Songs and Thanksgiving

Open Bible and Hymn Tune

O give thanks to the Lord for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
(Psalm 118:1)

Below is a list of psalm settings, hymns, and spiritual songs that focus on giving thanks to the Lord.  

If you have additional suggestions for songs related to thanksgiving that should be included in the index, please comment or send me a message.

Note: The songs are listed below by title and author. For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the page for Songs and Thanksgiving in the Theological Index of Music for Worship online. I will be updating the online Index with more songs and topics in the days ahead as I receive recommendations.

Songs and Thanksgiving 

1.  It is good to give thanks to the Lord

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)

2.  All people should praise and thank the Lord

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (Edward Plumptre)

3. Give thanks for who God is

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Be Exalted, O God—Psalm 57:9–11 (Brent Chambers)
  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson)
  • For the Beauty of the Earth (Folliott Pierpoint)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Let Us with a Gladsome Mind—Psalm 136 (John Milton)
  • My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness (Stuart Townend / Keith Getty)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King  (Charles Wesley)
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

4.  Give thanks for life and daily provision

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (Henry Alford)
  • For the Beauty of the Earth (Folliott Pierpoint)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Let Us with a Gladsome Mind—Psalm 136 (John Milton)
  • My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness (Stuart Townend / Keith Getty)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)

5.  Give thanks for salvation and eternal life

  • Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Robert Robinson)
  • Come, Ye Thankful People, Come (Henry Alford)
  • Father I Thank You (Jeremy & Adrienne Camp, David & Natalie Leonard)
  • Forever (Chris Tomlin)
  • Give Thanks (Henry Smith)
  • Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Thomas O. Chisholm)
  • Jesus Thank You (Pat Sczebel)
  • My Heart Is Filled with Thankfulness (Stuart Townend / Keith Getty)
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King  (Charles Wesley)
  • Thank You, Lord (Seth and Bessie Skies)
  • There Is a Redeemer (Melody Green)
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)
  • Worthy Is the Lamb (Darlene Zschech)

6. Begin each day with thanksgiving

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)

7. Conclude each day with thanksgiving

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • A Prayer for God’s Presence (Ken Puls)
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)

8.  Give thanks to the Lord in gathered worship (with the church)

  • We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise (Kirk C. Dearman) 
  • We Gather Together (Adrianas Valerius, Theodore Baker)
  • We Give Thanks (Drew Hodge) 
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

9.  Give thanks to the Lord before a watching world

  • Be Exalted, O God—Psalm 57:9–11 (Brent Chambers) 
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

10.  Give thanks to the Lord with joy

  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • He Has Made Me Glad—Psalm 100:4 (Leona Von Brethorst) 
  • How Good It Is to Thank the Lord—Psalm 92:1–9, 12–15 (The Psalter, 1912)  
  • It Is Good to Sing Your Praises (The New Metrical Version of the Psalms, 1909)
  • Let All Things Now Living (Katherine Davis)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Rejoice, the Lord Is King  (Charles Wesley)
  • Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (Edward Plumptre)
  • We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise (Kirk C. Dearman) 

11.  Give thanks to the Lord even in times of trial and sorrow

  • Blessed Be Your Name (Matt & Beth Redman)
  • Count Your Blessings (Johnson Oatman, Jr.)
  • Father I Thank You (Jeremy & Adrienne Camp, David & Natalie Leonard)
  • Now Thank We All Our God (Martin Rinkert / Catherine Winkworth)
  • Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart (Edward Plumptre)
  • With Grateful Heart My Thanks I Bring—Psalm 138 (The Psalter, 1912)

12.  Give thanks to the Lord always

  • 10,000 Reasons – Bless the Lord (Jonas Myrin / Matt Redman)
  • All People That on Earth Do Dwell—Psalm 100 (William Kethe / Thomas Ken)
  • Father I Thank You (Jeremy & Adrienne Camp, David & Natalie Leonard)
  • He Has Made Me Glad—Psalm 100:4 (Leona Von Brethorst)

For more complete entries (including tunes and hymnal page numbers) see the online Index:

Entry for “Songs and Thanksgiving”

TOC for Theology and Song: A Theological Index of Music for Worship

Thanksgiving Music for Classical Guitar

Guitar and autumn trees

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night,
On an instrument of ten strings,
On the lute,
And on the harp,
With harmonious sound.”
(Psalm 92:1–3)

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord.” And it is good to share and celebrate thanksgiving with music. If you play classical guitar, here are a few hymns for you to enjoy:

For the Beauty of the Earth
We Gather Together
Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Now Thank We All Our God
Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

You can download free sheet music for these hymns (and more) here:

Thanksgiving Music for Classical Guitar

You are welcome to copy and share these hymns with friends and fellow guitarists. You can use them for accompanying congregational singing, playing prelude or offertory music, or simply playing for your own enjoyment.  Please copy the full page with the website address and the “Used by Permission” notice at the bottom (see Permissions).

