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?
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.
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.
O Spirit, now we thank You For giving us Your Word. Please bless its proclamation, The truths that we have heard. Indwell us and empow’r us, And cause us to obey; Shine now the light of Scripture On all we do and say.
Great Artist of the Scriptures, In beauty You have made God’s Word to shine in glory That cannot fail or fade. In poetry and proverbs, Through narrative and line; In prophecy and hist’ry, God’s truth in splendor shines.
You, down through many ages Inspired men to write, Progressively revealing, You brought God’s truth to light. O Spirit, come illumine This truth for us today; And guide us in sound doctrine, The straight and narrow way.
Wield now Your Sword, O Spirit, The quick and living Word, And rend our hearts asunder With truths that we have heard. O search us now and know us, Expose iniquity; Conform us to our Savior, And holy we shall be.
This hymn is a prayer addressed to the Holy Spirit, who inspired and crafted the Word of God. It is written to serve as a closing hymn following the preaching of the Word. In the hymn we respond to the preaching by asking the Spirit to “bless its proclamation” and apply it in an effective way to our lives. The final verse is based on Hebrew 4:12. Scripture is the sword of the Spirit, who skillfully and lovingly lays bare our hearts with truth.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
The idea for the hymn came in October 1995 during a Sunday School class taught by Steve Garrick at Heritage Baptist Church. Steve was teaching a series of lessons on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. During the lesson on October 22nd, he compared the Spirit’s work in bringing us God’s Word to that of an artist. When God revealed His Word to us, he did not package it as a “systematic theology.” He chose and inspired men to write from their own experiences in poetry, proverb, narrative, history, and prophesy. The Bible is a great work of art crafted by the Spirit “through many ages” as God-breathed revelation. I thought during the class that the comparison would work well for lyrics to a hymn. I finally wrote the hymn several months later. I finished the lyrics on July 8, 1996 while driving to Dallas Baptist University, where I was teaching Classical Guitar during the summer semester. The hymn tune is named for Pastor Steve Garrick.
Below is a list of psalm settings, hymns, and spiritual songs that teach on the doctrine of Scripture: Special Revelation. The songs are arranged under 17 theological statements, including one for which I have not yet found related songs
If you have additional suggestions for songs related to the doctrine of Scripture 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 God’s Word 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.