Poetry With A Mission

...a thought provoking poetical exercise.

“Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps 11:3, ESV).

“And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt rise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isa 58:12, KJV).

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Gal 1:10, ESV).

“And said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of those who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it. Cut down old men, young men and young women, little children and women, but touch no one who has the mark. And begin at My sanctuary’ ” (Ezek 9:4,6).

“Its priests have done violence [been unfaithful] to My teaching and have profaned My holy things; they have made no distinction between the holy and the common [worldly, secular]...” (Ezek 22:26).

“For I am the Lord, I change not…” (Mal 3:6, KJV).

“...let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe” (Heb 12:28).

“God is greatly to be feared [reverenced, respected] in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him” (Ps 89:7).

“ ‘No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other...’ ” (Matt 6:24, ESV). 

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!” (Gal 1:8).  

“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For You alone are holy...” (Rev 15:4, ESV).

Is There Any Chance You've Changed?

With respect, Lord, I enquire, is there any chance You’ve changed,
Or could it be that certain Christians Your things have rearranged?
The reason I enquire, Lord, is because of what I’m seeing;
Things that seem to say today, You’re quite a different being.

If I can just elaborate, You will soon see what I mean,
Then I’ll await Your answer as You contemplate this scene.
I want to do what pleases You, thus I really need to know:
Do these things meet Your approval, or cause displeasure to grow?

It seems when many worship You, they’re now dressing with less care,
They’re even wearing clothing Christians once would never dare.
It seems to run the gauntlet from casual to revealing,
Which suggests You’re not as Holy, as important, (or appealing).

In some churches, there’s music they call Christian that I’m hearing
That sounds just like that music night clubs and bars are blaring.
It seems that there’s this mixture now, where once such was not found,
Which has had me wondering, can Holy now with such be bound?

There’re other things I’ve noticed, coming from some churches too,
That reminds me of those places where entertaining things they do.
There’s laughter and there’s clapping, there’re puppets, plays and clowns,
So is secular allowed now, to roam Your hallowed grounds? 

I’m becoming so confused, Lord, for I’ve always understood
You’ve said You’re unchangeable, and I thought that meant for good.
So why do I see changes where I thought no change would be,
That sacred worship territory that belongs alone to Thee?

I have read about the Israelites who embraced pagan ways,
And mixed Holy with unholy — that’s “apostasy,” Your Word says.
I’ve read how You condemned them, how they paid for their mistake,
Yet even then, they took again, those paths that they weren't to take.

They’d even lost their fear of You; that’s the healthy kind, I mean,
That respects and reverences the Mighty One who reigns supreme.
They thought that they knew better; could we be acting just the same,
Incorporating practices You don’t want done in Your name?

I know that cultures vary, but don’t same principles apply, 
When it comes to worshiping the unchanging God on high?
Where’s the weight of evidence that You’ve ever overturned
Distinctions clearly stated, warnings You did not want spurned?

Your Word says that You’re Holy, and should be worshiped in that way,
That this is a directive every Christian should obey.
Your Word also says that pleasing people instead of pleasing You,
Is never what a Christian should remotely think to do.

I guess it’s getting clearer, Lord, the more I think this whole thing through;
The answer I’ve been wanting seems to lie within my view.
As I turn the sacred pages of that Book You’ve given me,
An old path I see appearing, (now not used so frequently).

It’s a path that’s straight and narrow, age-old sign-posts point the way,
And it sure looks like a pathway from which one should never stray.
It differs from this other path (that around me) I see too --
One where those age-old sign-posts are not there to guide me through.

By Lance Landall

For a simplistic, yet deeper overview come summary of this issue, click here.


What exactly is Psalm 150 saying?

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty deeds; praise Him according to His surpassing greatness! Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with lute and harp! Praise Him with tambourine and dance; praise Him with strings and pipe! Praise Him with clanging cymbals; praise Him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Ps 150:1-6).

Answer: The purpose of Psalm 150 is to advocate continual praise of God by everything that breathes and makes sound.  By neither the instruments mentioned, nor those not mentioned, is the Psalm indicating an instruments acceptance by God as a means of worshiping Him.  To put it another way: The purpose of this psalm, is not to specify precisely and literally the location and the instruments to be used to praise God in church. Nor is Psalms 150 sanctioning dance in worship.  Its purpose is to invite everything that breathes or makes sound to praise the Lord everywhere.
The language of praise in Scripture is often highly figurative rather than literal.  Psalm 149:5 is a classic example.  It encourages praising the Lord on our couches [bed, KJV].  In verse 6 it encourages praising the Lord with a two edged sword in the hand.  Another example is found in Psalm 148 where the sun, moon, stars, and mountains, are told to praise the Lord.
Just as the book of Revelation often conveys symbolic representations, so praise psalms figurative expressions.
It should also be noted, that David [who founded the music ministry in the temple] gave strict instructions (1 Chron 23:25-31; Note 2 Chron 29:25; Ezra 3:10; Neh 12:27,36) to the Levite musicians regarding what instruments were to be used to accompany the choir in the temple — these stringed instruments were the harp and the lyre (1 Chron 15:16; 2 Chron 29:25) — trumpets were only used for signaling something and cymbals were only used to mark the end of a stanza or the cessation of the choir’s singing (2 Chron 5:13; 2 Chron 29:27-29; 1 Chron 16:42).

Didn’t David dance before the Lord?

David danced before the Lord with all his might…” (2 Sam 6:14, ESV).

Answer: Yes, David did dance before the Lord.  However, he did not do so either in the house of Abinadab that had been used as a temporary sanctuary in Gibeath, or, when the Ark was deposited in the midst of the tabernacle in Jerusalem, ie; the dancing was done outside the church.

Only four of the 28 references to dancing in the Old Testament possibly refer to religious dancing, and of the four, two are of doubtful confirmation.

Don’t we see in 2 Kings 11:12 people clapping in the sanctuary?

“Then he brought out the kings son and put the crown on him, and gave him the testimony. And they proclaimed him king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands and said, “Long live the king! ” (2 Kings 11:12, ESV).

Answer: Yes, clapping did take place in the house of God, here.  However, despite this, this is the only recorded instance of clapping in the house of God, and where it exactly took place is not specified.  Also, the clapping did not take place during the worship service for, as the Scriptures record, the purpose of the gathering was to anoint the king’s son, Joash, as the new king.  2 Kings 11:12 is simply just reporting what these people did on that occasion. It’s not telling us what we should do during worship services.

Note: In Scripture, there’s a big difference between celebration and worship.  One occurred outside the house of God, one inside.  One occurred under God’s watchful eye, the other face-to-face. One was joyful and playful, the other was solemn and reverent.  We must not forget that the whole life of the Israelites was religiously orientated.  

Check out the diagram under the poem "A Certain Type Of Beat".

You may also like to read the following poems "Should I Go Or Should I Stay", "Trojan Horses, Golden Calves", "The Misused Psalm", "Keep It Neutral".