lord, by Thee Delivered
  • A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Even if you’re hearing about these arrangements for the first time, you might want to check your church’s music library or storage room.  If you have access to copies of these booklets, you’ll be amazed at the quality of these settings and their versatility as solos, offertories, choir pieces, and so on.  As I perused the contents, it struck me that these are some of the best arrangements for simple, wholehearted praise to God through music.  I’m so thankful for the work of musicians like Dale Grotenhuis.

–MRK

Exclusive or Inclusive? (Part 2)

Recently I started a series on the various views regarding the psalms as worship music.  In the first installment, I divided these sets of beliefs into three general categories:

  1. The 150 divinely inspired biblical psalms are the only acceptable songs for worship.
  2. Only biblical songs may be sung in church, but selections outside the psalms, such as the songs of Zacharias, Simeon, and Mary, may be used.
  3. The use of biblical psalms and songs is encouraged, but non-inspired hymns are also appropriate for worship.

Last week we considered the first position—that of “exclusive psalmody” or “EP.”  Today, we’ll look at the second and third positions.

Many Reformed denominations interpret the regulative principle of worship (that is, the principle that we should worship God only as he has directed in his Word) to mean that we can only use songs from the Bible in worship.  While this includes mostly the psalms, some would argue that other Biblical canticles, such as the songs of Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon, may also be sung.  This may not seem like a familiar viewpoint to many of us with a URC/CRC background, but it’s interesting to note that even the Christian Reformed Church followed this variation on “exclusive psalmody” until about 80 years ago.  In the foreword to the 1934 Psalter Hymnal, the CRC Psalter Hymnal Committee explains the previous practice of the churches:

Up to the present time our Church has always adhered faithfully to its purpose to sing only the Old Testament Psalms in public worship, barring a few exceptions mentioned specifically in Article 69 of the Church Order. This article, until its revision in 1932, read as follows: ‘In the Churches only the 150 Psalms of David, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Twelve Articles of Faith, the Songs of Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon, the Morning and Evening Hymns, and the Hymn of Prayer before the Sermon, shall be sung.’ In our American speaking congregations even these few hymns were not all in use since only three of their number were found in The Psalter, namely, the Songs of Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon. During the 77 years of its existence, the Christian Reformed Church has sung practically nothing but Psalms in public worship.

Interestingly, however, the CRC’s rationale for singing only Biblical songs was not a strict interpretation of the regulative principle of worship, but instead a practical consideration of the adverse effects of singing primarily hymns.  The foreword continues:

The reason, however, for depriving ourselves, for so many years, of such songs which reflect the light that the New Testament adds to the Old was not the theory that the Church should sing only the inspired Psalms of David. We realized full well that metrical versions of the Psalms can scarcely be called inspired, and that it is hardly consistent to forbid the use of the New Testament in song while we insist that it shall be used in preaching. Practical considerations explain our traditional policy. We were aware of the unsound or unsatisfactory character of many current hymns, and we feared that in an environment where the Psalms are seldom sung, the introduction of hymns in public worship would lead to the neglect of those deeply spiritual songs of the Old Testament which the Church should never fail to use in its service of praise.

The Psalms should be the primary source for our worship music, the CRC argues, but non-Biblical songs cannot be Biblically forbidden.  Thus, the Christian Reformed Church eventually transitioned from exclusive psalmody to inclusive hymnody—the third viewpoint under consideration.

In last month’s post on “Christianizing the Psalms,” I quoted an excerpt from Dr. Paul Jones’s book Singing and Making Music.  Not to be redundant, but since this quotation is so applicable to the discussion of inclusive hymnody, I’ll include it again here.