For additional music for Classical Guitar, visit:

Christmas Music for Classical Guitar

Hymns for Classical Guitar

Music of Bach for Classical Guitar

Wedding Music for Classical Guitar

Student Pieces and Music for Classical Guitar 

Music for Flute and Classical Guitar

Music for Flute and Classical Guitar

Flute and Classical Guitar

One of my favorite combinations of musical instruments is flute and classical guitar. I especially enjoy music for flute and guitar since my daughter plays the flute. She and I often play music together. Many of the duets we play are pieces I have arranged or transcribed. 

I have added to my website a few of these transcriptions and arrangements. They include music from the Baroque (Telemann and Vivaldi), folk music, and a setting for Christmas of “Cantique de Noel” (O Holy Night).

You can download any or all of the sheet music for free:

Music for Flute and Classical Guitar

Also check out:

Student Resources and Music for Classical Guitar

Hymns for Classical Guitar

Christmas Music for Classical Guitar

Wedding Music for Classical

Music of Bach for Classical Guitar 

The Purpose of Music in Worship

Hymn Ancient of Days

Excerpt from:  “Reforming Church Music”
A Paper presented at the 2001 Founders Conference

Ken Puls

God has purpose and intent in including music as an element of worship. The Bible has much to say about music and its role in worship. The following list summarizes seven roles that will help us define the purpose of music in worship.

1. Music is a primary means of praising God. The majority of references to music in the Bible, including verses that teach about music, as well as Psalms and other passages that are the texts to songs, are in the context of praising God. Through music we exalt, glorify, honor, bless, and adore God. We marvel at the perfection of His character, attributes, gifts, names, and works, ascribing to Him in song all that He is! The Psalter itself culminates in praise: 

Praise the LORD! 
Praise God in His sanctuary; 
Praise Him in His mighty firmament! 
Praise Him for His mighty acts; 
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness! 
(Psalm 150:1–2)

Music exists first and foremost to the glory and praise of God and Scripture convincingly bears this out.

2. Music is a primary means of giving thanks to God. Thanksgiving is a grateful acknowledgment or public confession of the goodness of God manifest in what He has done for His people. It is a grateful response to God for His deliverance, healing, forgiveness, salvation, and other blessings that He brings to us. Music accompanies thanksgiving in worship:

Hallelujah! I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart 
In the company of the upright and in the convocation. 
(Psalm 111:1)

Thanksgiving is also sung in the context of evangelism:

I will give thanks to You among the peoples, O Lord; 
I will sing praises to You among the nations. 
(Psalm 57:9)

As with praise, references in Scripture to giving thanks most often occur in song. 

3. Music serves as a means of prayer. Many of the songs and psalms of Scripture are addressed directly to God. David, for example, in Psalms 4 and 5 pours out his heart to God, brings petitions and asks for help and mercy. Throughout the Psalter, psalmists lament over sorrows, anguish over difficulties, confess their sinfulness, rejoice over God’s kindness, celebrate His goodness, and express numerous other emotions as they pour out their hearts before Him. Music can serve as invocation, petition, supplication, intercession, repentance, lamentation, and other forms of prayer, lifting our concerns before God.

4. Music serves as a means to proclaim truth. As we sing praise, thanksgiving, and prayer we voice our words to God, but music can also bring God’s Word to us. We can sing the words of Scripture, Psalms and other passages set to music. We can also teach and admonish one another in song with the truths of Scripture. Psalm 1, for example, is a didactic song that teaches us the difference between the blessed and the ungodly. Music helps us to remember and meditate on the truths of Scripture. It serves alongside preaching as a means of proclamation, edifying the church and evangelizing the lost, as it provides an emotional context in which we can interpret, understand, and express the truths of God’s Word. 

5. Music serves as a means of exhortation. Music lifts our words to God in prayer and brings God’s Word to us in proclamation, but it can also voice our words to one another. Psalm 95, for example, is a call to worship. We exhort one another with the words:

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD! 
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; 
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 
(Psalm 95:1–2)

Through music God’s people speak to one another, stirring up one another to good works. Music can call us to worship, exhort us to love and serve one another, encourage us to live in obedience to God’s Word, admonish us to flee from sin and pursue holiness, and enjoin us to go out and witness and share the gospel.

