Last night, for the first time, Susan and I joined with about 650 other people to worship our Lord Jesus Christ with Charity Gayle at The Sanctuary UPC in Hazelwood, Missouri, where Mitchell Bland is pastor. It was a truly awesome experience.
From the first song until the last, the presence of the Holy Spirit filled the room.
Each song was biblically sound, reflecting deep truths about God’s identity and the human condition. As we sang, I thought of the ways we were sharing together in fulfilling Paul’s twice-stated admonition:
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:19).
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16).
We were singing psalms, many drawn from the inspired psalter itself. Since many of the words we sang originated in Scripture, they were spiritual. During some of His last words before His ascension, Jesus said all things must be fulfilled which were written concerning Him in the law, the prophets, and the psalms. Thus, we were singing words about Christ. As we sang them, these words taught and admonished us.
I was refreshed and strengthened spiritually, emotionally, and even physically by the experience. I would do it again.
I am now in the process of writing the second volume of my commentary on Psalms. Specifically, I am working on Psalm 80. As I worked on this project this week, I remembered an interesting difference between the way English translations typically render a phrase in the superscriptions: to the chief musician. This occurs fifty-five times.
But the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures that is most commonly used by those who wrote the New Testament, translates the phrase: For the end. The same fifty-five psalms that read “to the chief musician” in the KJV and other English translations from Hebrew read “for the end” when translated from Greek to English by the Septuagint.
As Ray Lubeck, one of my professors when I was a seminary student pointed out, for the Septuagint, all the songs in Psalms are “end time songs.” They have an eschatological focus. They look forward to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ! We cannot sing these inspired songs without our spirit being stirred in anticipation of this glorious event.
Charity was powerfully accompanied by her husband, Ryan Kennedy. The band of musicians and singers traveling with them consisted largely of Spirit-filled people from the Pentecostals of Alexandria (POA) who participate in leading worship there.