At the same time, psalms are not the only appropriate worship songs of the people of God.  The Westminster Confession’s ‘regulative principle’ from chapter 21 does not mention hymns and spiritual songs when it says ‘singing of psalms with grace in the heart.’  But [Robert] Rayburn rightly notes, ‘This omission does not mean that we should sing the Old Testament psalms only.  The Confession uses the word in a wider sense to refer to hymns sung to God.’  From New Testament examples, worship should also include our Christian response to the finished work of Calvary.  This response could be characterized as a ‘Christian interpretation of the psalms’ through hymns and canticles as well as biblical songs and hymns of the present day.  According to [Hughes Oliphant] Old, ‘The doxology of the earliest Christians kept psalmody and hymnody in a dynamic balance.’  Without Christian hymns, our praise of God through the psalms would still be rich, but it would be missing our acknowledgment of and gratitude for the manner in which Christ has redeemed us and fulfilled what the Old Testament promised.

–from pp. 101, 102

This excerpt offers a very accurate summary on the worship perspective of most traditional Reformed churches.  Almost all of us agree that the psalms should have a primary place in our worship, but those in favor of inclusive hymnody also believe non-inspired songs are appropriate for praising God.  If you’d like some additional references, consider some of the articles I recommended in the first part of the series.  For now, though, I leave you with these comments; next week, God willing, I’ll share a few practical thoughts on how to approach the exclusive-inclusive debate.

–MRK

Psalm 110

Since we’ve just recently commemorated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it’s fitting that Psalm 110 should be next in this series on the psalms.  As my ESV Study Bible informs me, this song is classified as a royal psalm, treating the role of the king in the life of God’s people.  Further, it says, Psalm 110 is one of the Old Testament passages most frequently quoted in the New Testament, with references appearing extensively in the letter to the Hebrews (1:13, 5:6, 6:20, 7:1-28), as well as in Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, and Acts 2:34.  The reason for such numerous citations is that Psalm 110 is one of the clearest prophetic texts in the entire book of Psalms, looking forward to the glorious reign of the Messiah—Jesus Christ.  Undoubtedly, the best commentary on the messianic aspect of this passage was delivered by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. For David says concerning him,

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’  [from Psalm 16]

“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

–Acts 2:22-36 (ESV)

While the prophetic elements of Psalm 110 make it an especially important Old Testament text, they also cause a number of problems in Christian versifications.  For one, Christ’s name is never mentioned directly in the Old Testament text, nor are the terms “Anointed,” “Savior,” or “Messiah.”  Should we leave the content of the psalm unaltered in our own settings, or should we incorporate the fulfillment proclaimed in the New Testament by inserting direct references to Christ?

Another difficulty arises from verse 4, where the Lord says, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.”  How are we to understand this reference to an extremely obscure Old Testament character?  The author of Hebrews interprets this strange passage for us:

For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.…

This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life. For it is witnessed of him,

“You are a priest forever,
after the order of Melchizedek.”

For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

And it was not without an oath. For those who formerly became priests were made such without an oath, but this one was made a priest with an oath by the one who said to him:

“The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever.’”

This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant.

–Hebrews 7:1-22

Should Melchizedek be mentioned in songs based on Psalm 110, or is it better to leave his name out and modify this passage to speak directly of Christ’s everlasting priesthood?  These are the difficult questions that must be answered when attempting to adapt such Scriptures for Christian song.  Thus, after this unusually long introduction, I’d like to spend the remainder of this post focusing on how these issues are addressed in our Psalter Hymnal.

221, “The Lord unto His Christ Has Said”

As you can see right away from the first line, this setting of Psalm 110 replaces the reference to “my Lord” with Christ’s name.  Is this a problem?  Certainly it is not Scripturally inaccurate when the New Testament is taken into account.  But could the name “Lord” actually be more important here?  Christ himself emphasized the distinction between the two persons mentioned in Psalm 110:1: “the LORD” (YAHWEH, the covenant name of God) and “the Lord” (referring to the Davidic king).  As he taught in the temple, Jesus asked the crowds,

“How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at my right hand,
until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?”