6. Music serves as a means to confess our faith. With music God’s people can express common beliefs and doctrines as one voice. In the Old Testament Israel rehearsed their faith and history through music. Psalm 118, for example, is a public confession of the goodness and enduring mercy of God. The New Testament contains several confessional statements such as 2 Timothy 2:11 that many scholars believe are fragments of early hymns. Music provides an effective way to unite in declaring our confessions of faith. 

Perhaps the most notable example of this in church history is the “Doxology,” written by Thomas Ken in 1709, a musical affirmation of the doctrine of the Trinity:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

7. Finally, music serves as a means of enriching worship with beauty. According to Scripture, singing praise to God is pleasant and beautiful. Psalm 147:1 reads: 

Praise the LORD! 
For it is good to sing praises to our God; 
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.

It is good when we unite our voices together in singing to God. Music provides a beautiful garb in which we dress our words and actions in worship. It is a pleasant means of joining together to express our love and devotion to God in worship.These are seven roles or functions of music that God affirms in His Word. God has commanded us to make music and included it in His design for worship. It is not the purpose of music to amuse, manipulate, or entertain us in worship. God has given us music that we might beautifully lift our praise, thanksgiving, and prayers to Him; that we might proclaim the truth of His Word, confess our faith, and exhort one another to good works as we gather in corporate worship.


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from 
The New King James Version® (NKJV™), copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 
Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Download a PDF of this Excerpt

Excerpt Citation

Ken Puls, “Reforming Church Music,” in Reclaiming the Gospel and Reforming Churches: The Southern Baptist Founders Conference, 1982–2002, ed. Tom Ascol (Cape Coral, FL: Founders Press, 2003), 438–442.

The book Reclaiming the Gospel and Reforming Churches is a compilation of papers presented over the first 25 years of the Founders Conference and is available for purchase from Founders Press.

His Unmistakable Hand

2020 has been a difficult year! Along with many troubles in the world (COVID19, hurricanes, wildfires, political unrest, protests, …), it has included personal challenges: classes cancelled that I had hoped to teach over the summer, a car accident, and falling off a ladder. There have been many opportunities to be downcast and discouraged. But in and through every difficulty, there was always grace. It became increasingly evident that God’s kind hand was working all things for my good and His glory. His goodness was everywhere—in relationships, in encouragements, and in His constant provision.

This song is a testimony to God’s kindness in my life this year and a reminder to trust the Lord, even when, at least in the moment, we cannot understand why He would bring such trials into our lives. We need only look above and beyond the trials to see—

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all we do     
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought us through
Don’t ever doubt the path He’s set
The journey He has planned
With grateful eyes behold each day
His unmistakable hand

Check out the Lyric Video on youtube:

Listen and download a recording of this song from Bandcamp:

His Unmistakable Hand

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.”
(Proverbs 3:5–8)

I find each day a thousand ways
Your kindnesses abound
In trials and in joys alike
Your goodness can be found
For You work all things for my good
To You belongs all praise
Safe in Your hand through ev’ry storm
You care for me always 

Your unmistakable hand
Is guiding all I do         
Clear evidence of Your grace
In all You’ve brought me through
I cannot doubt the path You’ve set
My journey You have planned
So give me eyes each day to see
Your unmistakable hand

God fully orchestrates each day
I live and move and breathe
He works His will when I rejoice
As well as when I grieve
No wasted pain or needless grief
He stays my hand from sin
He weans me from a dying world
and draws me near again

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all I do         
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought me through
I cannot doubt the path He’s set
My journey He has planned
With grateful eyes each day I see
His unmistakable hand

So trust the Lord with all your heart
You need not understand
Acknowledge Him in all your ways
He’ll guide you with His hand
Do not be wise in your own eyes
Flee sin and fear the Lord
This is the way to strength and health
When you believe His Word.

His unmistakable hand
Is guiding all we do     
Clear evidence of His grace
In all He’s brought us through
Don’t ever doubt the path He’s set
The journey He has planned
With grateful eyes behold each day
His unmistakable hand

Words ©2020 Kenneth A Puls
Music ©2013, 2020 Kenneth A Puls

Download the lyrics and free sheet music for this song.

More Hymns and Songs by Ken Puls

O Lord I Would Delight in Thee

Lake and Waterfall

To have Christ is to have all we need! To rest in Him is more valuable and more satisfying that anything this life can offer. But too often the trials and troubles of this world overwhelm us and keep us from fully laying hold of the riches we possess in Christ.

