God's People Sing
"I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvelous works."
God’s path rings with the praises of His saints. No other religion can claim the quantity of songs, poems, and hymns composed by the followers of Christ. In this psalm, David shows a whole-hearted desire to praise God in word and song. He sings of both God’s works (v. 1) and character (v. 2).
Songs of praise reverberate throughout Scripture. The book of Job—one of the oldest portions of the Old Testament—is written as an epic poem. In it we learn that the angels sang and shouted for joy when God created the earth (Job 38:7). Moses sang God’s praises at the destruction of Pharoah’s army (Exo. 15). David, Aseph, and Solomon all poured out poetry and song in their writings. In the New Testament, Paul penned an early Christian hymn in his letter to the Ephesian church (Eph. 1:1–14). In the Revelation, John gave us a preview of the singing in heaven (Rev. 5:9–10).
God’s people continued to sing throughout the early church age. In the second century, the Christian author Tertullian stated that the singing of Psalms is an essential part of church worship. Other notable Christians of the time—such as Athanasis of Alexandria, Eusebrius of Caesaria, and Basil the Great—also shared this belief.
The Reformation era saw an explosion of new hymns and songs as the Reformers praised God, taught doctrine, and celebrated their freedom in Christ. More songs were written during periods of revival in following centuries, adding to this rich musical heritage. Today, God’s people continue to praise Him by creating still more poetry and song. As we walk the Lord’s path, let song and praise characterize our response to the Lord and His work.
As hymn writer Eliza Hewitt wrote,
Singing I go along life’s road,
Praising my Lord,
Praising my Lord.
Final Thought: Praise God in word and song.
CJ Harris is the managing editor for Positive Action, where he helps plan, develop, and launch Bible curricula for churches and schools. Having served as a youth pastor and Sunday School teacher, he has a passion for teaching young people about the glories of their God. A bit of a history buff, CJ received his Ph.D. in Church History in 2011, based on a study of Reformation-era missions philosophy. He and his wife—also a student and teacher of history—have two sons.