By replacing “my Lord” with “the Christ,” the creators of this setting have compromised the significance of the glorious paradox found in Psalm 110: Jesus Christ was a descendant of David, yet over David and the rest of the human race he reigns as everlasting King.  Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the psalmist expressed this truth in the clearest way possible.  We can only do harm to this passage by over-interpreting it.  Further, the wording “make your enemies your footstool” has been completely omitted, dissolving the connection between this psalm and New Testament passages such as I Corinthians 15:27, Ephesians 1:22, and Hebrews 2:8.

Similarly, in the second stanza of number 221, the reference to Melchizedek has been replaced with the phrase “A priesthood that shall never end.”  Yes, this is in agreement with the interpretation found in Hebrews 7, where Melchizedek is described as an everlasting priest.  But this is only one of the many aspects of this priesthood; by limiting the meaning of the passage, the writers have sadly lost the full significance of the comparison between Christ and Melchizedek.  How much better would it be to leave these Scriptures in their original form, and allow them to interpret themselves!

Thankfully, on a more practical level, the shortcomings of this Psalter Hymnal setting are extremely easy to fix.  If the phrases “his Christ” and “a priesthood that shall never end” were replaced by “my Lord” and “the priesthood of Melchizedek,” this versification would be just about as solid as any.  In the 1987 CRC Psalter Hymnal (number 110), you can see how these changes can be implemented successfully.  I’m confident that the URC Psalter Hymnal Committee has also taken these important considerations into account, and that the version of Psalm 110 we’ll eventually be singing in worship will be as Scripturally accurate as possible.

This article wouldn’t be complete without a few notes on the tune.  ALL SAINTS NEW is a rousing 4/4-meter tune, with jubilant harmonies and an expansive melody line.  It appears in the easily-managed key of B-flat in most hymnals, both old and new.  Entirely suitable for a royal psalm like Psalm 110, this tune is good enough to be used frequently for a variety of psalms and hymns.

Indeed, among Old Testament texts, Psalm 110 is a particularly clear portrait of the Messiah and his reign over the whole world.  In Hebrews 7:23-28, the apostle perfectly aligns the message of this royal psalm with the work of our Savior, Jesus Christ:

The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office, but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

All praise to Christ,

–MRK

A Titanic Legacy

The year 2012 marks the hundredth anniversary of many milestones in history.  Tomorrow’s date is particularly significant in that one hundred years ago, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank.  As tragic as the demise of this ship was, however, today’s post is not about the Titanic.  Instead, I’d like to call your attention to the hundredth anniversary of an event that’s much more obscure, but just as historic—in a good way—for Reformed worship.  In the year 1912, the United Presbyterian Psalter was published.

“The prime distinction of this Psalter,” the book’s preface explains, “is its use of the metrical version of the Psalms approved September 22d, 1909, by a Joint Committee from nine Churches of the Presbyterian family in Canada and the United States.…There had been a long-felt desire for a version of the Psalms which would satisfy modern literary standards and be recognized as the mutual property of the Churches.”

Prior to the publication of this joint-venture Psalter, it is unclear exactly what songbooks were in use in the various Reformed denominations.  Presumably, many of them had individual collections at their disposal, but the need was growing for a single psalter—a valuable contribution to the interdenominational unity of the churches.  An earlier psalter was published in 1887 (incidentally, reaching its 125th birthday this same year), which laid the groundwork for the 1912 Psalter.  Still, a solid “modern” source of psalm settings was urgently needed.

It was in 1893 that the United Presbyterian Church first appointed a committee to propose the creation of a new psalter to the various denominations with which it had ecumenical relations.  The work commenced, continuing slowly but steadily over the next twelve years.  The preface reports, “The Committee of the United Presbyterian Church, increased and definitely instructed by the General Assembly of 1905, set itself very earnestly to its duty, proposing practically a new metrical translation of the Psalms.”  In 1910, the completed collection of songs was officially adopted as “The Book of Praise of the United Presbyterian Church of North America.”  But the work of the committee was not yet done; an complete psalter still needed to be compiled and prepared for publication.  The finished product was eventually published at the end of 1912.

In the preface of the Psalter, the publication committee offers these helpful notes on the structure of their new collection of psalms.  I’ve added some emphasis and clarification where necessary.