John Ryland, an English Baptist pastor and hymn writer, understood this struggle of faith. In 1777 (the same year he wrote “Sovereign Ruler of the Skies”), he composed the hymn “O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee.” The hymn is a prayer expressing his desire for a “stronger faith” anchored in God’s sure Word. In it he exposes his own (and our) folly. We focus too intently on the parched world around us, whose “streams are dried,” bemoaning our thirst, when all the while Christ is near— “a fountain which will ever run with waters sweet and clear.” Ryland reminds himself of God’s goodness. “While Christ is rich,” we “can’t be poor”! Even if all the joys and blessings of this world fade away, Christ’s “fulness is the same.”

The hymn was written December 3, 1777 and published in Rippon’s Selection (1798). The lyrics were heartfelt and especially meaningful to the hymn writer. According to John Julian in the Dictionary of Hymnology, Ryland attached a note to the manuscript that read: “I recollect deeper feelings of mind in composing this hymn, than perhaps I ever felt in making any other.”

May God stir in us such heavenly desires! In these uncertain times, may we cast all our cares upon the Lord, and may our “great concern” be to love and praise Him more!

O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee

“Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
(Psalm 37:4)

O Lord, I would delight in Thee,
And on Thy care depend;
To Thee in ev’ry trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend.

When all created streams are dried,
Thy fulness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied,
And glory in Thy Name.

Why should the soul a drop bemoan,
Who has a fountain near—
A fountain which will ever run
With waters sweet and clear?

No good in creatures can be found,
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound,
While God is God to me.

O that I had a stronger faith,
To look within the veil;
To credit what my Savior saith,
Whose words can never fail.

He that has made my heav’n secure
Will here all good provide;
While Christ is rich, I can’t be poor;
What can I want beside?

O Lord, I cast my care on Thee;
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and praise Thee more.

“O Lord, I Would Delight in Thee” 
Words by John Ryland, (1753–1825)
Music by John Herbert (1852–1927)
Words and Music ©Public Domain

Download free sheet music (PDF), including chord charts and an arrangement of the hymn tune LAFAYETTE for classical guitar. 

More Hymns from History

More hymns arranged for Classical Guitar

The Sound of Worship

Drums and Cymbals

Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
(Psalm 150)

[This excerpt is from a sermon on Psalm 150 entitled “The Sound of Worship.” You can read the full sermon here]

Psalm 150 anticipates the coming of Christ and foresees the day when God’s praise will cover the earth. Jesus said that “all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” (Luke 24:44). This psalm, like all the psalms, points us to Christ. The final words of Psalm 150 anticipate Christ’s words in the Great Commission.  The psalmist calls upon “everything that has breath” to “praise the Lord.” In Mark 16:15 Jesus commands His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” We are to “go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19). Psalm 150 finds its ultimate fulfillment in the conquering grace of Christ displayed in His church.

Church history is a testimony to the fulfillment of Psalm 150. God is at work sanctifying instruments and voices from every tribe and tongue, culture and nation for His glory. He is continually adding new voices, new instruments, new cultures, and new songs to the tapestry of His praise through the ages.

The fulfillment of Psalm 150, however, has not been without opposition. Satan has been enraged and at war with church since its beginning (Revelation 12). It has been his scheme to thwart the spread of God’s praise. He has attempted to shroud the world in darkness so that men remain blind to truth. He has sought to hinder the spread of the gospel so that men remain in bondage to their sin. He has sought to distort truth about God so that men believe and sing lies. And he has cast doubt on music (especially the use of musical instruments) miring them in sinful associations.

In the early days of the church, many musical instruments from Greek and Roman culture were associated with pagan worship and pagan cults. The aulos (a wind instrument like the flute) was used in the worship of the goddess Diana.  The lyre (a stringed instrument) was said to be played by the Greek god Apollo. Many Christian writers and commentators of the first three centuries condemned such instruments based on their associations with pagan rituals. Some presented farfetched explanations and allegories in an attempt to reinterpret passages like Psalm 150, that include clear commands to worship God with musical instruments. (An excellent resource is: Music in Early Christian Literature by James McKinnon, Cambridge University Press, 1987.)

Throughout the history of the church, well-intended arguments have been made that certain musical instruments are incompatible with worship. Some have tried to constrict the Regulative Principle so that it excludes the use of musical instruments in the church altogether.  Drums, guitars, banjos, kazoos, and even the piano have been scorned and disparaged. 

One musical instrument that was slow to be accepted by the church to accompany praise to God was the organ. This may be surprising, since today the organ is regarded as the grandest musical instrument of the church.

“The organ was invented around the 3rd century BC. Back then it was designed to use water rather than air in the pipes and was called the hydraulis. The water organ was quite loud and was used most prominently in the amphitheaters. 

“During the time of the Roman Empire it was used to accompany the processions and events at the gladiatorial games. Some ballparks today use the organ in a similar way to create a festive atmosphere—to signal and stir up the crowd. It was to the celebrative sounds of the organ that many Christians were paraded in before cheering crowds to be martyred. 

“So you can imagine the difficulties with association that early Christians must have had whenever someone finally had the idea to introduce the organ into church as a worship instrument. How could this instrument that accompanied so much death, ever be used in worship?

“But God had a purpose for the pipe organ. He designed to rescue that instrument and use it for His glory. Rome was sacked in 410 and the empire fell over the next 150 years. The organ was finally brought into the church around 7th century AD—well after the fall of Rome. It was not until the 1300s that the first organ was permanently installed in a church. But for hundreds of years after, the pipe organ was a prominent instrument in carrying the praise of God’s people.” (from Thoughts on Music and Worship)

The reality is that there are no musical instruments that cannot be used to worship God, only instruments that are incompatible with our comfort zone and expectations as to what worship music should sound like.

Certainly, we want to use music wisely.  We want to be like the sons of Issachar and have “an understanding of the times” (1 Chronicles 12:32). We want to employ music in ways that will adorn worship and serve our singing, not hinder worship and obscure the words we are singing. The inscriptions on the psalms in Scripture teach us to be intentional in our musical arrangements. In an earlier study on the Psalm Inscriptions, I concluded:

“The psalms set a musical precedent for worship that God will accomplish in fuller measure in the New Testament through the church. Throughout church history, God has added and continues to add many musical styles and sounds to His praise. As the gospel goes out in the power of God’s Spirit, conquering hearts and lives, people from each generation and from every tribe and tongue and nation add their voice to the music of the church. There is not one sound that is solely sacred, but a vast array of musical composition that God is weaving into a tapestry of praise for His glory.” (from Lessons from the Psalm Inscriptions: Titles of Interpretation).

The sanctification of music—musical expression, musical styles, musical instruments—to the praise and glory of God is an outcome of the spread of the gospel and fulfillment of the Great Commission. 

Some will still ask: Where are the musical instruments in the New Testament? Where in the New Testament do we find precedent for using them in the church? Musical instruments are there, of course. They are inherent in the New Testament fulfillment of God’s commands to fill the earth with His praise. They are implied in Paul’s admonitions to sing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 5:19). And they are explicit in John’s descriptions of music in heaven (Revelation 5:8; 8:2, 6; 9:14; 14:2, and 15:2). But it should come as no surprise that the New Testament doesn’t provide an orchestration for music in the church. The New Testament emphasizes the spiritual nature of worship and sees it spread to the ends of the earth. Unlike the worship music of the Old Testament that was specific to one place (the tabernacle / Temple), music in the New Testament is adaptable to every place—everywhere there is breath!

  • We don’t have descriptions as to how to build our buildings and worship spaces.
  • We don’t have orders of worship to plan and design our services.
  • And we don’t have specific instruments designated as necessary and sacred.

There may be times when the church is not able to use musical instruments. They may be scarce. There may not be skilled musicians available to play them. Most of the first three centuries of the church, believers faced severe persecution and had to worship in secret. Loud instruments and music would have needlessly attracted attention.

As the gospel goes out and conquers hearts and lives, where there are musical instruments, they should be sanctified and employed for God’s praise. Where there are no musical instruments, God can still be worshipped with voices alone. He is sovereignly orchestrating His praise throughout the ages and around the world. All glory is His!

[This excerpt is from a sermon on Psalm 150 entitled “The Sound of Worship.” You can read the full sermon here]

More Sermons and Articles by Ken Puls

The Joys of Corporate Worship Part 3

Hymnal and Bible

Open your Bibles this evening to Psalm 43. Tonight, we return to our study of Psalm 42 and 43. These two psalms are two halves of a single psalm. Together they form a lament with 3 stanzas and 3 refrains. 

In this psalm, the psalmist expresses sorrow. He is afflicted and oppressed. He is separated from the people of God. And he is providentially hindered from being in Jerusalem at a time when the nation is gathering to worship God. His heart longs to “go with the throng” and join with the “multitude observing the pilgrim festival.”