In this new manual of praise the Psalms are divided into four hundred and thirteen sections.  By such partitioning many passages of peculiar [i. e., particular] interest which otherwise would be unsung are brought under observation.  In every instance the Psalm numeral and the meter signature are printed prominently. Instead of numbering the stanzas of a Psalm consecutively through several sections, the stanzas are counted over again in each, and the continuous order is indicated in brackets below the music.  Supplementing the entire Psalm, there is an occasional selection of stanzas that frame up into a good unity.  Some of these selections belong to the text of the Version; others have been drafted by the Editorial Committee.  [I take this to refer to the occasional extra-biblical content added to these settings.]  A few choruses [i. e., refrains], nine in all, are employed.  The headings on every page embody the keynote or leading strain of the several sections, and are designed to contribute meaning to the service of song.

In the search for tunes the Committee has made an exhaustive study of the best collections of congregational music in America and Great Britain.  The tests constantly applied were harmony with the lofty sentiment and spiritual utterance of the Psalms, genuinely musical quality, promise of permanence, and popular adaptation.  Many of the old Psalm tunes retain their place, not because of any prescriptive right, but by reason of their intrinsic value. Seventeen tunes appear for the first time, having been written especially for this book. Each tune is set but once.  This rule secures a wealth of music, so that this Psalter contains no less than four hundred and thirty-six tunes, inclusive of twenty-three alternates.  A fixed association between tune and words is also gained thereby.  Commonly marks of expression or speed have been avoided, it being judged better that organists and choirs should themselves seek such a musical interpretation of the Psalms as will be edifying.

As shown above, the creators of this Psalter firmly understood several key elements of good psalmody, including the following:

  1. The Christian church should sing all of the psalms—not just a few praise choruses based on single out-of-context verses.
  2. The Psalms should function as well-crafted poetry, and versifications and tunes must be chosen to bring out this poetry most faithfully.
  3. The selection of appropriate tunes for each psalm is extremely important; considerations of suitability, quality, familiarity, and longevity must all be taken into account.
  4. The pair of psalm and tune must be treated as a unit, for the benefit of the congregations and the integrity of the setting.

The principles outlined in this preface were thoroughly applied to the creation of the 1912 Psalter.  The result was a songbook that has been widely used, even to this day, by Reformed denominations such as the Free Reformed Churches of North America (FRCNA), the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), and the Heritage Reformed Churches (HRC).

But the story continues.  Twenty years later, the synod of the Christian Reformed Church commissioned a revision of the 1912 Psalter which would include not only contributions from the Genevan Psalter, but for the first time a collection of hymns as well.  The result was the 1934 Psalter Hymnal.  Later editions of the CRC’s songbook, including the familiar 1959/1976 version from which we sing today, were simply revisions of this modified Psalter.  Selections from the 1912 songbook are still common even in the CRC’s current (1987) Psalter Hymnal; a few of these psalm-hymns have made it into the hymn section of the proposed URC Psalter Hymnal, and I have no doubt that plenty more will be included among the psalm settings.  From this brief historical summary, it is clear that the impact of this book of psalms has continued to this day, through multiple editions, denominations, and generations!

In the preface, the editors of the 1912 Psalter made this prescient comment: “In the thought of many this versification of the Divine Hymnal, because of its merit and its undenominational character, is destined to receive broad acceptance and become historic.”  So far, time has proven them right.

All glory to God!

–MRK

You can view or download an online version of the 1912 Psalter, free and complete, from Google Books.  In particular, if you’re interested in this songbook, I’d encourage you to read the rest of the preface I quoted here.  While the language of the early 1900’s can be a bit difficult in some spots, the content of the essay is timeless.

Psalm 109

Be not silent, O God of my praise!
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.