In this study we are specifically interested in what we can learn about worship. What are the joys that come from corporate worship? What are the blessings that the psalmist longs for and desires to experience again?

In the first stanza in Psalm 42:1-4 and its refrain in verse 5, we looked at the first joy of corporate worship: The Joy of Seeking God and Delighting in Him Together.

The Psalmist longed to be in God’s presence in the midst of God’s people. His chief joy in worship was seeking God and delighting in God with the people of God.

When God brought Israel out of bondage and established them as a people, He promised to be their God, to be near them, to tabernacle among them. This great truth—God dwells with His people—fills the Old Testament and finds its fulfillment in the coming of Christ, the Messiah, who is Immanuel, “God with us.”

The presence of God with His people was the psalmist’s greatest joy in worship.

In the second stanza in Psalm 42 (verses 6-10) and the second refrain in verse 11, we discover his second joy—The Joy of Finding Strength and Encouragement in Times of Suffering.

The psalmist remembered the times and places where God had brought deliverance to His people. He was encouraged and drew strength when he saw and heard about God working in the lives of His people. 

He also longed to return to worship so he himself could testify of God’s goodness in delivering him from his trial. He desired that his own suffering be turned to praise and thanksgiving. He looked forward to the time when he could bring a peace offering of thanksgiving and testify to the gathered congregation that God had heard and answered his prayer. All the people of God would rejoice and give thanks when they saw him—his joy and thanksgiving to God would be multiplied many times over in the context of corporate worship! His experience would bring encouragement and strength to others who were facing difficulty. 

This evening we are going to consider the third joy of corporate worship. It is found in the third stanza (Psalm 43:1–4) and the final refrain (43:5): The Joy of Walking Together in Light and Truth.

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The Joys of Corporate Worship Part 2

Bible and Hymnal in Church Pew

Open your Bibles this evening to Psalm 42 and 43. Last time I had an opportunity to bring God’s Word to you, we began a study of these two psalms as they relate to corporate worship. The psalmist who composed Psalm 42 and 43 was one of the sons of Korah. He was providentially hindered from being in Jerusalem and thus could not take part in the pilgrim festivals of Israel and worship God with all those who gathered. He was in the midst of trial and persecution, and was separated, at least for a time, from the people of God. As he pours out his lament and seeks God’s help, he reveals his longing to worship God with the multitude in Jerusalem. He reveals, as well, why corporate worship is so precious to him.

This evening I want us to once again consider the joys of corporate worship.

What is it about corporate worship—

That worship of God that we enjoy, as we gather at certain times in a designated place to seek God together, to sing and pray together, and to hear God’s Word read and taught together

What is it about corporate worship that is so necessary and desirable? Why does the psalmist long for worship in the company of God’s people? 

If you remember, last time I left you with a question. We understand from Scripture that God is present everywhere. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. God was near the psalmist as he poured out his lament. So, what is this thirst that the psalmist has for God and His presence?

Why does he long to meet with God in a setting of corporate worship?

Is it really as important as the psalmist seems to indicate, that we gather together to seek God? Is it really necessary to worship God as a gathered church?

OR          Can we worship God just as well apart from each other,

                  in the privacy of our own hearts and in our own homes?

I hope to demonstrate for you as we continue to work through this psalm, that corporate worship really is necessary in God’s design of worship, both in the Old and New Testaments. It is essential that we come together as God’s people, as His gathered church to seek Him in worship. There are joys and blessings that we will miss and sorely lack if we neglect the frequent and consistent meeting together of the visible church in this place.

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Fear the Lord

Road and pool near mountains

Pages from My Prayer Book

“Lord, work in us that fear of You which is the beginning of wisdom. Let us be instructed by this wisdom, which is the fountain of life even as it teaches us to depart from the snares of death. Give us an undivided heart that we may fear Your name and keep Your commandments, which is the whole duty of man. Put Your fear in our hearts, that we may never depart from You. Let us be zealous for Your fear. Let us live in the fear of the Lord every day, and all day long.” 

  — from Matthew Henry’s A Way to Pray

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
(Proverbs 1:7)

The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
To turn one away from the snares of death.
(Proverbs 14:27)

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
(Ecclesiastes 12:13–14)

And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, 
that I will not turn away from doing them good; 
but I will put My fear in their hearts 
so that they will not depart from Me. 
(Jeremiah 32:40)

Here is a link to a PDF of the page from my Prayer Book

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