(Psalm 109:1, 2 ESV)

Psalm 109 is difficult to classify.  It has elements of a lament, a song of thanksgiving, and a prayer for mercy.  But Psalm 109 is probably best identified as an “imprecatory psalm”—a poem that calls for God’s judgment on the wicked for their sins against the righteous.  Undeniably, it is often difficult to ascertain the proper use of imprecatory psalms in Christian worship.  After a quick synopsis of the Psalter Hymnal version of Psalm 109, I’ll try to offer a few comments on this topic.

220, “O God, Whom I Delight to Praise”

While a thirteen-stanza setting of Psalm 109 may appear intimidatingly long-winded, the authors of this selection actually did a fine job of compacting the original 31-verse psalm.  Poetic yet intelligible, literal yet personal, the text includes some particularly well-crafted lines and creative rhymes such as the following:

(2) Against me slanderous words are flung
From many a false and lying tongue…

(4) Against him let his foe be turned,
His sin be judged, his prayer be spurned.

(8) He cursing loved and blessing loathed;
Unblest, with cursing he is clothed;
For thus the justice of the Lord
My adversaries will reward.

(9) My need is great, and great Thou art
To heal my wounded, stricken heart.

(12) What though they curse, if Thou wilt bless?
Then joy shall banish my distress,
And shame shall overwhelm the foes
Who would Thy servant’s way oppose.

As these excerpts evidence, this setting often emphasizes the irony of the conflict between the righteous and the wicked—in some cases, even more strongly than the original psalm.  The tune, PENTECOST, is equally thought-provoking; the 3/4 meter and leisurely tempo offer the congregation plenty of time to reflect on the words as they sing them.  If a different melody is desirable, however, there are an abundance of other long-meter tunes that fit the text equally well (HAMBURG is one example that readily comes to mind).

Now, how should an imprecatory psalm be used in worship?  With my limited knowledge of such matters, I can’t offer a thorough theological or pastoral recommendation.  But I can comment on the following points:

  • The imprecatory psalms never represent a sinful desire to inflict vengeance on one’s enemy (Romans 12:19).  The psalmists are careful to point out that the offenders have sinned primarily against God, not merely against them.  The judgment they seek comes from God, not from themselves.  The Psalter Hymnal version of Psalm 109 captures this theme excellently: “The part of vengeance, Lord, is Thine;/To pray, and only pray, is mine” (v. 3).
  • The imprecatory psalms serve as a warning to the Christian (Hebrews 10:26-31).  We cannot read or sing these psalms without realizing that but for the grace of God, we would be in the place of the wicked, suffering under God’s righteous wrath.  Imprecatory psalms should encourage us to flee what is evil and cling to what is good (Psalm 34:14).
  • The imprecatory psalms reassure the Christian that vengeance belongs to God, and that he will certainly judge the wicked (Psalm 73:27, 28).  As surprising as it may sound, we can actually obtain comfort from these words, because our confidence in our Judge and Advocate is sure.  At the end of the world, it is the righteous, not the wicked, who will obtain God’s favor.

Although these guidelines aren’t specific enough to determine how a song like Psalter Hymnal 220 should be used in a church service, I hope they are at least a little helpful in understanding the place of imprecatory psalms in the Bible.  In the case of singing this Psalm 109 versification, even if you decide to omit the middle section, stanzas 1 and 9-13 are still undoubtedly appropriate for congregational worship.

I hope to devote a longer article to this topic in the future.  For now, though, I leave you with these thoughts.  If we believe the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God, we must also realize that God had good reasons to include the imprecatory psalms.  For one, in beholding God’s judgment on the reprobate as shown here in Psalm 109, the Christian can come to more fully appreciate the unmerited deliverance he has bestowed upon his elect.  These Scriptures serve to convict and assure us that God is our righteous and merciful Judge.

Thanksgiving to the Lord I raise,
The multitude shall hear my praise,
For by the needy God will stand
To save them from oppression’s hand.

–MRK

For a more complete treatment of the topic of imprecatory psalms, check out this article on Psalm 109 from Bible.org.  (Since I haven’t read the entire essay, I can’t attest to anything beyond the fact that it looks interesting.)


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